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March 09, 2010

Snapper/Grouper Shutdown?

Measures to end overfishing and set Annual Catch limits for red snapper further reviewed in March

At its March meeting, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council shrunk the size of the closed area it plans to recommend as a way to end overfishing for red snapper and rebuild stocks. The closure is part of Snapper/Grouper Amendment 17A, which the council expects to vote on at its June meeting in Orlando.

Originally, the council considered closing an area from the North Carolina/South Carolina border south to Melbourne, Florida, shutting down the harvest of all snapper and grouper species within that zone. But that area no longer includes waters off South Carolina, according to the new alternative.

Also this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced it is requesting public comment - by April 19 - on its draft environmental impact statement for the amendment. Here's the direct link to the statement and to a reviewer letter that spells out how to comment - - or read the notice below for details. The attached documents also explain the council's decision with a map of the potential closed area. 

More info on proposed changes (.pdf)
See a map of proposed changes here (.pdf)

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries Service) is seeking public comment on a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for Amendment 17A, which addresses overfishing of red snapper in the South Atlantic.

Actions contained within the DEIS include:

  • Annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability
    measures for South Atlantic red snapper;
  • A rebuilding plan for red snapper;
  • An area closure intended to end overfishing of red snapper (Note: at their March 2010 meeting, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council changed the preferred closure alternative from Alternative 4D to Alternative 3C) ;
  • A requirement for circle hooks in the snapper / grouper fishery north of 28 degrees latitude; and
  • A requirement for a program to monitor red snapper.

Request for Comments
Written comments on this DEIS must be received no later than April 19, 2010, in order to be considered by NOAA Fisheries Service. See the Addresses section for information on where and how to submit comments.

Electronic copies of the DEIS may be obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Service Web site at, the e-Rulemaking Portal at docket number NOAA-NMFS-2010-0035, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Web site at, or for hard copies contact:

NOAA Fisheries Service
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submissions: Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: using the following docket ID in the search box: NOAA-NMFS-2010-0035. All comments received are part of the public record and will generally be posted to without change. All personal identifying information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NOAA Fisheries Service will accept anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
  • Mail: Kate Michie
    NOAA Fisheries Service
    Southeast Regional Office
    Sustainable Fisheries Division
    263 13th Avenue South
    St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505
  • Fax: 727-824-5308, Attention: Kate Michie