Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 29

Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 29

At their March 2018 meeting, the Council removed actions pertaining to best fishing practices and powerhead regulations from Amendment 46 and requested that staff begin development of a framework amendment.  The Council was concerned that other actions in Amendment 46 (recreational permitting and reporting) would take significant time to be developed and did not want to delay action on other issues.

The Council reviewed an options paper at their June 2018 meeting and approved the amendment for scoping with actions addressing venting and descending devices, circle hooks, allowable rigs, and powerheads. Scoping hearings were held on August 7th and 8th 2018. The Council later reviewed comments from those scoping sessions at their September 2018 meeting. Actions and alternatives addressing venting and descending devices, circle hooks, and powerheads were approved for analysis. The action pertaining to allowable rigs was removed.

The Council reviewed a draft public hearing document at their March 2019 meeting. Preferred alternatives were selected that would require a descending device be on board vessels fishing for or possessing snapper grouper species, require vessels fishing for or possessing snapper grouper species to use non-offset circle hooks, and would allow the use of powerheads to harvest snapper grouper species in federal waters off South Carolina. The Council also requested input from the Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel and the Law Enforcement Advisory Panel on the definition of descending devices used in the document.

In addition, the Council requested that staff work with the NOAA Fisheries to put together a research and monitoring plan for descending device usage and work with the Scientific & Statistical Committee to determine how best fishing practices requirements may be considered in future stock assessments.

Regulatory Amendment 29 went out for public hearings via webinar on April 30th and May 1st, 2019. At the June 2019 meeting the Council reviewed public comments and input from the Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel, Law Enforcement Advisory Panel, and the Scientific & Statistical Committee. The Council modified the definition of descending device based on Advisory Panel comment and directed staff to bring a finalized document to the September 2019 meeting, including discussion of different types of commercially available and homemade descending devices. The Council further revised the definition of a descending device and approved Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 29 for formal secretarial review at the September 2019 meeting.

Learn more about Best Practices, including how and why to use descending devices, at the following webpage:



Council Process

  • Pre-Scoping:  March 2018
  • Scoping:  August 2018
  • Public Hearing:  April/May 2019
  • Final Approval:  September 2019

NMFS Process

  • Secretarial Review:  January 2020
  • Rule Making:  April 2020
  • Implementation:  July 15, 2020