NOAA Fisheries has requested comments from the public on
Amendment 43 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of
the South Atlantic Region (which includes North Carolina to the Florida Keys).
Red snapper recreational and commercial seasons would open
in South Atlantic federal waters for limited harvest in 2018, and the proposed
actions would specify recreational and commercial annual catch limits for red
snapper beginning in 2018.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved
Amendment 43 after recent information indicated an increase in the red snapper
population since 2014.
Per NOAA Fisheries, these recent and independent studies
show red snapper abundance has increased in the South Atlantic since 2014, and
was highest in 2017. The proposed total annual catch limit equals the landings
of red snapper when harvest occurred in 2014, the highest observed landings
during the limited openings in 2012-2014.
NOAA Fisheries determined the proposed limited harvest in
2018 is neither expected to result in overfishing, nor prevent continued
rebuilding of the population.
period begins on April 16, 2018, and comments are due by June 15, 2018.
SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CHANGES FOR RED SNAPPER:
total annual catch limit would be 42,510 fish.
- The recreational annual catch
limit would be 29,656 fish.
recreational bag limit would be one red snapper per person per day.
This applies to private and charterboat/headboat vessels (the
captain and crew on for-hire vessels may retain the recreational bag
- The commercial annual catch limit
would be 124,815 pounds whole weight.
commercial trip limit would be 75 pounds gutted weight.
would be no minimum size limit for the recreational or commercial sectors.
opening and closing of the recreational
sector would be specified before the recreational season
begins and would be weekends only (Friday, Saturday, Sunday).
- The commercial sector would
close when the commercial annual catch limit is projected to be met.
43 specifies that the commercial sector would open the 2nd Monday in
July and the recreational sector would open the 2nd Friday in
July. If the fishing
seasons do not open exactly on these dates, they would open as close to
these dates as possible.
Fisheries will announce the opening dates, if the amendment is approved,
in a future Fishery Bulletin.
Anglers should note that the timing of the 2018 season is
contingent on when the final rule for Amendment 43 is implemented, if
HOW TO COMMENT ON THE NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY:
You may submit comments by electronic submission or by
mail. Comments sent by any other method (such as e-mail), to any other
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not
be considered by NOAA Fisheries.
Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic
public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields.
or attach your comments.
Mail: Submit written comments to Frank Helies,
Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL
For more information, including a list of FAQs pertaining to
the proposed changes, visit http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishery_bulletins/2018/025/index.html.