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Request for Comments: Proposed Rule to Modify Mutton Snapper and Gag Management Measures

February 14, 2018

FB18-012 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin; For More Information, Contact: Rich Malinowski, 727-824-5305, Rich.Malinowski@noaa.gov

Key Message:

NOAA Fisheries requests your comments on a proposed rule for commercial and recreational mutton snapper and commercial gag management measures in the Gulf of Mexico. This proposed rule would specify mutton snapper annual catch limits for 2018-2020, decrease the recreational bag limit, and increase the recreational and commercial minimum size limit. This rule would also increase the commercial gag minimum size limit to provide for consistency between fisheries and state and federal waters within multiple regions. Comments are due by March 17, 2018.

Summary of Proposed Changes:

  • The proposed rule would set lower annual catch limits for mutton snapper during 2018-2020: 134,424 pounds whole weight for 2018; 139,392 for 2019; and 143,694 for 2020 and subsequent fishing years.  No annual catch target will be established.
  • The proposed rule would decrease the mutton snapper recreational bag limit to 5 mutton snapper per angler per day within the 10-snapper aggregate bag limit.
  • The proposed rule would increase the mutton snapper commercial and recreational minimum size limits to 18 inches total length.
  • The proposed rule would increase the gag commercial minimum size limit to 24 inches total length.
How to Comment on the Proposed Rule:

The comment period is open now through March 17, 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.

Formal Federal Register Name/Number: FR# 83 FR 6830, published February 15, 2018

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

  1. Go to https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2017-0082
  2. Click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields.
  3. Enter or attach your comments.
Mail: Submit written comments to Rich Malinowski, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Why are the proposed changes needed?

  • In 2015, a population assessment indicated mutton snapper are not experiencing overfishing (too many fish are being removed) and are not overfished (stock abundance is too low), but the adult population is smaller than previously estimated.
  • Therefore, a reduction in mutton snapper harvest limits is necessary to ensure that overfishing does not occur.  
  • Additional mutton snapper recreational and commercial management measures were approved to aid in reduced harvest.
  • Changes in mutton snapper management measures allow for consistency within the fishery sectors within federal and state waters.  
  • Changes in commercial gag management measures also allow for consistency between fishery sectors within federal and state waters and across regions. 

Where can I find more information on the Mutton Snapper and Gag Management Measures Framework?

  • Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
    By Mail: Rich Malinowski
    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 12, 2019