This NOAA Fisheries Bulletin is provided as a courtesy:

 

FB19-058

FISHERY BULLETIN ISSUE DATE: October 1, 2019

CONTACT: Peter Hood, 727-824-5305, Peter.Hood@noaa.gov 

 

KEY MESSAGE:

  • NOAA Fisheries has published a final rule that continues reductions in the Gulf of Mexico red grouper commercial and recreational annual catch limits and associated annual catch targets put in place through an emergency action requested by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.
  • The emergency action reduced the commercial and recreational catch limits and targets to the level of combined commercial and recreational landings that occurred in 2017.
  • This action was taken based on information indicating the red grouper population may be declining and not large enough to sustain past harvest levels.

WHAT THIS MEANS:

 

  • The 2019 catch limits and targets are approximately 60 percent less than 2018 levels. This rule continues those reductions for 2020 and beyond (see table below).
  • Current bag limits, size limits, or fishing seasons are not being changed.

 

Definitions

 

Annual Catch Limit (ACL) 

is the amount of fish that can be harvested from the population each year.

Red Grouper ACL and ACT (millions of pounds)

 

Year Comm ACL Comm ACT/Quota Rec ACL Rec ACT
2018 8.19 7.78 2.58 2.37
2019 3.16 3.00 1.00 0.92
2020+ 3.16 3.00 1.00 0.92

 

 

WHEN THE RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:

The final rule will be effective on October 31, 2019.

 

FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: 84 FR 52036, published October 1, 2019.

 

This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.

 

WHY DID THE COUNCIL REQUEST THE QUOTA REDUCTION?  

  • In 2017, Gulf of Mexico red grouper landings were the lowest they had been in recent years.
  • Public testimony from Gulf of Mexico fishermen indicated they observed fewer legal-sized red grouper, suggesting a declining population
  • An interim analysis conducted by NOAA Fisheries suggested a harvest reduction was needed.
  • An extensive outbreak of red tide off the Florida west coast in 2018 may have adversely affected the red grouper population.

 

More Information:

If you have further questions regarding this matter, please contact theSoutheast Regional Office Sustainable Fisheries Office at the above address or by telephone at (727) 824-5305, weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

 

The Environmental Assessment for the Final Rule to Reduce Red Grouper Catch Levels may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Web site at:https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/framework-action-modification-gulf-mexico-red-grouper-annual-catch-limits-and-annual-catch.

 

The Environmental Assessment for the Temporary Rule to Reduce Red Grouper Catch Levels may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Web site at:

https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/emergency-rule-modify-gulf-mexico-red-grouper-annual-catch-limit.