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NOAA Fisheries Service Has Implemented a Rebuilding Plan for Red Grouper in the South Atlantic

NOAA Fisheries Service has implemented a rebuilding plan for red grouper. The red grouper stock of the South Atlantic was assessed in 2010 through the Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review Process. The assessment determined red grouper to be overfished (population too low) and undergoing overfishing (rate of fish removal too high). The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) is required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to implement a rebuilding plan within two years after notification of an overfished stock. Amendment 24 will implement a plan that has an 81 percent probability of rebuilding the stock in 10 years. The final rule published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2012, and is effective on July 11, 2012 (77 FR 34254).
Other actions in Amendment 24:
• Implementation of red grouper annual catch limits for the commercial and recreational sectors. The sector annual catch limits are based on the Council’s allocations of 44 percent commercial and 56 percent recreational.

• Specification of an annual catch target for the recreational sector.
• Implementation of red grouper accountability measures for the commercial and recreational sectors. Accountability measures are management controls to prevent annual catch limits from being exceeded and to correct overages of the catch limits if they are exceeded. The accountability measures will close each sector when the sector annual catch limit is projected to be met. If a sector annual catch limit is exceeded, the Regional Administrator will publish a notice to reduce the sector annual catch limits in the following season by the amount of the overage.
• Elimination of the commercial and recreational aggregate annual catch limits and accountability measures for black grouper, gag, and red grouper.
• Revision of the following management benchmarks for red grouper: Maximum sustainable yield; optimum yield; and minimum stock size threshold.
More information, including Frequently Asked Questions for Amendment 24 can be found online at:
http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov.


2012
Commercial
ACL
284,680

Recreational
ACL
362,320

2013
Commercial
ACL
315,920

Recreational
ACL
402,080


2014 and subsequent years
Commercial
ACL
343,200

Recreational
ACL
436,800
Numbers are in pounds whole weight

Frequently Asked Questions
June 2012
What does Amendment 24 do?
• The primary purpose of Amendment 24 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 24) is to implement a rebuilding plan for red grouper in the South Atlantic.
What is a rebuilding plan?
• A rebuilding plan is a plan comprised of ways to increase a population of fish within a certain time frame.
Why have a rebuilding plan for red grouper?
• The red grouper stock in the South Atlantic is undergoing overfishing (rate of removal is too high) and overfished (the population is too low). This determination is based on a stock assessment completed in 2010.
• For fish populations that are too low, a rebuilding plan is required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
What other changes will result from the implementation of Amendment 24?
• Implementation of red grouper annual catch limits for the commercial and recreational sectors. The sector annual catch limits are based on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s allocations of 44 percent commercial and 56 percent recreational.
• Specification of a red grouper annual catch target for the recreational sector.
• Implementation of red grouper in-season accountability measures for the commercial and recreational sectors. The accountability measures will close each sector when the sector annual catch limit is projected to be met.
• Elimination of the commercial and recreational aggregate annual catch limits and accountability measures for black grouper, gag, and red grouper.
Who would be affected by Amendment 24?
• Commercial and recreational fishers who fish for red grouper and similar species snapper-grouper species in South Atlantic exclusive economic zone (3-200 miles offshore).
When is Amendment 24 effective?
• The final rule published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2012, and is effective on July 11, 2012.
Where can I get more information on actions in Amendment 24?
• Amendment 24 may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Service Web site at
http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/SASnapperGrouperHomepage.htm and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Web site at http://www.safmc.net.
• For more information, contact Rick DeVictor at (727) 824-5305.

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