June 14, 2013
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council held one of its quarterly meetings June 11-14 in Stuart, at the Marriott Hutchinson Island. Florida Sportsman Editor Jeff Weakley attended a number of committee meetings, including the Snapper/Grouper and Mackerel committees. Committee members discussed options for relatively minor management changes to black seabass, red snapper, gray triggerfish, golden tilefish and king mackerel, in consultation with representatives from the scientific community and Advisory Panels. These recommendations, voted on by the Council, will take the form of proposed amendments to existing Fishery Management Plans, and will undergo further review and public comment. Click here for details about the Council decisions.
At the core of the Council--and among the group pictured here--are the 13 voting members who determine recommendations for federal fisheries regulations applying to offshore waters adjacent four states: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. From each of these states, two citizens are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce to serve three-year terms. Additionally, the top fisheries management official from each state (or a delegate) is given a voting position, as is the regional director of the National Marine Fisheries Service (Dr. Roy Crabtree, second right at table in foreground).
Citizens representing Florida are John Jolley of Boynton Beach (foreground, fifth from left) and Ben Hartig of Hobe Sound (seated left of the Florida State Flag). Hartig is also serving as Vice-Chairman of the Council. Council staff includes fisheries scientists, statisticians, economists and outreach coordinators. At center of the room is a court reporter.
Click here for a full report from the Council meeting.
Also be mindful of existing South Atlantic federal regulations, including:
>Current Atlantic red snapper closure in federal waters (a brief season may be announced in a few weeks)
>Open (June 1) season for black seabass (5-fish bag, 13-inch minimum)
>June 3 closure for golden tilefish
>May 31 closure for snowy grouper
PS: If you think federal fisheries scientists are just a bunch of lab-coated numbers-crunchers, think again. This is Michael Larkin, Ph.D, Fishery Biologist at the NMFS Southeast Regional Office in St. Petersburg. He's an excellent fly caster.