Federal Fishery Managers Solicit Public Input on Proposed Electronic Reporting Requirements for Charter Boats and Other Fisheries Issues

Press Release Courtesy: South Atlantic Fishery Management Council | Originally Published: January 7, 2016 | Contact: Kim Iverson – kim.iverson@safmc.net


Reporting requirements designed to improve data; other measures proposed for hogfish, mutton snapper, and king mackerel 

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is soliciting public input through a series of public hearings on proposed measures that could affect federally permitted charter (“6-pack”) vessels along the Atlantic coast. For-hire vessels (charter and headboats) operating more than three miles offshore in federal waters must have specific federal permits to legally target dolphin and wahoo, Coastal Migratory Pelagics (mackerel and cobia), and snapper grouper species. The Council is considering alternatives that would require electronic reporting for charter vessels with those federal permits, ranging from weekly reporting to daily reporting, through development of the Atlantic Generic Charterboat/Headboat Reporting Amendment.

Improved data reporting could reduce the likelihood that annual catch limits are exceeded and accountability measures are triggered. Accountability measures may include in-season closures, shorter fishing seasons the following year, reduced bag limits, and other measures to reduce harvest. The harvest from charter vessels and headboats contributes to recreational landings that count towards the recreational annual catch limits and quotas. Charter vessel landings and discards are currently monitored with NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Recreational Information Program using a voluntary dockside intercept survey. Fishing effort is calculated based on a monthly phone sample (10%) of federally permitted charter vessels in the Council’s jurisdiction.

Weekly electronic reports have been required for headboats holding these permits since January 2013. The amendment would also slightly modify the weekly headboat reporting requirements to reduce reporting lag-time and align the due dates with commercial reporting. See details below for hearing schedules and how to submit comments.

Other Proposed Measures Open for Comment

Snapper Grouper Amendment 37: Hogfish

Following a recent stock assessment for hogfish, the Council is proposing measures for hogfish that include designating two stocks in the South Atlantic and the following measures to rebuild the “Florida Keys/East Florida” stock: increase the minimum size limit; establish a commercial trip limit; reduce the bag limit; and establish a recreational season.

Coastal Migratory Pelagic Amendment 26: King Mackerel

The amendment includes management actions for Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic migratory group king mackerel, including: boundary modifications; revisions to annual catch limits, an incidental catch allowance for the shark gill net fishery; split seasons, and other measures. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will also hold public hearings in February. For additional information, visit www.gulfcouncil.org.

Snapper Grouper Amendment 41: Mutton Snapper (Scoping)

The Council is considering options affecting the recreational fishery for mutton snapper following a recent stock assessment. Options include: modifying the current bag limit of 10 fish per person/day with further reductions during the spawning season.

Note: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is holding a series of public workshops to gather input on the management of mutton snapper in state waters. Workshops will be held in conjunction with selected public hearing/scoping meetings in Florida (see schedule below). Learn more at:


Learn More – Question & Answer Webinars

Beginning at 6:00 PM

  • Wednesday, January 20, 2016: For-Hire Reporting Amendment and Mackerel Amendment 26
  • Thursday, January 21, 2016: Snapper Grouper Amendment 37 (hogfish) and Amendment 41 (mutton snapper)

Join Council staff as they review actions proposed in each amendment and answer your questions. Registration for the webinars is required. Information is available from the Public Hearing and Scoping Meeting page of the Council’s website at  www.safmc.net. Summary documents for each amendment will also be available by January 15, 2016. Note: Formal public comment will not be accepted during the Q&A webinars.

Submit Written Comment

Written comments for the amendments may be submitted via mail, fax, and email and will be accepted until 5:00 PM on February 10, 2016. Instructions for submitting comments are available from the Public Hearing and Scoping Meeting page of the website or by contacting the Council office at 843/571-4366 or Toll Free 866/SAFMC-10.

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