Over the next few weeks, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is requesting input from the recreational fishing community on several proposed amendments. Two of these are particularly important to anglers in South Atlantic states. You can find out more information by tuning into several scheduled webinars on the subjects – August 6, 9, and 14 for Amendment 47; and August 7 and 9 for Amendment 29. Register for the webinar(s) here.
Snapper Grouper Charter/Headboat (For-Hire) Federal Permit Modifications
Better known as Snapper Grouper Amendment 47, some of the proposed permit modifications could reduce opportunities for recreational fishing in federal South Atlantic waters by limiting the number of federally permitted charter and headboats.

Over time, this could lead to fewer boats. Since many anglers depend on for-hire boats to get on the water, the math is pretty simple. Fewer for-hire boats = fewer opportunities to go fishing.

This proposal is a solution in search of a problem, as the number of these permits has been stable over the last 10 years. The stated goals of the program – like improving reporting compliance and enforcement, along with professionalizing the fishery – can be addressed through less restrictive options.

Tell the Council that you oppose limiting the number of permits and encourage them to explore other ways to manage this fishery rather than restricting public access to a public resource.

Click here to submit your comments. Below is a sample message for you to use. Feel free to add your own words.

Sample Message

As a recreational angler who cares about conservation, I am opposed to limiting the number of federal charter and headboat permits as proposed in Snapper Grouper Amendment 47. With the number of permits across the South Atlantic being relatively stable prior to the Council’s consideration of a moratorium, this proposal is a solution in search of a problem. In addition, these changes could result in decreased access for anglers over time.   

Many recreational anglers depend on for-hire boats to reach federal waters in the South Atlantic. It’s very simple – if there are fewer charter boats available, there are fewer opportunities to go fishing.

I feel there are better ways to manage the for-hire snapper grouper fishery than by limiting access to a public resource. I encourage the Council to explore other, less restrictive options to address the stated need for this amendment.  

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Best Fishing Practices
The Council is also seeking comment on Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 29 which addresses the use of best fishing practices to reduce discards and discard mortality for the snapper grouper fishery.

As a community, recreational anglers support science-based techniques and tools to conserve fish stocks. There are many angler-focused programs that encourage the use of descending devices, short leader rigs, proper fish handling practices and other techniques designed to improve the survival of released fish. Not only is this simply the right thing for anglers to do as conservationists, but more fish in the water should lead to more fishing opportunities in the future.

Tell the Council that you support best fishing practices that reduce discard mortality.

Click here to submit your comments. Below is a sample message for you to use. Feel free to add your own words.

Sample Message

As a recreational angler who cares about conservation, I support increasing awareness and use of tools and techniques that improve the survival of caught-and-released fish. Recreational anglers have been at the forefront of conservation efforts for decades and are continually educating ourselves and evolving our gear and strategies to ensure healthy fisheries for future generations. I encourage the Council to move forward with implementing reasonable, science-based measures related to fishing practices that will help to reduce discard mortality and ultimately lead to great fishing opportunities in the future.