Important SAFMC public hearings

Starting tomorrow, August 6th, in North Myrtle Beach, SC, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will conduct a series of public hearings on various fishery management plan amendments, including Snapper-Grouper Amendment 36, which would establish spawning Special Management Zones that would prohibit bottom fishing.

In June, after an outcry from fishermen and coastal businesses, the SAFMC voted to halt its proposal for up to 1,000 sq. miles of additional deep-water Marine Protected Areas off the Carolinas, Georgia, and east Florida that would have prohibited bottom fishing, choosing instead to seek public input on using these smaller SMZs to protect some deep-water snapper-grouper spawning areas.

We have concerns about whether the spawning SMZs are necessary given that the eight existing deep-water MPAs are very likely protecting spawning fish; Coral Amendment 8 will establish over 800 sq. miles of Habitat Areas of Particular Concern in deep-water, prohibiting bottom fishing; and a January to April spawning season closure already exists for most grouper species.

Click here for our written comments on Amendment 36.

Comments about other proposed amendments affecting dolphin, wahoo, blueline tilefish, snowy grouper, and spanish mackerel will also be taken.

Click here for the public hearing schedule and information about the proposed amendments.

All hearings are from 4 pm to 7 pm. Written comments can be sent to mike.collins@safmc.net and are due by 5 pm on August 18th.

We urge you to participate in the public hearing process.

Respectfully,

Tom Swatzel
Executive Director

P.S. The CFSF is a non-profit fishing advocacy group that relies on membership dues and contributions to operate. We need your financial support! If you are not already a member, please join today at the highest level you can afford by clicking here. Thank you!

Contributions or gifts to the Council for Sustainable Fishing are not tax deductible as charitable contributions. However, they may be tax deductible as ordinary and necessary business expenses.

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