Continuation of Reductions in Gulf of Mexico Red Grouper Catch Levels

October 01, 2019

FB19-058 Fishery Bulletin. For more information, contact Peter Hood, 727-824-5305, peter.hood@noaa.gov

KEY MESSAGES:

  • NOAA Fisheries has published a final rule that continues reductions in the Gulf of Mexico red grouper commercial and recreational annual catch limits and associated annual catch targets put in place through an emergency action requested by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.
  • The emergency action reduced the commercial and recreational catch limits and targets to the level of combined commercial and recreational landings that occurred in 2017.
  • This action was taken based on information indicating the red grouper population may be declining and not large enough to sustain past harvest levels. 

WHAT THIS MEANS:

  • The 2019 catch limits and targets are approximately 60 percent less than 2018 levels. This rule continues those reductions for 2020 and beyond (see table below).
  • Current bag limits, size limits, or fishing seasons are not being changed.

Definitions

Annual Catch Limit (ACL) is the amount of fish that can be harvested from the population each year.

Annual Catch Target (ACT) is a level of catch reduced from the annual catch limit to account for management uncertainty. 

 

Red Grouper ACL and ACT (millions of pounds)

Year

Comm ACL

Comm ACT/Quota

Rec ACL

Rec ACT

2018

8.19

7.78

2.58

2.37

2019

3.16

3.00

1.00

0.92

2020+

3.16

3.00

1.00

0.92

 

 

WHEN THE RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:

The final rule will be effective on October 31, 2019. 

FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: 84 FR 52036, published October 1, 2019

This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.

WHY DID THE COUNCIL REQUEST THE QUOTA REDUCTION?  

  • In 2017, Gulf of Mexico red grouper landings were the lowest they had been in recent years.
  • Public testimony from Gulf of Mexico fishermen indicated they observed fewer legal-sized red grouper, suggesting a declining population
  • An interim analysis conducted by NOAA Fisheries suggested a harvest reduction was needed.
  • An extensive outbreak of red tide off the Florida west coast in 2018 may have adversely affected the red grouper population.

 

More Information:

If you have further questions regarding this matter, please contact the Southeast Regional Office Sustainable Fisheries Office at the above address or by telephone at (727) 824-5305, weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

 

The Environmental Assessment for the Final Rule to Reduce Red Grouper Catch Levels may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Web site at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/framework-action-modification-gulf-mexico-red-grouper-annual-catch-limits-and-annual-catch.

 

The Environmental Assessment for the Temporary Rule to Reduce Red Grouper Catch Levels may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Web site at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/emergency-rule-modify-gulf-mexico-red-grouper-annual-catch-limit.


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Sign up for one or more of the following groups:

  • Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFRECFISH to 888777
  • Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFCOMMFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
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  • South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
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Other contacts:

Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707 or Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750 

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on October 01, 2019

Annual Quotas