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NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments for Three Applications for Exempted Fishing Permits to Test Management Strategies that Could Reduce Recreational Discards of South Atlantic Red Snapper

April 05, 2024

FB24-021: South Atlantic Fishery Bulletin. For more information, contact: Caroline Potter, 727-824-5305, caroline.potter@noaa.gov

Key Message:

NOAA Fisheries is accepting comments on applications for exempted fishing permits (EFP) from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  The EFPs are required for three proposed projects that would test management strategies that could reduce discards of red snapper and other managed snapper-grouper species, create additional opportunities to participate in sustainable recreational harvest, and improve angler satisfaction. 


How to Comment on the Application:

The comment period is open now through April 22, 2024.  You may submit comments by electronic submission or by postal mail.  Comments sent by any other method (such as e-mail), to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries.

Application information:  https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/southeast/recreational-fishing/south-atlantic-red-snapper-exempted-fishing-permit-applications 

Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.  

1. Go to https://www.regulations.gov/document/NOAA-NMFS-2024-0035-0001 and https://www.regulations.gov/document/NOAA-NMFS-2024-0036-0001.

2. Click the "Comment" icon, complete the required fields.

3. Enter or attach your comments.

MailSubmit written comments to Rick DeVictor, NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.


Program Concepts

  • The South Atlantic red snapper stock is undergoing overfishing and is overfished. Discard mortality from recreational fishing continues to be the primary source of fishing mortality. 
  • The projects would contribute to an improved understanding of recreational discards in the snapper-grouper fishery and test management strategies to reduce discards of red snapper and other snapper-grouper species.
  • One of the proposed projects would allow five private vessels and five charter vessels every three months over a twelve-month sampling period to take three fishing trips. During these trips, participants would be allowed to retain red snapper up to a vessel limit of 60 fish per day and would be permitted to harvest no more than 15 fish under a unique snapper-grouper aggregate bag limit per person in state and Federal waters.  Each participant on a vessel trip would be required to stop directed snapper-grouper fishing once their individual snapper-grouper aggregate bag limit of 15 fish had been met or the vessel limit of 60 red snapper had been met, whichever occurred first.
  • The other two proposed projects would each divide 200 participants between a control and experimental group every three months over a twelve-month sampling period.  The participants would be chosen through a lottery.  Each participant would be allowed to take, depending on project location, two or three fishing trips per three-month period.  The control groups would follow current Federal regulations.  The experimental groups would be allowed to harvest three South Atlantic red snapper and would be permitted to harvest no more than 15 fish under a unique snapper-grouper aggregate bag limit per person per day in state and Federal waters.  Once participants reached the aggregate bag limit, they would be required to stop directed snapper-grouper fishing. 
  • Participants in all three proposed projects would be required to hail in/hail out, report information through a mobile smartphone/tablet application, take an educational online course, and participate in pre- and post-participation surveys.


NOAA Fisheries finds these applications warrant further consideration and is seeking public comment on the three applications.  A final decision on the issuance of the EFPs will depend on NOAA Fisheries' review of public comments received, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils’ recommendations, consultations with the affected states, and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as a determination that it is consistent with all applicable laws.

Sign Up for Text Message Alerts - Find Out About Immediate Openings and Closures

NOAA's Text Message Alert Program allows you to receive important fishery-related alerts via text message (SMS).  Standard message & data rates may apply.  You may opt out at any time.


Text alerts you may receive include:

  • Immediate fishery openings and closures
  • Any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly


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

Quick Glance Contact List for the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office

Permits Mailbox: The Permits Office in St. Petersburg, FL now has a Permits mailbox in the front lobby (263 13th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701). You can now drop off original permits for permit transfers.  Envelopes with information labels will be provided so that your documents can be attached to the correct application.  The mailbox will be checked daily.  For more information contact the Permits Office at 877-376-4877.

Other contacts:

Media: Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750 

Recreational Fishing Coordinator: Sean Meehan, 727-385-5202 


Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on April 05, 2024