The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is holding a series of 6 public scoping meetings to solicit public comment on an amendment to reduce both commercial and recreational harvest of gag grouper and vermilion snapper.

Recent stock assessments show that overfishing is occurring for these economically important species.

During its June 2007 meeting, the Council received a report from its Scientific and Statistical Committee stating its approval of the Southeastern Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) stock assessments for gag and vermilion snapper.  The Council is charged to end overfishing within a one year period and in response, has begun development of Amendment 16 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan for the South Atlantic. 

The Scientific and Statistical Committee determined that in order to fish at the Council's Optimum Yield (OY), a reduction of 61% is needed for vermilion snapper.  Substantial reductions in harvest are also anticipated for gag in order to end overfishing.

The scoping meetings and a public comment period are being held to receive input regarding possible measures to end overfishing, including modifications to current regulations and potential new measures (closed seasons, recreational boat limits, commercial trip limits, etc.) to achieve the necessary reductions.  Alternatives will be included in Amendment 16. 

The Council is scheduled to approve the amendment for public hearings during its December 3-7, 2007 meeting in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.  The final public scoping meeting will be held in conjunction with the September Council meeting in N. Myrtle  Beach, South Carolina (see schedule below).

Public scoping meetings for Snapper Grouper Amendment 16 will be held in coastal areas in the southeast.  All meetings begin at 6:00 PM. Written comments for Amendment 16 are being accepted by the Council until 5:00 PM on September 17, 2007. 

Copies of the Amendment 16 scoping document will be posted on the Council's web site at or may be obtained from the Council office.  Comments should be addressed to: Bob Mahood, Executive Director, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, Charleston, SC 29405. Email comments to:

All meetings are scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m.

September 4, 2007
Hilton Wilmington Riverside
301 N. Water Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
Phone: 910/763-5900

September 4, 2007
Sombrero Cay Clubs
19 Sombrero Blvd.
Marathon, FL 33050
Phone: 305/743-2250

September 5, 2007
Sheraton Atlantic Beach
2717 W. Fort Macon Road
Atlantic Beach, NC 28512
Phone: 252/240-1155

September 6, 2007
Hampton Inn Daytona
1715 W. Int. Speedway Blvd.
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Phone: 386/257-4030

September 10, 2007
Holiday Inn Charleston Airport
5264 International Blvd.
N. Charleston, SC 29418
Phone: 843/576-0300

September 17, 2007
Avista Resort
300 N. Ocean Blvd.
N. Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
Phone: 843/249-2521