South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

The South Atlantic Bite

Newsworthy Notes – August 17, 2023

Mark Your Calendar: SAFMC September Meeting

September 11-15, 2023 Charleston, SC

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is scheduled to meet at the Town and Country Inn in Charleston, South Carolina the week of September 11th. The 5-day meeting will include meetings of the Council’s Mackerel Cobia Committee, Habitat Protection and Ecosystem-Based Management Committee, SEDAR Committee, and the Snapper Grouper Committee. The meeting week will begin and end with a meeting of the full Council.

Scheduled for Final Approval

The Council is scheduled to approve the Joint Commercial Electronic Logbook Amendment. The amendment is being developed in conjunction with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and would modify reporting for commercial fishing vessels issued South Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico permits, including those for SA Snapper Grouper, Atlantic Dolphin Wahoo, and Coastal Migratory Pelagics. The amendment would require that reports be submitted electronically. The South Atlantic Council held public hearings on the amendment in July. If approved by the two councils, the amendment will be submitted for Secretarial review and measures could be implemented in 2025.

Public Comment

The Council will hold a public comment period beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13th. Public comment will be accepted regarding any of the items on the meeting agenda. Public comment may be provided in person or via webinar. An online public comment form will also be available. Meeting registration information along with comment form and briefing book materials will be posted to the Council’s website at: two weeks prior to the meeting.

Photo: Return Em’ Right

Got Historic Fishing Photos? Share them with the FISHstory project

Wednesday, September 13th – 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Bring your historic fishing photos to the September Council meeting to share with the FISHstory project. Council staff will be on hand on during the Council meeting on Wednesday to scan hard copies of your photos from the 1940s-1980s and gather background information. All photos will be returned. Photos need to:

  • Be taken at the end of trips where fishermen are displaying their catch
  • Have a known year and location
  • Include a vessel name, if possible

A project of the Council’s Citizen Science Program, FISHstory uses historic fishing photos to document the catch and size of fish from a time before catch monitoring programs were in place. Help this project grow by sharing your photos!

Questions? Contact Julia Byrd, Citizen Science Program Manager, or 843-302-8439.

The Race to Save Florida’s Corals and How You Can Help

You’ve likely seen news stories in the past few weeks as corals on Florida’s Coral Reef are experiencing record above-average water temperatures, resulting in stressed, bleached, and in some cases, dying corals within a short period of time. Scientists and volunteers began working urgently to help protect coral reefs and nursery areas, particularly in the Florida Keys where shallow water, inshore patch reefs are most susceptible.

The warm waters came early and intensely this year, in part due to El Nino and other factors, making the thermal event more severe. According to NOAA, the sea temperatures were the warmest ever recorded in July since readings began in 1981. In response, a network of managers, researchers, conservation and restoration practitioners, aquarists, and engaged citizens that were already organized to respond to stony coral tissue disease, have formed Florida’s Coral Reef Resilience Program.

Photo: Mote Marine Lab

What can I do?

“Imagine you are accustomed to eating 2,000 calories per day. What if your diet was suddenly cut by 85%, to only 300 calories per day. You could survive on 300 calories per day, but for how long?” explains Shelly Krueger with Florida Sea Grant in Key West.

As part of Florida’s Coral Reef Resilience Program, Krueger recently posted the informative blog Florida’s Coral Reef: Coral Bleaching and the 2023 Marine Heat Wave, explaining coral bleaching, the impacts on area corals, and how scientists and others are working to limit the damage. The blog also includes a list of things individuals can do now to help the situation.

“We’re trying to remain hopeful,” said Krueger. “All of the restoration organizations have either moved their nursery corals to land-based facilities or moving them deeper offshore. Time is of the essence to enact meaningful solutions to save our coral reef,” explained Krueger. “We need to address climate change and invest in coral conservation and restoration.”

Shelly Krueger serves as a member of the Council’s Outreach and Communications Advisory Panel.

Photo: Mote Marine Laboratory

Socio-Economic Monitoring for Mission: Iconic Reefs

NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries are working with Mission: Iconic Reefs partners in the Florida Keys to develop a socioeconomic monitoring program. The program will assess the effects of coral restoration on reef users, human communities, and ecosystem services. Learn more about this recent effort, including key takeaways from stakeholder workshops conducted earlier this year.

Photo: NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program

Additional Snippets:

Coral Reefs Benefit From Reduced Land-Sea Impacts Under Ocean Warming

Local human impacts combine with global ocean warming to threaten coral reef persistence. New research in Nature finds that simultaneously reducing land- and sea-based human impacts supports coral reef persistence in our changing climate. See this Feature Story from NOAA Fisheries to learn more.

NOAA Webinar: Developing Offshore Wind in U.S. Waters Part 2: Offshore Wind Development and the Structure and Function of Marine Ecosystems

The pace, scale, and magnitude of offshore wind development in the U.S. and around the globe is increasing rapidly. Join the NOAA National MPA Center and Open Communications for The Ocean (OCTO) as they host a presentation by Jon Hare of the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center to explore the potential interactions of this growing industry with the structure and function of marine ecosystems, and what science is still needed to better understand these interactions. The webinar will be held Thursday, September 21, 2023 beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern. Register now to attend.

World’s Strangest Research Vessel Heads for Scrapyard after 60 Years

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s innovative Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP) has been towed off into the sunset for the last time. It may well have been the strangest, most recognizable research vessel ever built – and its users remember that it was exceptionally effective. See this article from The Maritime Executive that includes historic video of the R/P FLIP taken in Hawaii in 1969 and an amazing video showing the platform in action – and why it earned its name!

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!

September 7, 2023

Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) Meeting

1-5 p.m. via webinar

Webinar registration

September 11-15, 2023

SAFMC Meeting

Charleston, SC

Meeting information

October 4-5, 2023

Outreach and Communications Advisory Panel Meeting

Charleston, SC

October 10-12, 2023

Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel Meeting

Charleston, SC

November 1-3, 2023

Habitat Advisory Panel Meeting

Charleston, SC

November 6-7, 2023

Dolphin Wahoo Advisory Panel Meeting

Charleston, SC

November 7-8, 2023

Mackerel Cobia Advisory Panel Meeting

Charleston, SC