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Nc Grouper Season 2020

author
David Lawrence
• Thursday, 23 September, 2021
• 28 min read

“Adult gag grouper live in nearshore waters from coastal North Carolina south to Brazil and as well as in the Gulf of Mexico. Smaller gag are a lot of lighter in coloring, and have numerous dark brown, or charcoal, kiss-like marks along their sides.

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(Source: southfloridafishingchannel.com)

Contents

“Young gag grouper will live in oyster reefs, estuaries and seagrass beds from Massachusetts to Cape Canaveral, Florida. The coloration of red grouper helps to distinguish this species from gag with its head and body being dark reddish brown, shading pink or reddish or even pale pink along the lower part of its body,” Nash said.

“In North Carolina, gag will typically spawn in February and have clear larvae, which then make their way into estuaries. As water temperatures start to go down in the fall, juvenile gag will migrate from estuaries to offshore hard bottom habitat and larger members of their species,” said Seward.

Seward noted that all grouper are considered protogynous intersex, “that is they start their lives as females, and a part of the population will morph, or make the change, to males as they get older. Females start to reach sexual maturity when they are about 24 inches in total length and about 3 years old.

They are voracious predators, and will feed on whatever they can capture including scad, snapper, grunt, sardines, crabs, porgies, shrimp and squid, said Seward. Red grouper sitting on sand habitat 45 degrees to camera full body view mouth open.

In addition to their color, red grouper can be distinguished from gag by the sloped, straight line of their spiny dorsal fin. “The red grouper is also a protogynous intersex and females are sexually mature by the time they reach 4 years old,” Seward said.

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(Source: www.pointclickfish.com)

Females typically will let go an average of 1.5 million pelagic eggs that stay at the surface for between 30-40 days before finally settling down to the bottom. “Red grouper may live to be as old as 25 years of age, with older specimens reaching a size of 32.5 inches and up to 25 pounds.

They will feed on lobster, shrimp, octopus, crabs and fish that are found close to their preferred reef habitat,” Seward said. Bottom fishing is the best way to catch gag grouper, using live bait, including squid and cigar minnows.

Use a depth finder to find deep-water rock ledges, artificial reefs and shipwrecks, a gag grouper ’s favorite hiding place. An annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure runs Jan. 1-April 30 in federal waters off the coasts of North Carolina and South Carolina, except red grouper, for which the season remains closed until June 1.

Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for the snapper grouper species. “This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed and sold before the annual catch limit is reached and held in cold storage by a dealer,” said North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Executive Assistant to Councils Steve Poland, who is also a representative with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

A stock assessment update, Sedan 53, for red grouper was completed in February 2017 using data through 2015. Therefore, on Sept. 27, 2017, NFS sent a letter to the council stating that the South Atlantic red grouper stock was not making adequate progress toward rebuilding.

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(Source: www.pointclickfish.com)

“For red grouper, this final rule extends the closure season formerly from January to April, to January through May of each year for the next ten years for the commercial and recreational portions off North and South Carolina, and establishes a commercial trip limit,” said Poland. This final rule establishes a commercial trip limit for red grouper harvested in the South Atlantic EEA of 200 pounds, gutted weight.

The trip limit is expected to help rebuild the red grouper stock by discouraging directed commercial fishing for the species, although it is not likely to substantially reduce the current level of commercial harvest of red grouper, according to the National Register. “The council selected a commercial trip limit that in combination with extending the spawning season cloture for red grouper off North Carolina and South Carolina would help keep down harvest numbers to help rebuild the stock,” Poland said.

You can help pay some cost by sponsoring a day on CRO for as little as $100 or by donating any amount you're comfortable with. Gag grouper have long, compressed bodies and 11 to 14 rays in the anal fins.

Smaller fish are much lighter and have numerous dark brown or charcoal kiss-like marks along the sides. The scamp, M. final, and black grouper, M. Monaco, closely resemble the gag and often occur in the same habitat.

Gag have deeply notched properties, distinguishing them from black grouper. Spawning takes place in February off the coast of the Carolina's and in January through March in the Gulf of Mexico.

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(Source: www.pointclickfish.com)

Gag may live for 26 years and grow to be 58 inches in length and weigh up to 81 pounds. Gag often congregate around rocky ledges and swim in small groups.

