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South Atlantic First Ever Closures for Commercial Harvest of Eighteen Snapper Grouper Species

September 7, 2012

National Marine Fisheries Service's Southeast Regional Office announced that the commercial harvest of the Snapper Grouper Deepwater Complex (8 species) and Porgies Complex (5 species) would be closed to vessels fishing in South Atlantic federal waters on September 8, 2012 through January 1, 2013. Gray Triggerfish and Yellowtail Snapper would be closed September 11 through January 1, 2013 (see Document FB12-063, available at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov). In addition, the Jacks Complex (3 species) closed July 2, 2012 (see Document FB12-044, available at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov). According to NMFS, the commercial harvest of these species will meet the annual catch limits by these dates. This is the first time ever that any of these species have been closed before the end of the calendar year.

The closures in September accelerate the recent trend of fewer and fewer days available for commercial fishing of Snapper Grouper species each year. Some of these species like greater amberjack, yellowtail snapper, spadefish, blueline tilefish and gray triggerfish have been increasingly targeted in recent years due to declines in Snowy grouper and other marketable snapper grouper species. All are popular food fish for local restaurants.

Table 1. Species and Complexes ACLs and Quota Percentages Caught in 2012 (as of date of publication of this bulletin).

Species or Complex

Annual Catch
Limit (pounds)

Quota Percentage
(as of date of publication)

Harvest Overage

Deepwater Complex

343,869

118.75%

18.75%

Gray Triggerfish

305,262

87.21%

None

Jacks Complex

193,999

191.53%

91.53%

Porgy

35,129

101.71%

1.71%

Yellowtail Snapper

1,142,589

86.70%

None

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