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NOAA Fisheries Announces Increase to Red Grouper Catch Limits in the Gulf of Mexico

July 08, 2022

FB22-042: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin: For more information, contact: Daniel Luers, (727) 824-5305; Daniel.Luers@noaa.gov

Key Message:

NOAA Fisheries announces the final rule for a framework amendment to the Fishery Management Plan for Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico.  This framework amendment and final rule will revise the overfishing limit, acceptable biological catch, annual catch limits, and annual catch targets for Gulf of Mexico red grouper.

 

When Rule Will Take Effect:

 

Regulations become effective August 8, 2022.

 

What This Means:

  • This rule will increase the red grouper total annual catch limit from 4.26 million pounds (mp) gutted weight (gw) specified in Amendment 53 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Amendment 53) to 4.96 mp gw (Table 1).
  • This rule will increase the commercial annual catch limit from 2.53 mp to 2.94 mp gw, and will increase the commercial annual catch target from 2.40 mp to 2.79 mp gw.
  • This rule will increase the recreational annual catch limit from 1.73 mp to 2.02 mp gw, and will increase the recreational annual catch target from 1.57 mp to 1.84 mp gw.

 

Table 1: Overfishing limit (OFL), acceptable biological catch (ABC), annual catch limits (ACL), and annual catch targets (ACT) implemented in Amendment 53 and increased in this final rule*.

 

OFL

ABC

Total ACL

Comm ACL

Rec ACL

Comm ACT/Quota

Rec ACT

Amendment 53

4.66

4.26

4.26

2.53

1.73

2.40

1.57

Final Rule

5.99

4.96

4.96

2.94

2.02

2.79

1.84

*All weights are in mp gw.

 

Formal Federal Register Name/Number: 87 FR 40742, published July 8, 2022

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
 

Why are catch limits being increased?

  • The most recent red grouper stock assessment model used the average weight of landed red grouper (based on lengths) to convert recreational landings in numbers of fish into weight.  When the assessment’s dataset and the current landings dataset were compared, it was found that the assessment model predicted a lower weight of landed red grouper. 
  • The assessment model predicted an average weight of approximately 4 pounds (lb) gw per red grouper landed by the recreational sector, which is considerably lower than the average weight of approximately 6.1 lb gw for recreationally landed red grouper based on the current dataset.  No adjustments were necessary for the commercial sector.  The assessment-predicted recreational landings were adjusted accordingly, and projections for the assessment were rerun using the 59.3% commercial: 40.7% recreational allocation as defined in Amendment 53 to determine the overfishing limit and acceptable biological catch. 
  • The updated projections resulted in an overfishing limit of 5.99 mp gw and an acceptable biological catch of 5.57 mp gw.
  • In response, the Southeast Fisheries Science Center prepared an interim analysis of the Gulf of Mexico red grouper stock that incorporated the mean weight adjustment to the assessment-predicted recreational landings.
  • The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s (Council) Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) determined the interim analysis suitable for providing catch advice and recommended to increase the overfishing limit to 5.99 mp gw and the acceptable biological catch of 4.96 mp gw.
  • At its October 2021 meeting, the Council accepted the SSC recommendations to increase the annual catch limits and annual catch targets for Gulf of Mexico red grouper.

 

Where can I find more information on the Red Grouper Catch Limits Framework?

 

  • Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

     By Mail: Daniel Luers

     NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

     Sustainable Fisheries Division

     263 13th Avenue South

     St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

     By FAX: (727) 824-5308

     By Phone: (727) 824-5305


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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
    • Text SATLRECFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLCOMMFISH to 888777
  • Caribbean Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text CARIBFISH to 888777

 

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Quick Glance Contact List for the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office 

 

Other contacts:

Media:

            Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on July 08, 2022