They are predators of round scad, sardines, porgies, snappers, grunts, crabs, shrimp and squid. The caudal (tail) and anal fins of the gag have white margins, while the black grouper does not.

Open Season : May 1 – December 31 Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the recreational Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met. If an in- season closure were to be announced by NOAA Fisheries, all relevant information will be included here.

Annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure: January 1 – April 30 Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species.

At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage. Definition of a Descending Device: an instrument to which is attached a minimum of a 16 ounce weight and a length of line that will release the fish at the depth from which the fish was caught or a minimum of 60 feet.

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(Source: www.carolinasportsman.com)

Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing. The use of non-stainless steel hooks when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits south of 28º north latitude.

All species must be landed with head and fins intact Recreational Bag Limit sales are prohibited Open Season : May 1 – December 31 Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the commercial Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met.

Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species. At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage.

Definition of a Descending Device: an instrument to which is attached a minimum of a 16 ounce weight and a length of line that will release the fish at the depth from which the fish was caught or a minimum of 60 feet. Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing.

The use of non-stainless steel hooks when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits south of 28º north latitude. This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed, and sold prior to the annual catch limit being reached and held in cold storage by a dealer.

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(Source: www.carolinasportsman.com)

Based on the current guidance to minimize the spread of COVID-19, the NC DEQ has adjusted operations to protect the health & safety of the staff & public. Also, new gear requirements for the snapper- grouper fishery will go into effect shortly after the red snapper season opens.

Stacy Fishing Center, Atlantic Beach Carolina Princess head boat dock, Forehead City Anglers who donate a red snapper carcass will receive a citation (certificate) from the N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament.

The information collected will be provided to the National Marine Fisheries Service for use in future red snapper stock assessments. Reports of the number of harvested and released fish will improve the accuracy of National Marine Fisheries Service’s catch estimates.

The commercial red snapper season will open July 13 with a 75-pound gutted weight trip limit. Division biologists will obtain data from commercially caught red snapper at the fish houses.

A descending device must be on board and readily available for use while fishing for or possessing snapper- grouper species; and, Use of non-offset (also called inline), non-stainless-steel circle hooks when fishing for or possessing snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits, regardless of tackle or lure configuration. I’d like to say that effective on May 1, things will be right again for fishermen seeking cobra and shallow water grouper.

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(Source: www.thehulltruth.com)

There may be more changes coming after the cobra stock ID assessment is completed in June and/or if East Coast cobra management is transferred from NOAA Fisheries to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The road to the current season and catch regulations has been long, with several detours and a lot of potholes.

The 2018 N.C. recreational cobra season opens on May 1 and is scheduled to run through December 31. The possession limit for recreational fishermen from shore or piers is one cobra per fisherman per day.

Fishermen on private recreational boats have a change in their limit during the season. Fishermen on for-hire boats may keep one cobra per person up to a maximum of four or one per fisherman, whichever is less.

Shallow water grouper is a fishery complex that includes black, gag, scamp, red, red hind, rock hind, Coney, grays by, yellow fin and yellow mouth grouper. The shallow water grouper season reopens at 12:01 A.M. on May 1, with a 3-fish aggregate limit of all the species.

Black and gag grouper have a minimum size of 24 inches total length (tip of lower jaw to end of tail) and the others have a 20-inch total length minimum size. The proposed rule would reduce the annual catch limits for South Atlantic red grouper more than 80 percent in response to lower numbers of red grouper in the latest population assessment.

charters bent grouper season
(Source: www.globuya.com)

The proposed rule would reduce the total and sector annual catch limits (Acts) for red grouper to allow the species to recover from overfishing. Comments submitted by mail should be sent to Frank Relies, Southeast Regional Office, NFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

His writing features this area prominently, but he has fished and written about the East Coast from Virginia to Florida, the Gulf Coast, California, Alaska and several of the Great Lakes in the U.S., plus several countries in Central America and several Caribbean Islands. For months, fishermen along the South Atlantic Coast were not expecting to have even a short red snapper season for 2020, after the slight overage in catch during 2019.

However, a change in the federal guidelines will allow the recreational red snapper season to open for four days during July. This rule specified recreational and commercial annual catch limits for red snapper beginning in 2018 and subsequent years.

