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Request for Comments: Proposed Rule to Establish the Maximum Sustainable Yield and Revise the Annual Catch Limit for Vermilion Snapper (Reef Fish Amendment 47)

December 28, 2017

FB17-081 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin: For more information, contact: Lauren Waters, 727-824-5305, Lauren.Waters@noaa.gov

Key Message:

NOAA Fisheries requests comments on an amendment and proposed rule that would establish a proxy for the estimate of the maximum sustainable yield and revise the annual catch limit for vermilion snapper stock in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf).  The maximum sustainable yield is the highest possible annual catch that can be sustained over time. 



In 2016, a population assessment for vermilion snapper was conducted, using updated and more reliable age and growth data.  This assessment produced an estimate of the allowable harvest that would prevent overfishing of the stock (too many vermilion snapper being caught each year).  Using this assessment, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council selected an annual catch limit of 3.11 million pounds for 2017 through 2021; therefore, the current annual catch limit of 3.42 million pounds whole weight would be reduced.


Summary of Proposed Changes:

  • Establish a proxy for the maximum sustainable yield.
  • Reduce the annual catch limit for vermilion snapper to 3.11 million pounds for the years 2017 through 2021.


How to Comment:

The comment period is open now through January 26, 2018.  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.  Relevant comments on both the amendment and proposed rule will be addressed in the final rule.


Formal Federal Register Name/Number: NOAA- NMFS-2017-0106, published December 27, 2017.


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

  1. Go to: www.regulations.gov.
  2. Click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields.
  3. Enter or attach your comments.

Mail: Submit written comments to Lauren Waters, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Why are the proposed actions necessary?

  • Originally, data used to specify the annual catch limit and define the maximum sustainable yield for the vermilion snapper stock were limited and uncertain.
  • In 2016, a stock assessment for vermilion snapper was based on more reliable data than in previous assessments, and revised acceptable biological catch options were calculated.
  • The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council selected the acceptable biological catch projection recommended by their Scientific and Statistical Committee that was based on an average constant catch for the years 2017-2021, which resulted in 3.11 million pounds whole weight.
  • To prevent overfishing, the annual catch limit cannot exceed the acceptable biological catch recommended by the Scientific and Statistical Committee; therefore, the current annual catch limit of 3.42 million pounds whole weight must be reduced to be equal to, or less than, the acceptable biological catch.


Where can I find more information on Reef Fish Amendment 47?

             By Mail: Lauren Waters
             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


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

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


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Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on March 13, 2019