NOAA Fisheries announces the final rule for Regulatory Amendment 34 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region. The final rule will create 34 special management zones around artificial reefs off North Carolina and South Carolina.
There will be additional gear and harvest restrictions within the proposed special management zones. The purpose of the gear restrictions is to reduce adverse effects to federally managed species at these sites.
WHEN THIS RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:
Regulations will be effective May 3, 2021.
SUMMARY OF CHANGES:
- The final rule will create special management zones around select artificial reef sites off North Carolina (30) and off South Carolina (4).
- The zones range in size from 0.041 to 1.01 square miles.
- Harvest of snapper-grouper species will only be allowed with handline, rod and reel, and spear in these zones. Therefore, this action will prohibit the use of bandit reel, powerhead, pot, and longline gear at these sites.
- In the special management zones off North Carolina, harvest of snapper-grouper species by spear will be limited to the applicable recreational bag limit.
- In the special management zones off South Carolina, harvest of snapper-grouper species with all gear types will be limited to the applicable recreational bag limit.
Maps and coordinates of the proposed special management zones found here: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/regulatory-amendment-34-special-management-zones-smz.
Where can I find more information on Regulatory Amendment 34?
Regulatory Amendment 34 may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office website at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/regulatory-amendment-34-special-management-zones-smz.