The recreational bag limit will be one red snapper per person per day for private and charter boat/head boat vessels, with no size restrictions. This rule, which becomes effective at 12:01 A.M. on July 15, modifies several gear requirements for the fishery and encourages best fishing practices.

Requires descending devices be on board and readily available for use on commercial, for-hire, and private recreational vessels while fishing for or possessing snapper- grouper species; Requires the use of non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits north of 28º north latitude; Requires all hooks be non-stainless steel when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits south of 28º north latitude; Allows the use of power heads in federal waters off South Carolina. The NC Division of Marine Fisheries is requesting recreational fishermen to donate their red snapper carcasses from the 2020 mini- season for research.

fishing fishingbooker season carolina
(Source: fishingbooker.com)

Fishermen who donate a red snapper carcass will receive an outstanding catch citation from the NC Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Stacy Fishing Center in Atlantic Beach and the Carolina Princess Head Boat Dock in Forehead City.

Fishermen will be asked to give information related to how and when the fish was caught, plus their names and addresses to receive their citation. The information collected will be saved in state records and provided to the National Marine Fisheries Service for use in future red snapper stock assessments.

Information on the number of harvested and released fish will improve the accuracy of National Marine Fisheries Service’s catch estimates. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council would like to gain a better understanding of what’s happening on the water.

All anglers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish from a private vessel are required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation. Those with a Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation will meet the statewide requirement until the Gulf designation expires, even if you are fishing on the Atlantic coast.

State: Must have heads and fins intact through landing Gear rules require circle hooks and hooking tools in Gulf waters reef fish fisheries.

(Source: www.astylishlittlelady.com)

Note: In the Atlantic reef fish fishery, gear rules require hooking tools, and as of Jan. 1, 2021, non-stainless steel hooks in all state waters, and non-offset circle hooks N. of 28 ° N. latitude. Several species of Gulf grouper (red, black, scamp, yellow fin and yellow mouth) are closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom break.

Recreational anglers are encouraged to use electronic charting equipment to plot the 20-fathom break by entering the established coordinates listed on the map below into a route. Monroe County: Several species of Atlantic grouper (red, black, yellow fin, yellow mouth, scamp, rock hind, red hind, Coney and grays by) are closed Jan. 1 – April 30 in all state and federal waters of the Atlantic including all state waters off Monroe County (Atlantic and Gulf sides).

During this closure, anglers can harvest grouper in open federal waters of the Gulf and return to port in Monroe County by traveling through closed state waters of the Atlantic as long as the vessel proceeds directly to port without stopping to fish. Western boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region.

Eastern boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region. Additional Notes New Regulations effective March 9, 2020 -The commercial and recreational red grouper spawning season closures (January through April) will extend through the month of May in federal waters off North Carolina and South Carolina.

-The commercial trip limit for red grouper harvested in South Atlantic federal waters: 200 pounds gutted weight. -If a federally permitted vessel fishing in state waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in federal waters but open in state waters, the vessel is not allowed to retain that species.

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(Source: www.thehulltruth.com)

Commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species. The use of non-stainless steel circle hooks (offset or non-offset) is required for all species in the snapper grouper complex when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits in waters North of 28 degrees N. latitude.

This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed, and sold prior to the quota being reached and held in cold storage by a dealer. Commercial snapper grouper vessels must have onboard NFS approved sea turtle release gear and follow small tooth saw fish release protocol.

See the Handling and Release Protocol from NOAA Fisheries or call 727-824-5312. See current information on Commercial Acts (quotas) from NOAA Fisheries.

Measurements Min Size: 20 in Total Length -------------------- Commercial Regulations 18 inch minimum size limit (total length) Managed under an If program.

Anyone commercially fishes for grouper or tile fish must possess If allocation and follow established protocols. Additional Notes Groupers, snappers, and parrot fishes have a combined bag limit of 5 per person per day or 15 per vessel per day, whichever is less.

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(Source: fishingbooker.com)

Additional Notes New Regulations effective March 9, 2020 -The commercial and recreational red grouper spawning season closures (January through April) will extend through the month of May in federal waters off North Carolina and South Carolina. -The commercial trip limit for red grouper harvested in South Atlantic federal waters: 200 pounds gutted weight.

