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Request for Comments: Proposed Rule to Increase Red Grouper Catch Limits in the Gulf of Mexico

May 03, 2022

FB22-025: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin; For more information, contact: Daniel Luers: 727-824-5305,

Key Message:

NOAA Fisheries requests your comments on a proposed rule for red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico. Comments are due by May 18, 2022.


Summary of Proposed Changes:

  • The proposed rule would 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 proposed rule would increase the commercial annual catch limit from 2.53 mp to 2.94 mp gw, and would increase the commercial annual catch target from 2.40 mp to 2.79 mp gw.
  • This proposed rule would increase the recreational annual catch limit from 1.73 mp to 2.02 mp gw, and would 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) proposed in Amendment 53 and the Red Grouper Catch Limits Framework and Proposed Rule.




Total ACL

Comm ACL


Comm ACT/Quota


Amendment 53








Proposed Rule








  • All weights are in mp gw.


How To Comment On The Proposed Rule:

The comment period is open now through May 18, 2022.  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.


FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: 87 FR 26178, published May 3, 2022.


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

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


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


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why would the catch limits be 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 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 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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Text alerts you may receive include:

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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
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Other contacts:


            Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on May 03, 2022