At last week’s South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) Meeting in Jekyll Island, Ga., the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) reported the results of a series of workshops focused on ways to achieve better recreational fisheries management of snapper grouper species in the South Atlantic. The presentation was the culmination of a project sponsored by ASA, Yamaha Marine Group and the Coastal Conservation Association, in cooperation with the Council.

“While the sportfishing industry has appreciated the seasons – limited as they have been – for South Atlantic red snapper in recent years, much work remains to be done to improve management and access of this and other snapper grouper species,” said Kellie Ralston, the American Sportfishing Association’s Southeast Fisheries Policy Director. “Through this project, we were able to flesh out a variety of promising management and data collection ideas that have the potential to provide more reasonable and predictable fishing regulations.”

An initial workshop to identify the concepts and approaches to take out to regional meetings for local input was held with the Council at their September 2018 meeting in Charleston, South Carolina.  Subsequently, five regional meetings were held from November 2018 through January 2019 in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, with two meetings in Florida.  Workshop participants provided input on their local areas and concerns and discussed a variety of topics, including regional differences, electronic reporting, barotrauma reduction, and pilot projects as pathways for the Council to pursue.

The results and recommendations from the recreational workshops will go to the Council’s Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel for review and discussion in late April. Afterwards, the Council will discuss how to move forward on the suggestions brought forward in the report.

“We appreciate the cooperative approach of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council in working with us on these workshops and for providing us an opportunity to present the project’s outcomes and recommendations for new approaches for recreational snapper grouper management,” said Ralston. “We look forward to working with the Council to further explore these options.”

“Yamaha appreciates the hard work of the American Sportfishing Association, the Coastal Conservation Association and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.  Their efforts have increased understanding of methods to better manage recreational fishing. We hope this is the beginning of positive, productive dialogue on the Council and among all stakeholders,” said Martin Peters, Senior Manager, Yamaha Marine Government Relations.

Additional information from the SAFMC meeting, including an interactive Story Map, and the regional meetings report, is located here.