-If a federally permitted vessel fishing in state waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in federal waters but open in state waters, the vessel is not allowed to retain that species. ---------- Commercial regulations for South Atlantic Federal Waters OPEN in GA & East Coast of FL OPEN in SC & NC Minimum Size: 20 inch total length Trip Limit: 200 pounds gutted weight Spawning Season Closure: January 1 – April 30; Annual Shallow-water Grouper Spawning Season Closure January 1 through April 30, except for red grouper in federal waters off the coasts of North Carolina and South Carolina, which remains closed until June 1.

All species must be landed with head and fins intact. Commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species.

The use of non-stainless steel circle hooks (offset or non-offset) is required for all species in the snapper grouper complex when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits in waters North of 28 degrees N. latitude. This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed, and sold prior to the quota being reached and held in cold storage by a dealer.

Commercial snapper grouper vessels must have onboard NFS approved sea turtle release gear and follow small tooth saw fish release protocol. See the Handling and Release Protocol from NOAA Fisheries or call 727-824-5312.

fishingbooker season grouper gag snapper fishing
(Source: fishingbooker.com)

See current information on Commercial Acts (quotas) from NOAA Fisheries. Additional Notes New Regulations effective March 9, 2020 -The commercial and recreational red grouper spawning season closures (January through April) will extend through the month of May in federal waters off North Carolina and South Carolina.

-The commercial trip limit for red grouper harvested in South Atlantic federal waters: 200 pounds gutted weight. -If a federally permitted vessel fishing in state waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in federal waters but open in state waters, the vessel is not allowed to retain that species.

---------- Commercial regulations for South Atlantic Federal Waters OPEN in GA & East Coast of FL OPEN in NC & SC Minimum Size: 20 inch total length Trip Limit: 200 pounds gutted weight Spawning Season Closure: January 1 – April 30; Annual Shallow-water Grouper Spawning Season Closure January 1 through April 30, except for red grouper in federal waters off the coasts of North Carolina and South Carolina, which remains closed until June 1. All species must be landed with head and fins intact.

Commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species. The use of non-stainless steel circle hooks (offset or non-offset) is required for all species in the snapper grouper complex when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits in waters North of 28 degrees N. latitude.

This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed, and sold prior to the quota being reached and held in cold storage by a dealer. Commercial snapper grouper vessels must have onboard NFS approved sea turtle release gear and follow small tooth saw fish release protocol.

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(Source: www.glotels.com)

See the Handling and Release Protocol from NOAA Fisheries or call 727-824-5312. See current information on Commercial Acts (quotas) from NOAA Fisheries.

Additional Notes A closed season for the recreational harvest of black, red, yellow fin and yellow mouth groupers as well as scamp has also been established from Feb. 1 – March 31 of each year sea- ward of the 20 fathom (120 feet) curve. Recreational anglers and charter captains are required to obtain a free Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess snapper, grouper, hind, tunas, billfish, swordfish, amber jacks, cobra, Yahoo and dolphin.

Minors (under 16) are not required to obtain a recreational offshore landing permit. Angling customers on a paid-for-hire charter trip also do not need a permit.

All other grouper landed between Dec 1 and Feb 28 must have head, tail, and skin intact. License Required Eligible for NC Saltwater Fishing Tournament managed by Division of Marine Fisheries.

Aggregate limit = 1 grouper of any species per person. Any private recreational fishing vessel, charter boat or head boat, must obtain a Tile fish and Grouper Landing Permit, for that vessel, from the Marine Resources Commission in order to possess aboard, or land any tile fish or grouper, harvested recreationally.

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(Source: fishingbooker.com)

Additional Notes Hunting, trapping, netting, capture, or removal of any fish, turtle, crawfish, conch, whelk, or any marine and/or fisheries resource is prohibited. Notice to anglers: regulations on this page are location specific.

NFS implements management measures described in Vision Blueprint Commercial Regulatory Amendment 27 (Regulatory Amendment 27) to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Snapper- Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Snapper- Grouper FMP), as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council). This final rule modifies commercial fishing seasons, trip limits, and minimum size limits for selected snapper- grouper species in the South Atlantic exclusive economic zone (EEA).

