Council Requests Emergency Rule to Allow Red Snapper Harvest this Year

Council Requests Emergency Rule to Allow Red Snapper Harvest this Year
Limited harvest proposed through recreational three-day weekends and commercial mini-season

During its meeting last week in Orlando, members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council requested an emergency rule be used to provide recreational and commercial fishermen the opportunity to harvest a limited number of red snapper later this year, perhaps by early fall. The Council determined that a total of 13,067 fish could be harvested this year after reviewing the latest estimates of total removals of red snapper (dead discards) that have occurred during 2010 and 2011 under the current moratorium. The red snapper fishery has been closed in South Atlantic federal waters since January 4, 2010 to end overfishing and rebuild the stock as required by Congress through the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The estimates, provided to the Council by NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fisheries Science Center, showed that removals of red snapper through discarding are below the total removals allowed under the current rebuilding plan for the stock, thus allowing for a limited harvest.
Upon approval by the Secretary of Commerce, the emergency rule would allow for recreational fishermen to harvest a total of 9,399 fish during three-day weekend openings, with the dates of the openings to be determined by NOAA Fisheries Service. During the opening, the bag limit would be 1 fish per person/day and there would be no size limit. The commercial fishery would be allowed a total of 3,668 fish or 20,818 pounds (gutted weight). The commercial fishery would open in seven-day “mini-season” increments subject to the quota, with a limit of 50 pounds per trip and no size limits. The current allocation for the red snapper fishery is 72% recreational and 28% commercial.
“The Secretary will try to make a decision on the request within 60 days,” said Roy Crabtree, southeast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries Service. “Depending on publication of the final rule, fishing for red snapper could likely occur sometime in September.” Dr. Crabtree pointed out that fishermen will be given ample notice to prepare for the opening. NOAA Fisheries Service could modify the opening dates of the fishery dependent upon weather conditions.
“The Council is pleased to have updated data that allows for a limited harvest of red snapper as the stock continues to rebuild,” said Council Chairman David Cupka. “While the opening for both the recreational and commercial fisheries may be brief, this will provide an opportunity to collect fishery-dependent data from the fish that are harvested,” said Cupka. “Fishermen at this week’s meeting have stated their willingness to participate in data collection efforts.”
Council members emphasized the need for NOAA Fisheries Service to closely monitor landings if the red snapper fishery opens and encouraged the use of onboard observers for both headboat and commercial vessels, additional dockside intercepts, and other measures. Both state and federal agencies would be involved in data collection efforts during the openings.
The emergency rule to allow harvest would be a temporary measure. The Council will begin development of an amendment to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan to control the annual harvest of red snapper through a tag program. The plan would be administered by NOAA Fisheries Service and tags would be distributed to both commercial and recreational fishermen using a lottery system. Public hearings will be held on the amendment as it is developed. The Council will consider options for the tag program during its September meeting in Charleston.
The Annual Catch Limit for red snapper of 13,067 fish in 2012 will be modified each year, using harvest data and fishery-independent data collected through ongoing offshore sampling programs. A benchmark stock assessment for red snapper is scheduled for 2014.
(Continued)
Other Measures:
Golden Tilefish
The Council also approved measures to implement an endorsement program for the commercial golden tilefish fishery. Amendment 18B to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan would cap the number of participants in the commercial fishery, establish allocations between fishermen using longlines and those using hook-and-line to harvest golden tilefish and other measures. The amendment must be approved by the Secretary of Commerce before implementation.
Marine Protected Areas
After reviewing public comment, recommendations from its Scientific and Statistical Committee, Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel, and reports from earlier workshops, the Council will continue to develop management alternatives to use MPAs as added protection for speckled hind and warsaw grouper. The Council will hold two additional public workshops in North Carolina and Florida in conjunction with a series of public hearings scheduled for August 6-16, 2012. The hearings will be held from Key Largo, Florida to New Bern, North Carolina and address: permits and data collection for for-hire and commercial vessels; management measures for the commercial shrimp fishery to expedite the closure of federal waters in conjunction with state closures due to adverse weather; alternatives for joint federal dealer permits between the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico; and other issues. Details regarding the public hearings are available from the Council’s website. MPA workshop details will be posted as they become available.
The next meeting of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is scheduled for September 10-14, 2012 in North Charleston, SC. Details for the meeting and meeting materials will be posted on the Council’s website at
www.safmc.net as they become available.

Council Requests Emergency Rule to Allow Red Snapper Harvest this Year

Limited harvest proposed through recreational three-day weekends and commercial mini-season

During its meeting last week in Orlando, members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council requested an emergency rule be used to provide recreational and commercial fishermen the opportunity to harvest a limited number of red snapper later this year, perhaps by early fall. The Council determined that a total of 13,067 fish could be harvested this year after reviewing the latest estimates of total removals of red snapper (dead discards) that have occurred during 2010 and 2011 under the current moratorium. The red snapper fishery has been closed in South Atlantic federal waters since January 4, 2010 to end overfishing and rebuild the stock as required by Congress through the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The estimates, provided to the Council by NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fisheries Science Center, showed that removals of red snapper through discarding are below the total removals allowed under the current rebuilding plan for the stock, thus allowing for a limited harvest.

Upon approval by the Secretary of Commerce, the emergency rule would allow for recreational fishermen to harvest a total of 9,399 fish during three-day weekend openings, with the dates of the openings to be determined by NOAA Fisheries Service. During the opening, the bag limit would be 1 fish per person/day and there would be no size limit. The commercial fishery would be allowed a total of 3,668 fish or 20,818 pounds (gutted weight). The commercial fishery would open in seven-day “mini-season” increments subject to the quota, with a limit of 50 pounds per trip and no size limits. The current allocation for the red snapper fishery is 72% recreational and 28% commercial.

