August 17, 2017
Red snapper emergency measure could open season in October
There is a chance—a chance—that there could be fishing for red snapper in Atlantic waters this year. The South Atlantic Council will discuss an emergency measure at its meeting starting Sept. 11 in Charleston, South Carolina.
A few developments created this possibility. Florida Senators Rubio and Nelson sent a letter to the Sect. of Commerce Wilbur Ross discussing the recent extension of federal red snapper days in the Gulf and requesting an opening in Atlantic waters. Also, in its work in developing Amendment 43 to address the Annual Catch Limit concerns for the red snapper fishery, creating the possibility to allow for a season in 2018, the Council is reviewing those ACLs. At the same time, in Amendment 43 workshops and webinars, they have heard comments and requests from the public to have a season this year.
At its September meeting, the Council will devote the full day on Monday to discuss red snapper management and the options to request an emergency opening through NOAA. There will be an emergency action paper soon posted on the Council's website, which will be the basis for discussion. If the council decided to request an emergency opening, the number of days of any season would be determined by ACL alternatives in the emergency action document and a decision would be determined by NOAA. They are also scheduled to take action to approve Amendment 43, with the intent to have a limited season beginning in July 2018. NOTE: The Council is accepting written public comment on these agenda items beginning August 25, 2017 (see below). A public comment session for red snapper will also be held on Monday, September 11th.
The emergency action paper will be posted to the Council's meeting website for everyone to read, and the Council requests that you make your comments on the emergency action there at the website. You can read the materials and comment via this link from Aug. 25 through Sept. 11:
Chris Oliver, the new Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries is scheduled to attend the September Council meeting.
Please note that the meeting materials, online form for public comment, and additional information will be available at the September Council meeting website, above, beginning August 25, 2017.