Start Further Info Mary Vary, NFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, or email: mary.vara@noaa.gov. End Further Intend PreambleS tart Supplemental Information The snapper- grouper fishery in the South Atlantic region is managed under the Snapper- Grouper FMP and includes blue line tile fish, snowy grouper, greater amber jack, red porgy, vermilion snapper, Almach jack, other jacks complex (lesser amber jack, Almach jack, and banded rudder fish), queen snapper, silk snapper, black fin snapper, and gray trigger fish, along with other snapper- grouper species.

On October 17, 2019, NFS published a proposed rule for Regulatory Amendment 27 in the Federal Register and requested public comment (84 FR 55531). A summary of the management measures described in Regulatory Amendment 27 and implemented by this final rule is provided below.

This final rule modifies the commercial trip limits for blue line tile fish, greater amber jack, red porgy, and vermilion snapper; establishes commercial split seasons for snowy grouper, greater amber jack, and red porgy; and establishes a commercial trip limit for the other jacks complex. For the commercial sector, this final rule establishes a minimum size limit for Almach jack, removes the minimum size limits for silk snapper, queen snapper, and black fin snapper, and reduces the minimum size limit for gray trigger fish in the EEA off the east coast of Florida.

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(Source: salty101.com)

The management measures in this final rule apply on board a vessel for which a Federal commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper- grouper has been issued. This final rule modifies the commercial trip limit for blue line tile fish throughout the South Atlantic EEA.

The Council determined that a lower 100-lb (45-kg) commercial trip limit of blue line tile fish each year from January through April would help reduce snowy grouper discards by commercial fishermen operating south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, because the commercial trip limit for blue line tile fish would be met more quickly on a trip. This final rule maintains the current 300-lb (136-kg) trip limit for blue line tile fish from May through December when good weather conditions are more likely to allow commercial fishermen in the northern portion of the Council's area of jurisdiction to have greater access to the resource and optimize their harvest through an extended fishing season.

The Council determined that allocating the majority of the commercial quota to Season 1 will ensure availability of snowy grouper when it is most valuable at the market and optimize access to this species for the majority of commercial fishermen in the South Atlantic. The Council also decided that allocating 30 percent of the commercial quota of snowy grouper for Season 2 allows for the incidental harvest of snowy grouper when North Carolina commercial fishermen are targeting blue line tile fish.

Additionally, this final rule modifies the commercial trip limit for greater amber jack. During Season 1, the commercial trip limit is 1,200 lb (544 kg) in round or gutted weight, and during Season 2, the commercial trip limit is 1,000 lb (454 kg) in round or gutted weight.

However, during April each year, the commercial sale and purchase of greater amber jack will continue to be prohibited, and the commercial harvest and possession limit will continue to be one fish per person per day or one fish per person per trip, whichever is more restrictive. The Council expects that dividing the commercial quota for South Atlantic greater amber jack between two seasons and reducing the commercial trip limit for the latter half of the fishing year would lengthen the greater amber jack commercial season and allow for a more equitable distribution and price stability of the greater amber jack resource throughout the South Atlantic.

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(Source: www.pointclickfish.com)

Additionally, Regulatory Amendment 27 and this final rule modify the commercial trip limit for red porgy during Season 1 to be 60 fish. The final rule removes the current commercial sale and purchase prohibition and the possession limit of three fish per person per day or three fish per person per trip, whichever is more restrictive, from January 1 through April 30.

This final rule removes the commercial trip limit reduction for vermilion snapper when 75 percent of the seasonal quota is met during both Season 1 and 2 but retains the 1,000 lb (454 kg) commercial trip limit. The Council determined that there is no longer a need to have a trip limit reduction for vermilion snapper.

Also, as described in Regulatory Amendment 27, maintaining the current commercial trip limit would ensure economic profitability and efficient use of the vermilion snapper resource. This final rule establishes a commercial minimum size limit of 20 inches (50.8 cm), fork length (FL), for Almach jack in the South Atlantic EEA.

The Council determined that a commercial minimum size limit of 20 inches (50.8 cm) FL will allow more individual Almach jack to reach reproductive activity before being susceptible to harvest, and is projected to increase the average size and the corresponding average weight of fish harvested. This final rule establishes a commercial trip limit for the other jacks complex of 500 lb (227 kg).

