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SAFMC meeting March 4-8, snapper, mahi, wahoo regulations likely

Public invited to attend session and offer comments

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will meet March 4-8, 2019 at the Westin Jekyll Island, 110 Ocean Way, Jekyll Island, Georgia. The meeting week begins with a series of committee meetings and concludes with a meeting of the Full Council.  

Local fisherman are watching what comes out of the Snapper Grouper Committee and the Dolphin Wahoo Committee closely, as more regulations are likely. 

Snapper Grouper Committee

  • During the committee meeting, the council is expected to receive an update from NOAA Fisheries on the status of a 2019 red snapper season.
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 42 could be approved for formal secretarial review at the March Meeting. It considers the addition of newly approved sea turtle release gears to the suite of choices available to commercial and for-hire snapper grouper fishermen.
  • The committee will discuss Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 29, which proposes requirements for descending devices, venting tools, and circle hooks, while also proposing changes to restrictions on powerheads.

Dolphin Wahoo Committee

  • The Council will revisit discussions of Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 10, which considers actions to revise dolphin and wahoo management measures. The amendment is in its early stages and considers options for the following:
    • allow bag limit sales of dolphin for dually permitted for-hire and commercial permit holders
    • modify gear, bait, and training requirements in the commercial longline fishery for dolphin and wahoo to align with HMS requirements
    • reduce the recreational vessel limit for dolphin
    • revise the Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) to accommodate new MRIP data
    • revise sector allocations

Agenda Highlights:

  • Red Snapper - The Snapper Grouper Committee is expected to receive an update from NOAA Fisheries on the status of the 2019 red snapper season.
  • Species Movement Northward - An Atlantic coast-wide discussion will take place during the Habitat Committee meeting. Members of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, New England Fishery Management Council, and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will participate.
  • Sea Turtle Release Gear - The Council is scheduled to approve Snapper Grouper Amendment 42, allowing commercial and for-hire fishermen additional choices for turtle release gear.
  • Best Fishing Practices and Use of Powerhead Gear - The Snapper Grouper Committee will continue to discuss proposed requirements for the use of descending devices, venting tools, and circle hooks, as well as changes to restrictions on powerhead gear.
  • Dolphin Wahoo - The committee will continue to discuss management options for both dolphin and wahoo to include in draft Amendment 10 to the Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plan.
  • Allocations - The Council will meet as a Committee of the Whole to begin discussions of allocations between recreational and commercial sectors. In addition, the Committee of the Whole will also discuss the ABC Control Rule Amendment and an amendment to address Recreational Accountability Measures.

Additional Information:   
Wednesday, March 6th   4:00 PM
The Council will hold a formal public comment session as part of the meeting week.
Online Public Comment
 Members of the public may also provide written comments on agenda items via the Council's Online Comment Form. Comments may also be viewed online as they are posted. Additional details are available from March meeting page.


Monday, March 4

  • 8:30 AM - 9:00 AM: Information & Education Committee
  • 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM: Snapper Grouper Committee
  • 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM: Dolphin Wahoo Committee

Tuesday, March 5

  • 8:30 AM - 12:00 Noon: Habitat Protection & Ecosystem-Based Management Committee
  • 1:30 PM - 5:00 PM: Snapper Grouper Committee Continued

Wednesday, March 6

  • 8:30 AM - 12:00 Noon: Committee of the Whole
  • 1:30 PM - 3:45 PM: Mackerel Cobia Committee
  • 3:45 PM - 4:00 PM: Executive Finance Committee

Thursday, March 7

  • 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM: AP Selection Committee (CLOSED)
  • 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM: SEDAR Committee
  • 11:00 AM - 12:00 Noon: SOPPs Committee (Partially CLOSED)
  • 1:30 PM - 3:45 PM: Executive Finance Committee Continued
  • 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM: Council Session

Friday, March 8

  • 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM: Council Session

Click here to download the detailed agenda, including specific times.