Anglers in Federal waters of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council jurisdiction are reminded that shallow water snapper and grouper fishing is currently restricted, as of January 1, and will remain closed through April 30.
The closure applies to gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, rock hind, red hind, coney, graysby, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth grouper, and tiger grouper. Anglers are advised to double check their state regulations regarding compatible closures in state waters.
This closure is part of a suite of regulations under Amendment 16 of the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper fishery. This aspect is intended to protect stocks during their critical and vulnerable-to-angling spawning season. This closure is based on the following data assembled by the SAFMC.
Gag and other shallow-water grouper species (black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, tiger grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney) spawn during the January-April closure period. Many of these species are vulnerable to overfishing because they form spawning aggregations at known locations, change sex, and are long lived. As such, fishing impact on spawning aggregations has long term effects on populations.
Red grouper and black grouper are experiencing overfishing, scamp is not experiencing overfishing, and the overfishing status of rock hind, red hind, coney, graysby, yellowmouth grouper, yellowfin grouper, and tiger grouper is unknown. Extending the spawning season closure to a full range of shallow water groupers could have positive biological effects including protecting spawning aggregations, increasing the percentage of males, enhancing reproductive success, and increasing recruitment.
For latest information go to www.safmc.net.