Great News on Snowy Grouper!
July 21, 2015
NOAA Fisheries Announces Re-opening of Commercial and Recreational Sectors for Snowy Grouper in the South Atlantic with New Regulations
Small Entity Compliance Guide
The final rule for Regulatory Amendment 20 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region published on July 21, 2015 (80 FR 43033). Regulations will be effective on August 20, 2015.
The final rule for Regulatory Amendment 20 will:
• Increase the commercial and recreational annual catch limits for snowy grouper as a result of the latest population assessment. The annual catch limits will increase during 2015 to 2019, and remain at 2019 levels until a new population assessment takes place. The new values in pounds gutted weight and numbers of fish are:
Annual catch limit Recreational
Annual catch limit Recreational
Numbers of Fish
Current 82,900 4,400 523
2015 115,451 23,647 4,152
2016 125,760 25,758 4,483
2017 135,380 27,729 4,819
2018 144,315 29,558 4,983
2019 153,935 31,529 5,315
• Increase the commercial trip limit for snowy grouper from 100 pounds gutted weight to 200 pounds gutted weight. The relatively small increase in the commercial trip limit could help maintain a longer fishing season when combined with the increase in the commercial annual catch limits.
• Modify the recreational fishing season for snowy grouper from 1 fish per vessel per day year-round to 1 fish per vessel per day from May through August with no recreational retention during the rest of the year. The recreational annual catch limit was exceeded in 2012, 2013, and 2014, resulting in closures of the recreational sector on May 31 in 2013, on June 7 in 2014, and on July 6 in 2015. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council determined that reducing the current year-round recreational fishing season to May through August would help minimize the risk of exceeding the recreational annual catch limit and provide recreational fishers throughout the South Atlantic the opportunity to fish for snowy grouper when weather conditions are best.
The commercial sector for snowy grouper in the South Atlantic Region will reopen on August 20, 2015, with an annual catch limit of 115,451 pounds gutted weight. The commercial sector will close when this new annual catch limit is met or projected to me met. As of July 15, 2015, 86,149 pounds gutted weight have been landed.
The recreational sector for snowy grouper in the South Atlantic Region will reopen on August 20, 2015, with an annual catch limit of 23,647 pounds gutted weight or 4,152 fish. The recreational sector will close at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on August 31, 2015. The recreational sector will re-open on May 1, 2016.
This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.
For more information on the final rule for Regulatory Amendment 20, please follow this link to the Frequently Asked Questions:
Opens back p Aug 20th with a nearly 8 fold increase in quota!!!! Our rec landing quota will go from 4400 lbs to 23,600!!! Thats an estimate number of fish going from 523 to 4152 !!
A bit strange that they give us a 8 fold increase in landings but still limit us to 1 fish per boat and fishing only May thru August. So they give us the fish, but no time to catch them???