“The Secretary will try to make a decision on the request within 60 days,” said Roy Crabtree, southeast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries Service. “Depending on publication of the final rule, fishing for red snapper could likely occur sometime in September.” Dr. Crabtree pointed out that fishermen will be given ample notice to prepare for the opening. NOAA Fisheries Service could modify the opening dates of the fishery dependent upon weather conditions.

“The Council is pleased to have updated data that allows for a limited harvest of red snapper as the stock continues to rebuild,” said Council Chairman David Cupka. “While the opening for both the recreational and commercial fisheries may be brief, this will provide an opportunity to collect fishery-dependent data from the fish that are harvested,” said Cupka. “Fishermen at this week’s meeting have stated their willingness to participate in data collection efforts.”

Council members emphasized the need for NOAA Fisheries Service to closely monitor landings if the red snapper fishery opens and encouraged the use of onboard observers for both headboat and commercial vessels, additional dockside intercepts, and other measures. Both state and federal agencies would be involved in data collection efforts during the openings.

The emergency rule to allow harvest would be a temporary measure. The Council will begin development of an amendment to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan to control the annual harvest of red snapper through a tag program. The plan would be administered by NOAA Fisheries Service and tags would be distributed to both commercial and recreational fishermen using a lottery system. Public hearings will be held on the amendment as it is developed. The Council will consider options for the tag program during its September meeting in Charleston.

The Annual Catch Limit for red snapper of 13,067 fish in 2012 will be modified each year, using harvest data and fishery-independent data collected through ongoing offshore sampling programs. A benchmark stock assessment for red snapper is scheduled for 2014.

(Continued)

Other Measures:

Golden Tilefish

The Council also approved measures to implement an endorsement program for the commercial golden tilefish fishery. Amendment 18B to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan would cap the number of participants in the commercial fishery, establish allocations between fishermen using longlines and those using hook-and-line to harvest golden tilefish and other measures. The amendment must be approved by the Secretary of Commerce before implementation.

Marine Protected Areas

After reviewing public comment, recommendations from its Scientific and Statistical Committee, Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel, and reports from earlier workshops, the Council will continue to develop management alternatives to use MPAs as added protection for speckled hind and warsaw grouper. The Council will hold two additional public workshops in North Carolina and Florida in conjunction with a series of public hearings scheduled for August 6-16, 2012. The hearings will be held from Key Largo, Florida to New Bern, North Carolina and address: permits and data collection for for-hire and commercial vessels; management measures for the commercial shrimp fishery to expedite the closure of federal waters in conjunction with state closures due to adverse weather; alternatives for joint federal dealer permits between the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico; and other issues. Details regarding the public hearings are available from the Council’s website. MPA workshop details will be posted as they become available.

The next meeting of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is scheduled for September 10-14, 2012 in North Charleston, SC. Details for the meeting and meeting materials will be posted on the Council’s website at www.safmc.net as they become available.

Share this article

What is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)?

The global conveyor belt, shown here, circulates cool subsurface water and warm surface water throughout the world. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation is part of this complex system of global ocean currents.)

The ocean’s water is constantly circulated by currents. Tidal currents occur close to shore and are influenced by the sun and moon. Surface currents are influenced by the wind. However, other, much slower currents that occur from the surface to the seafloor are driven by changes in the saltiness and ocean temperature, a process called thermohaline circulation. These currents are carried in a large “global conveyor belt,” which includes the AMOC.

AMOC stands for Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. The AMOC circulates water from north to south and back in a long cycle within the Atlantic Ocean. This circulation brings warmth to various parts of the globe and also carries nutrients necessary to sustain ocean life.

Continue reading →

Read More

What is latitude?

Latitude lines start at the equator (0 degrees latitude) and run east and west, parallel to the equator. Lines of latitude are measured in degrees north or south of the equator to 90 degrees at the North or South poles.

Lines of latitude, also called parallels, are imaginary lines that divide the Earth. They run east to west, but measure your distance north or south. The equator is the most well known parallel. At 0 degrees latitude, it equally divides the Earth into the Northern and Southern hemispheres. From the equator, latitude increases as you travel north or south, reaching 90 degrees at each pole.

Continue reading →

Read More

What is longitude?

Lines of longitude, also called meridians, are imaginary lines that divide the Earth. They run north to south from pole to pole, but they measure the distance east or west. Longitude is measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds. Although latitude lines are alway equally spaced, longitude lines are furthest from each other at the equator and meet at the poles. A transcript is available that describes this infographic content in plain text. (Image credit: iStock)

Lines of longitude, also called meridians, are imaginary lines that divide the Earth. They run north to south from pole to pole, but they measure the distance east or west.

The prime meridian, which runs through Greenwich, England, has a longitude of 0 degrees. It divides the Earth into the eastern and western hemispheres. The antimeridian is on the opposite side of the Earth, at 180 degrees longitude. Though the antimeridian is the basis for the international date line, actual date and time zone boundaries are dependent on local laws. The international date line zigzags around borders near the antimeridian.

Continue reading →

Read More

What is a barrier island?

Satellite image of Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Barrier islands form as waves repeatedly deposit sediment parallel to the shoreline. As wind and waves shift according to weather patterns and local geographic features, these islands constantly move, erode, and grow. They can even disappear entirely.

They are generally separated from the mainland by tidal creeks, bays, and lagoons. Beaches and sand dune systems form on the side of the island facing the ocean; the side facing the shore often contains marshes, tidal flats, and maritime forests. These areas are important habitat for seabirds, fish and shellfish, and and nesting sea turtles.

Continue reading →

Read More
Keep Reading