As some of you may or may not know, Capt Rob Harris holds a position with the SAFMC Snapper/Grouper Advisory Panel. Last week there was a meeting held in Charleston, and these are some of the notes he took while at the meeting.

SAFMC Snapper/Grouper AP Mtg 18/19 April 2012

Meeting started with a review of past items and actions taken by Council

Amendment 24 (Red Grouper)

–   Still open for comment until April 30th. Looking to finalize by June 12th (Council meeting in Orlando 11-15 June)

Amendment 11 (Removal of 240’ Closure)

–  Approved by Council in Sept 2011….Still under review by SoC…….Awaiting measures to provide protection of Warsaw and Speckled Hind…..MPAs being looked at for South Atlantic

Regulatory Amendment 12 (Golden Tilefish)

–   Approved by Council at March meeting……Increased the ACL…. Approved a second start date for fishing year 2012…..Maintained Sector Allocation of 97% Commercial and 3% Recreational…….Changes to Allocation not discussed

Amendment 20A (Wreckfish ITQ)

–   Still open for comment until April 30th. Looking to finalize at June mtg.

Introduction of Ms. Sara Drevenak from PEW.

–   Unscheduled, AP Chair asked her to come up and tell us about herself and PEW……She gave some background on PEWs interest in fisheries. Not in-depth.

Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 3 (CE-BA3) (MPAs to protect Warsaw/Speckled Hind)

–   Dr Chris Koenig (FSU) gave presentation on the “Shelf-Edge Reserves”……Madison-Swanson MPA in Gulf…….Very good presentation, can I address this separately……IMHO, not sure how this will/can factor into South Atlantic shelf edges. Too many environmental differences between Gulf and SA…….Strongest current he faced was .5 kts.

–   Roger Pugliese (SAFMC Staff) gave presentation on “Spatial Approach” for site selection….May 1st, SSC report due to Council for areas to be suggested……No assessment on either stock…..Lack of data…..Looking for input from fishermen

  • We spent a good amount of time looking over some catch data and looking at charts that have catch data placed on them.
  • AP had limited input based on limited data given for areas to be targeted as MPAs.

Amendment 18B/EA (Golden Tilefish)

AP selected many of the Council Preferred Actions…….AP also voted and approved to use control date already established to move forward with for Longline Endorsements which would move the qualifying dates back to traditional fishermen in the fishery……. By choosing later dates, many traditional fishermen would be removed from the fishery while benefitting longline boats that recently entered the fishery.

Several new motions were made during “New business”

I’ve noted the Motion makers only to identify who can best answer any questions that people may have. Contact information for all AP members is listed on the SAFMC website.

I made motion to increase the Recreational Sector Allocation for Golden Tilefish to a 90/10 split between Comm and Rec (currently 97/3).

  • I based this upon the ACL being raised (about double) in Regulatory Amendment 12.
  • I feel that any changes to the allocation should be made before the second start date for the Commercial Sector.
  • By making the change now, the Commercial Sector is still gaining in ACL and would not be losing any that they already had with the increase.
  • Was approved at the AP level, with 3 “Opposed” votes.

Jim Atak made the motion to increase the Recreational Bag Limit and on Gag Grouper. After we discussed the motion and I pointed out that an increase in Gags wouldn’t help the SoFl anglers, the motion was amended to include Black Grouper in the increase.

    1. Based on the years of the 4 month Grouper Closure in the SA, Gags have only been fished to 47% of the allocation. Red Grouper even less and Black Grouper barely 10%.
    2. Motion was made to increase the bag to 4 Grouper and allowing 2 to be Black and/or Gag in the aggregate.
    3. Approved at the AP level.

I moved to have Council Develop a Recreational Federal Snapper/Grouper Permit, like used for HMS.

    1. I base this on the need to identify the anglers participating in the Federal Snapper/Grouper fishery.
    2.  Will assist in better data collection as it narrows the field on how many anglers are actually participating in the fishery
    3. Approved at the AP level

Jim Atak moved to increase the minimum size limit on Triggerfish and Hog Snapper to 18″. After discussion, this change was deemed too great and the motion modified to 14″.

  1. Approved at the AP level

Mark Marhefka moved to have VMS mandatory for all boats participating in the Federal Snapper/Grouper Fishery (Comm and Recreational)

  1. Was discussed and voted on.
  2. Motion passed (approved at AP level), with 3 “Opposed” votes

 Meeting adjourned at/about 1:00 on Thursday

We also participated in the MPA public input meeting, starting at 6:00pm Wednesday night after the AP meeting.