Snapper Grouper Amendment 42
The NMFS Release Protocols for protected species were originally published in 2004. Revised editions were released in 2008 and 2010, and a new update is ready for publication. In the pending update, the SEFSC approved three additional turtle release gear types for use in handling and releasing incidentally caught sea turtles when fishing for reef fish. The new gear requires less space on vessels while still providing the necessary functionality; however, fishermen who participate in the snapper grouper fishery cannot use the approved gear until it is listed as acceptable gear in a fishery management plan and made a requirement in the regulations. Amendment 42 would include the new gear in the regulations for the snapper grouper fishery and consider modifications to the snapper grouper framework so the Council may more quickly modify sea turtle and other protected resources release gear and handling requirements in the future.
The Council approved the amendment for scoping at their March 2018 meeting and scoping webinars were held in April 2018. At their June 2018 meeting the Council reviewed scoping comments and approved actions and alternatives to be analyzed.
A public hearing draft of Amendment 42 was reviewed at the December 2018 Council meeting. The amendment document was reformatted to expedite review once approved. Public hearings occurred as part of the March 2019 meeting and the Council chose to approve Amendment 42 for formal secretarial review.
- Pre-Scoping: March 2018
- Scoping: April 2018
- Public Hearing: March 2019
- Final Approval: March 2019
- Secretarial Review: April 2019
- Rule Making: September 2019
- Implementation: January 8, 2020