South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Grouper, Scamp

Grouper, Scamp

Grouper, Scamp

Broomtail, Mycteroperca phenax
Recreational
All areas are open for recreational fishing.
Commercial
All areas are open for commercial fishing.

Related to the gag and other slender-bodied groupers, scamp are identified by their pronounced anal and soft dorsal ray extensions, a more concave profile of the head, and by color. Scamp have a tan to grayish-brown body covered with sharply defined, well-separated dark spots, which are approximately an eighth of an inch in diameter.

The scamp inhabits continental shelf waters from the Campeche Banks, in the Gulf of Mexico, to Florida and northward along the East Coast to North Carolina. Although the species occasionally congregates over high-profile bottom, such as wrecks and rock outcroppings, the preferred habitat is low-profile, live bottom areas in waters 75-300 feet deep. These areas are characterized by profuse growths of soft corals and sponges populated by red grouper, white grunt, red porgy and numerous species of small, tropical reef fish. Scamp that are 3 years old or larger than 16 inches are characterized as sexually mature. They spawn thousands of pelagic eggs in offshore waters from April to May. They may live up to 30 years and have been recorded at 21 years of age. They may reach a length of 43 inches and a weight of 36 pounds. Scamp can be aggressive predators and will swallow crabs, shrimp and other fish whole.

Regulations

NC, SC, GA, FL

  • Season is currently open.
  • Season Closed: January 01, 2023 – April 30, 2023
  • 3 Aggregate Limit
  • 3 Bag Limit
  • Min. Size: 20 in Total Length
  • Notes: Must be landed with head and fins intact.

    A descending device is required on board all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper and grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic. The descending device must be readily available for use and attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line. Get more information at Best Fishing Practices Webpage

    Regulatory Remarks:This species is part of the shallow water grouper spawning season closure: January 1 through April 30, except for red grouper harvested in federal waters off the coasts of North Carolina and South Carolina, which remain closed until June 1.

    Shallow-water Grouper Complex: gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, coney, graysby, yellowfin grouper, and yellowmouth grouper.

    If you are bringing fish back to the U.S. from the Bahamas by water, please see Bringing fish back from the Bahamas.

    ———- Federally Permitted Charter/Headboats:

    -If a federally permitted vessel fishing in federal waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in federal waters, the vessel is not allowed to retain that fish.

    -If a federally permitted vessel fishing in state waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in federal waters but open in state waters, the vessel is not allowed to retain that species.

    -If a federally permitted vessel fishing in federal waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in state waters but open to harvest in federal waters, they may retain that fish if they do not stop to fish in state waters when returning to port. All gear must be stowed.

    For more information, see: Scamp Regulations

    To see commercial regulations, download Fish Rules Commercial App for iOS devices or Android devices.

  • Gear Description: Allowable gear includes vertical hook-and-line, including hand line and bandit gear, and spearfishing gear without rebreathers. When fishing for or possessing snapper grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic, the following regulations apply: (1) Use of a dehooking tool is required. (2) The use of non-stainless steel hooks is required when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. In waters North of 28-degrees N. latitude, the use of non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks is required when fishing for snapper grouper species using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. (3) A descending device is required on board all vessels and must be readily available for use (attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line). See below for more details.

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