Friday, July 30, 2010

NOAA Fisheries Service Requests Comments on Amendment 17A

Picture courtesy of SAFMC
NOAA Fisheries Service has put out a fishery bulletin requesting comments on the South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Amendment 17A. Amendment 17A was created to address the Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) stock assessment for red snapper in the South Atlantic that determined the stock is both severely overfished and undergoing a severe level of overfishing. In June 2008 the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) was notified of this stock assessment and, according to the 2006 Reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Act, had one year to prepare a plan or proposed regulations to end overfishing. One measure the SAFMC took to address that was to request a closure of the red snapper fishery through an interim rule, which was put into affect by NOAA Fisheries on January 4, 2010. The fishery continues to be closed until December 5, 2010. The SAFMC approved Amendment 17A during its meeting in Orlando in June 2010. The amendment was submitted to the Secretary of Commerce for final approval and now NOAA Fisheries is soliciting public comment as part of the review process. The management measures will likely be implemented later this year. Actions contained in Amendment 17A include:
  • Annual catch limit and accountability measures for South Atlantic red snapper
  • A rebuilding plan for red snapper
  • A prohibition on all harvest and possession of South Atlantic red snapper
  • An area closure off southern Georgia and northern Florida (including Brevard County north of 28 degs latitude) where fishing for all snapper-grouper species would be prohibited, except when using spearfishing gear or black sea bass pots to fish for species other than red snapper
  • A requirement for circle hooks in the snapper-grouper fishery north of 28 degs latitude; and
  • A requirement for a program to monitor red snapper
Please see the fishery bulletin for instructions on how to submit comments.