Snapper Grouper Abbreviated Framework 3 (formerly known as Snapper Grouper Amendment 38)
At the March 2015 meeting, the Council approved a request for emergency actions to extend regulations in Snapper Grouper Amendment 32, once the amendment was approved, to the area that the SSC considers is represented by the stock assessment (SEDAR 32). At the SSC’s April 2015 meeting, the SSC determined that SEDAR 32 applied to the entire eastern seaboard and was the best scientific information available.
In September 2015, the Snapper Grouper Committee reviewed an Options Paper for a possible amendment, Amendment 38, to extend the snapper grouper fishery management unit north of the NC/VA border and adjust fishing levels for blueline tilefish to account for landings in the area north of the Council’s jurisdiction. The Council had considered extending the FMU previously (during development of Amendment 18) but did not take action at the time. In September 2015 the Council opted to not move forward with development of Amendment 38 pending the completion of studies on the stock structure of blueline tilefish and to allow time for the MAFMC to develop a management strategy for blueline tilefish in their jurisdiction. Instead, actions to adjust fishing levels for blueline tilefish (based on the SSC’s recommendations) and revise management measures were moved to Regulatory Amendment 25.
SEDAR 50 was conducted in 2017 as a joint assessment between the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SEDAR Lead) with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council addressing the stock assessment(s) for Atlantic blueline tilefish. The SSC reviewed results of SEDAR 50 at their October 2017 meeting and provided catch level recommendations for blueline tilefish for the area south of Cape Hatteras, NC. SEFSC staff presented the assessment results at the December 2017 meeting. As Allowable Biological Catch (ABC) recommendations that match the jurisdictional boundaries of the Mid- and South Atlantic Councils (boundary at the NC/VA state line) were needed to develop fishing levels and management measures, the SSC formed a workgroup whose task was to determine a suitable approach to obtaining an ABC that would be useable under the existing management structure.
The MAFMC SSC reviewed results of the workgroup at their March 2018 meeting and the SAFMC SSC reviewed the results during their May 2018 meeting and provide guidance to the Council.
In June 2018, the Committee reviewed SSC recommendations on setting an ABC for blueline tilefish. The development of this amendment was delayed by other priorities.
The SSC was going to review blueline tilefish at the January 25th webinar which was rescheduled and took place February 25th. Based on the review, the SSC decided not to use the revision assessment to update the ABC recommendation they made after SEDAR 50.
At their April 2019 meeting, the SSC reaffirmed their previous ABC recommendations from SEDAR 50 and the blueline tilefish ABC Workgroup. Therefore, the SSC recommended that progress could commence on Amendment 38 at the June 2019 Council meeting to consider options to implement a new ABC for blueline tilefish in the South Atlantic. The revised ABC and ACL would be based on recommendations for the southern area developed as part of SEDAR 50 in combination with the approved Workgroup recommendations for the area north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
At the June Committee meeting, Council staff presented background on catch level recommendations for blueline tilefish and options to implement these catch levels. Recommendations are based on results of the SEDAR 50 assessment and the acceptable biological catch (ABC) for the area between Cape Hatteras and the North Carolina/Virginia border.
After receiving clarification that the Council could develop an abbreviated framework amendment (which have the ability to move along more quickly through the approval process) to address these catch level adjustments for blueline tilefish, the Council directed staff to begin work on Snapper grouper Abbreviated Framework Amendment 3. The Council will review the amendment during their 2019 September Council Meeting in Charleston, SC.
The Council approved a motion to revise the Annual Catch Limit and recreational Annual Catch Target for Blueline Tilefish. The Council later reviewed Abbreviated Framework Amendment 3 and public comment provided during the December Council Meeting. After some discussion, the Council approved the amendment for formal secretarial review.
GET INVOLVED –
- Pre-Scoping: March 2018
- Scoping: June 2019
- Public Hearing: December 2019
- Final Approval: December 2019
- Secretarial Review: February 2020
- Rule Making: April 2020