The Council determined a 500-lb (227-kg) commercial trip limit for the other jacks complex would still allow fishermen to make a profitable trip, and enables them to have the added benefit of an extended commercial season, and it is better for the long-term sustainability of the other jacks complex resource. This final rule reduces the commercial minimum size limit to 12 inches (30.5 cm) FL for gray trigger fish in the EEA off the east coast of Florida.

fishing fishingbooker season
(Source: fishingbooker.com)

In 2015, the 12-inch (30.5-cm) FL commercial minimum size limit was implemented for gray trigger fish in the EEA off North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, and a commercial minimum size limit of 14 inches (35.6 cm) FL was implemented in the EEA off the east coast of Florida (80 FR 30947, June 1, 2015). In response to that concern, the FCC subsequently reduced the recreational minimum size limit of gray trigger fish in state waters to 12 inches (30.5 cm) FL in 2015 (incorrectly stated in the preamble of the proposed rule as 2017), and requested that the Council develop consistent size limit regulations in Federal waters for gray trigger fish.

Therefore, reducing the commercial minimum size limit to 12 inches (30.5 cm) FL in the EEA off the east coast of Florida will make these state and Federal commercial regulations for gray trigger fish consistent throughout the Council's jurisdiction. Start Printed Page 4590 NFS acknowledges the comments in favor of all or part of the actions in the proposed rule and agrees with them.

The public comment that opposed an action contained in Regulatory Amendment 27 and the proposed rule is summarized below, along with NFS' response. Almach jack grow larger off North Carolina, so a 20-inch (50.8-cm) FL minimum size limit is appropriate off that state, but due to the regional differences in catch ability, the minimum size limit for Almach jack should be 12 inches (30.5 cm) FL off the east coast of Florida, since fishermen will be discarding those fish at a higher rate if the minimum size limit is 20 inches (50.8 cm) FL.

Response: The Council decided to implement a minimum size limit for Almach jack because during the Vision Blueprint process, fishermen expressed concern about the small size and resulting poor commercial value of some Almach jack being landed. Although minimum size limits, in general, have the potential to increase discards, NFS believes that Almach jack would presumably exhibit similar release mortality to that of greater amber jack (20 percent, Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review 15, 2008), and thus, most discarded fish would likely survive.

Some fishermen also believe that Almach jack are a “hardy” fish and have high release survival. Therefore, a 20-inch (50.8-cm) FL minimum size limit is expected to reduce discards to the extent practicable.

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(Source: www.globuya.com)

Additionally, and as stated in Regulatory Amendment 27, 88.5 percent of Almach jack landed commercially (by weight) in the South Atlantic are above 20 inches (50.8 cm) FL and 66 percent of the catch is above 26 inches (66 cm) FL; therefore, the change in regulatory discards is expected to be minimal. Therefore, implementing a commercial minimum size limit of 20 inches (50.8 cm) FL is expected to result in positive biological impacts to the Almach jack stock.

Overall, the Council determined that action to implement the 20-inch (50.8-cm) FL minimum size limit best meets their purpose to minimize discards in the snapper- grouper commercial fishery to the extent practicable while improving marketability. The Regional Administrator for the NFS Southeast Region determined that this final rule is necessary for the conservation and management of the South Atlantic snapper- grouper fishery and that it is consistent with Regulatory Amendment 27, the Snapper- Grouper FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws.

The potential cost savings from this final rule are estimated to be $.02 million in 2016 dollars, discounted at 7 percent in perpetuity. The objective of this rule is to improve management of the commercial sector of the snapper- grouper fishery to better achieve optimum yield, while minimizing to the extent practicable, the adverse socio-economic effects of regulations on commercial fishing entities in the South Atlantic.

This final rule makes the following changes to the regulations for the commercial snapper- grouper fishing industry in the South Atlantic region. In addition, this rule also removes the in- season reduction of the commercial trip limit in Season 1 and Season 2 for vermilion snapper; establishes a commercial minimum size limit of 20 inches (50.8 cm) FL for Almach jack; establishes a commercial trip limit of 500 lb (227 kg) for the other jacks complex; removes the 12-inch (30.5-cm) TL commercial minimum size limit for queen snapper, silk snapper, and black fin snapper; and reduces the commercial minimum size limit for gray trigger fish from 14 inches (35.6 cm) to 12 inches (30.5 cm) FL in the EEA off the east coast of Florida.

