Economics of the U.S. South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Fishery – 2016

May 30, 2019


This technical memorandum provides summary information and estimated economic information for the commercial sector of the federally-managed snapper-grouper (SG) fishery in the South Atlantic (SAT) in calendar year 2016, including a comparison to earlier years. The SAT SG fishery includes multiple species of snapper, grouper, tilefish, and jacks as well as black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgies and hogfish, targeted in the U.S. EEZ o ̇ the Atlantic coast of the United States from North Carolina to Florida. The fishery is truly a multi-species fishery, with none of the 55 species being dominant. For a complete list of federally-managed snapper-grouper species, please refer to Appendix 2. The fishery is managed by the SAT Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) (in coordination with the States) through the SAT SG Fishery Management Plan (FMP). With the exception of wreckfish, the fishery has been managed by a combination of complex trip-limits, season closures, closed areas, and regular species-specific closures when a species’ harvest is anticipated to reach the quota. For detailed information about the SG FMP, please consult the SAFMC’s website at:

This report’s unique focus is on the economics of the commercial harvesting sector in the SAT SG fishery. The report combines trip logbook data (e ̇ort and catch at the trip-level) with two supplemental economic sample surveys—one on the logbook itself (and hence at the trip-level); the other is an annual mail survey at the vessel-level. The economic surveys elicit revenue, variable and/or fixed costs by category, and some auxiliary economic variables, such as a vessel’s market value. After extensive cleaning and processing, and linking back to the logbook data, the report summarizes the logbook data by meaningful subsets of the overall data (domains in statistical context). We call these subsets Segments of Interest (SOI). In most cases, they are at a species or species group level, such as vermilion snapper trips. Based on the sample data, estimates of the SOI population means for the economic variables are provided, including net revenues and margins.

A major disclaimer applies to all the results reported in this technical memorandum. The processing of data and the presentation of results are guided by the objective of presenting meaningful economic results. These numbers will differ from similar numbers generated for stock assessments and other management or research purposes. For instance, there are known reasons for why logbook totals ("near census") will deviate from official ACL/quota numbers. Further, the underlying databases are dynamic and continuously changing. So while the numbers reported here should generally be of similar magnitude as reported elsewhere, we do not expect them to be identical.

Last updated by Southeast Fisheries Science Center on 05/30/2019