NOAA Fisheries has announced annual catch-limit changes for commercial and recreational sectors of gag grouper and wreckfish in the South Atlantic management area, based on population assessments.
The allowable commercial and recreational catch limits for gag grouper will decrease from 2014 levels but gradually rise and exceed them by 2018. The total catch for 2015 will be 632,700 pounds gutted weight, compared with 694,000 in 2014, but it will be 637,450 in 2016, 677,350 in 2017, 710,600 in 2018 and 734,350 in 2019. The annual catch limit is split 51-percent commercial and 49-percent recreational.
The catch limits will go into effect on Sept. 11.
The allowable commercial and recreational catch limits for wreckfish will increase from its 2014 level of 235,000 pounds to a 433,000-pound catch limit in 2015, followed by incremental decreases that will bring the limit to 396,800 in 2019. The catch limits go into effect today, Aug. 12.
The total allocation of wreckfish is divided between the commercial and recreational sectors 95 percent to 5 percent, and weight in pounds is total weight, not gutted weight.