Therefore, this final rule is expected to directly regulate businesses that are active in the commercial snapper- grouper fishing industry. As a result of the incomplete ownership data, for purposes of this analysis, it is assumed each of these vessels is independently owned by a single business, which is expected to result in an overestimate of the actual number of businesses directly regulated by this rule.

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(Source: www.newsbreak.com)

Therefore, this rule is estimated to directly regulate 584 businesses in the commercial snapper- grouper fishing industry. On December 29, 2015, NFS issued a final rule establishing a small business size standard of $11 million in annual gross receipts (revenue) for all businesses primarily engaged in the commercial fishing industry (Nails code 11411) for RFA compliance purposes only (80 FR 81194, December 29, 2015).

In addition to this gross revenue standard, a business primarily involved in commercial fishing is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, and is not dominant in it field of operations (including its affiliates). The maximum average annual gross revenue from 2012 through 2016 for a single vessel in the commercial snapper- grouper fishing industry was about $1.6 million.

All directly regulated businesses have been determined, for the purpose of this analysis, to be small entities. Based on this information, the rule is expected to affect a substantial number of small businesses.

Although a quantitative estimate cannot be provided due to lack of data, this action is also expected to cause a minor increase in these vessels' operating costs. Moreover, the red porgy landings that would be expected from January through April are likely fish that were previously discarded due to the current prohibition.

This action is expected to result in a reduction of $42 in average annual gross revenue per vessel, which is a minimal change relative to annual average gross revenues, but would increase economic losses by about 0.6 percent. Under previous regulations, the commercial trip limit for both seasons was reduced from 1,000 lb (454 kg) gutted weight to 500 lb (227 kg) gutted weight, or by 50 percent, when 75 percent of the commercial quota in either season was harvested, which was significant.

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(Source: www.globuya.com)

Although models are not available to quantitatively estimate the expected changes in costs, the elimination of the trip limit reduction in this rule is expected to significantly reduce these vessels' harvesting costs, likely more than offsetting the relatively minor reduction in gross revenue. The action to establish a commercial minimum size limit of 20 inches (50.8 cm) FL for Almach jack is expected to directly regulate approximately 165 vessels.

However, the increase in cost may be partially offset through a higher price received for larger sized fish. But the extent to which this effect will occur is unknown due to lack of data on the variability of prices across Almach jack of different sizes.

The action to establish a commercial trip limit of 500 lb (227 kg) for the other jacks complex is expected to directly regulate approximately 210 vessels. Given the commercial minimum size limit for Almach jack discussed in the previous action, establishing a commercial trip limit for the other jacks complex is expected to result in a reduction of $28 in average annual gross revenue per vessel, or about 1 percent of the average annual economic profit.

However, establishing a minimum size limit is also expected to increase costs, which would decrease economic profit even further. The magnitude of the increase in costs depends on how much additional effort commercial vessels must exert to maintain their landings and revenues.

The action to reduce the commercial minimum size limit for gray trigger fish in the EEA off the east coast of Florida from 14 inches (35.6 cm) to 12 inches (30.5 cm) FL is expected to directly regulate approximately 213 vessels. Reducing the minimum size limit for gray trigger fish will also allow commercial fishing vessels to harvest these species with less effort.

nc grouper heirloom tomato salad
(Source: vinniessteakhouse.com)

As such, this action would also be expected to decrease the cost per pound of harvest, though by how much is unknown due to the lack of appropriate models. Thus, this action is expected to result in a modest increase in these vessels' economic profit.

The status quo alternative is also not expected to increase economic profits for the affected small entities. The status quo alternative was not selected because it is not expected to achieve the Council's goal of enabling more equitable access to the resource for fishermen from different areas of the South Atlantic.

Six of the other alternatives are expected to decrease economic profits for the affected small entities more than the action and thus were not selected. The other two alternatives are expected to reduce economic profits less than the action, but were not selected because they are not expected to achieve the Council's goal of enabling more equitable access to the resource for fishermen from different areas of the South Atlantic.

The status quo was not selected because it is not expected to achieve the Council's goal of enabling more equitable access to the resource for fishermen from different areas of the South Atlantic and is not expected to increase economic profits for the affected small entities. Five alternatives, including the status quo, were considered for the action to remove the trip limit reduction in both seasons for vermilion snapper.

