South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

The South Atlantic Bite

Council Members sit at a round table in Beafort, NC to discuss fisheries issues

Newsworthy Notes

Mark Your Calendar: SAFMC Meeting Scheduled for September 12-16, 2022 in Charleston, SC.

Register now to attend the meeting via webinar and to provide verbal comment via webinar during the meeting.

Members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will convene their 5-day September meeting beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, September 12, 2022. The in-person meeting will be held at the Town and Country Inn in Charleston, South Carolina and is open to the public. The Council meets quarterly each year, with the March meeting held in Georgia, the June meeting in Florida, the September meeting in South Carolina and the December meeting in North Carolina.

Can’t attend a meeting in person? The Council meetings are available via webinarRegister now to attend the September meeting via webinar and receive email reminders prior to the meeting.

Meeting information, including the meeting agenda and a link to register to provide verbal public comment via webinar during the meeting is available from the Council’s website: The formal public comment session is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Wednesday, September 14th.

Briefing book materials for the September meeting will be posted on August 26, 2022 and written public comments may be submitted using the online public comment form once the meeting materials are posted.

The Town and Country hotel in Charleston, SC

SAFMC Public Hearing: ABC Control Rule Amendment

Wednesday, August 24

6 p.m. via webinar

While it may seem a bit technical, understanding the role of the Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) Control Rule is important in better understanding federal fisheries management. The ABC Control rule defines how scientific uncertainty and the Council’s risk tolerance are addressed in determining fishing level recommendations. These fishing level recommendations are made by the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee. Once determined, the Council may not exceed the fishing level recommendations put forth by the SSC.

The Council and its SSC developed an ABC Control Rule in 2008. The ABC Control Rule Amendment will update the control rule as it applies to the Dolphin Wahoo, Snapper Grouper and Golden Crab fishery management plans. Measures proposed in the amendment will help distinguish uncertainty levels across various assessments, allow for consideration of developments in data poor stock assessment methods, and address mixed uncertainty evaluation and risk tolerance determination. The Council is responsible for setting risk tolerance under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

A dolpin fish leaps out of the water after being caught.

Additionally, the amendment provides a means to make use of 2016 revised guidelines for National Standard 1 that increased the flexibility to regional fishery management councils for managing catch limits by allowing carry-over of unharvested portions of annual catch limits (ACLs) and the phasing in catch level changes. Learn more and register now to attend the public hearing:

Rule to Amend the North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Speed Regulations Open for Comment

NOAA Fisheries recently announced proposed changes to the North Atlantic right whale vessel speed rule that would expand mandatory speed restrictions of 10 knots or less to include most vessels 35–65 feet in length. It would also broaden the spatial boundaries and timing of seasonal speed restriction areas along the U.S. East Coast. 

“Collisions with vessels continue to impede North Atlantic right whale recovery. This proposed action is necessary to stabilize the ongoing right whale population decline, in combination with other efforts to address right whale entanglement and vessel strikes in the U.S. and Canada,” said Janet Coit, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries.

Information about the proposal, including area maps of Seasonal Management Areas for the Carolinas, Georgia and northeast Florida are available on the NOAA Fisheries website.

NOAA Fisheries will host informational webinars on the proposed measures: Tuesday, August 16 and Wednesday, August 24, 2022. Details on the webinars and the registration link are also available on the NOAA Fisheries Website.

Note that comments will not be accepted during the webinars but members of the public may ask questions. NOAA Fisheries is accepting written comments on the proposed rule until September 30, 2022. Details are available from the link above, and here is a direct link to the comment form.

Additional Snippets:

Joint Climate Change Scenario Planning: Invitation to Attend Scenario Deepening Workshops

Over the past year, East Coast fishery management bodies have been collaborating on a climate change scenario planning initiative designed to prepare fishing communities and fishery managers for an era of climate change. The goals of this project are to assess how climate change might affect stock distribution and availability of East Coast marine fisheries over the next 20 years and to identify the implications for fishery management and governance. The effort continues with stakeholder webinars scheduled for Wednesday, August 17 and Tuesday, August 23rdLearn more

BOEM Seeks Public Comment on Draft Fisheries Mitigation Strategy

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced the availability of draft guidance on mitigating potential impacts of offshore wind development on commercial and recreational fishing and is inviting public review and comment on the draft. The public comment period is open until August 22, 2022. Visit the BOEM website for additional information.

Deadline Extended for Comments: NOAA Fisheries’ Draft Strategy for Advancing Equity and Environmental Justice

The deadline has been extended until August 31, 2022 for providing feedback on NOAA Fisheries’ draft Equality and Environmental Justice Strategy. The strategy is designed to reflect NOAA Fisheries’ commitment to advancing equity and environmental justice, including equal treatmentopportunities, and environmental benefits for all people and communities, while building on continuing efforts and partnerships with underserved and underrepresented communities. Learn more

Mark Your Calendar

Keep track of meetings scheduled by the Council from the Meetings page of the website and register for meeting webinars as information becomes available. Register early and receive email reminders as the meeting date(s) approach!

August 24, 2022

6 p.m. (webinar)

Public Hearing: Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) Control Rule Amendment

September 6 & 7, 2022

6 p.m. (via webinar – 2 sessions)

Public Hearing: Snapper Grouper Amendment 51 (Snowy Grouper) and Amendment 52 (Golden Tilefish and Blueline Tilefish)

September 12-16, 2022

SAFMC September Meeting

Town & Country Inn

Charleston, SC 29407

September 21, 2022

SAFMC Meeting: FL Keys National Marine Sanctuary Proposed Rule and WECAFC

Webinar only