New Regulations for Snapper-Grouper and Sargassum Habitat in the South Atlantic Region; Dolphin and Wahoo in the Atlantic.
NOAA Fisheries Service published a final rule implementing the Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit Amendment in the Federal Register on March 16, 2012 after being approved on January 18, 2012. For anglers, those regulations will be effective on April 16, 2012.
The Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit Amendment addresses species in four Fishery Management Plans:
Snapper-Grouper, Dolphin Wahoo, Golden Crab, and Sargassum habitat. The final rule makes the following changes:
>Removes 13 species, designates six ecosystem component species, and establishes six species groups within the snapper-grouper fishery management unit. Rules include:
>Allocates annual catch limits between the recreational and commercial sectors for species in
the Snapper-Grouper, and Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plans.
>Allocates annual catch limits for three snapper grouper species (black grouper, yellowtail snapper,
and mutton snapper) across the jurisdictional boundaries of the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico
Fishery Management Councils.
>Establishes annual catch targets for the recreational sector (Snapper-Grouper, and Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plans); and accountability measures for recreational (Snapper-Grouper and Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plans), and commercial (Snapper-Grouper, Dolphin Wahoo, Golden Crab, and Sargassum Fishery Management Plans) sectors.
In addition, the final rule specifies the following management measures:
>Recreational sector for wreckfish (Snapper-Grouper Fishery Management Plan):
- One wreckfish per vessel daily recreational bag limit.
- A closed season of January 1 through June 30, and September 1 through December 31 each year.
>Dolphin (Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plan):
- Prohibit recreational bag limit sales of dolphin from for-hire vessels.
- Establish a minimum size limit for dolphin of 20 inches (50.8 cm) fork length for South Carolina.