None of these alternatives were selected because they are expected to result in lower economic profits for the affected small entities, while three of these alternatives are also expected to result in significantly higher regulatory costs to the Federal Government. Four alternatives, including the status quo, were considered for the action to establish a commercial minimum size limit of 20 inches (50.8 cm) FL for Almach jack.

(Source: emerald-isle-adventures-inc.business.site)

The status quo was not selected because Almach jack less than 20 inches (50.8 cm) FL are not considered to be of a marketable size (i.e., they are difficult if not impossible to sell at a price that would not lead to economic losses) and therefore would likely be discarded. Thus, the status quo alternative is not expected to achieve the Council's goals of improving the marketability of certain species and minimizing discards.

Three alternatives, including the status quo, were considered for the action to establish a commercial trip limit of 500 lb (227 kg) for the other jacks complex. The status quo alternative was not selected as it is not expected to achieve the Council's goal of enabling more equitable access to the resource for fishermen from different areas of the South Atlantic.

The status quo alternative was not selected Start Printed Page 4594because it is expected to result in higher discards, which is contrary to the Council's goal of minimizing discards, and is also expected to result in lower economic profits for the affected small entities. One alternative, the status quo, was considered for the action to reduce the commercial minimum size limit for gray trigger fish in the EEA off the east coast of Florida from 14 inches (35.6 cm) to 12 inches (30.5 cm) FL.

The status quo alternative was not selected because it is expected to result in higher discards, which is contrary to the Council's goal of minimizing discards, and is also expected to result lower economic profits for the affected small entities. As part of this rule making process, a fishery bulletin that also serves as a small entity compliance guide was prepared.

End List of SubjectsStart SignatureDeputy Assistant Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service. End Signature This document was received for publication by the Office of the Federal Register on January 15, 2020.

nc heirloom grouper tomato salad
(Source: vinniessteakhouse.com)

The temperatures cool, the rainy season comes to a close, and winter species of fish reappear. Although we’re permitted to keep specific grouper species beginning in June, local anglers will tell you they aren’t usually big enough until November.

Grouper is one of the harder species to catch, and in turn, one of the highest in demand. You’ll find it on almost every restaurant menu and can’t miss the “Best Grouper Sandwich” claims on the beach.

Because grouper is a member of the Black Sea bass family, the texture is firm, and the taste is sweet. Large flakes and a prominent bone structure make this fish great for eating in any recipe, and the restaurants know this.

They charge a pretty price for such phenomenal table fare, and the only way to have a better experience is to cook it yourself. Inside Tampa Bay, we mostly catch Gag Grouper.

Grouper are reef fish which means you’ll mostly find them around pylons or nearshore structure. Seagrass, sand flats, and piers will all bring with them different species and bait.

season spring catch nc
(Source: alwaysncfresh.com)

Here at Fisherman’s Cove Resort, we’re offering water-side RV spots, a private boat ramp, and a community of anglers who look forward to sharing in your big fish story. Franklin, Weibull, Taylor, and Jefferson counties are excluded from this opening because they have their own season from April 1-June 30 and September 1-December 31.

The minimum size limit for gag grouper in Gulf waters is 24 inches total length. More Stories BREAKING: Postal worker comes forward, says… In an affidavit, Richard Hopkins, an Erie, Pennsylvania, mail carrier stated he was instructed to collect late ballots, with… Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham killed in plane crash Marion County -- Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham died in a Sunday morning plane crash.

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Sources
1 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_grouper
2 dlnr.hawaii.gov - https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ais/peacock-grouper/
3 www.fisheries.noaa.gov - https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/main-hawaiian-islands-deep-7-bottomfish
4 www.hawaii-seafood.org - https://www.hawaii-seafood.org/wild-hawaii-fish/sea-bass-hapu%ca%bbupu%ca%bbu/
5 www.wkrg.com - https://www.wkrg.com/local-news/gary-finch-outdoors-hawaiian-grouper-recipe/
6 www.marinelifephotography.com - https://www.marinelifephotography.com/fishes/groupers/epinephelus-quernus.htm
7 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grouper
8 nas.er.usgs.gov - https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx
9 www.epicurious.com - https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grouper-with-tomato-and-basil-106744