NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule for Gulf of Mexico red grouper. This rule puts in place management measures from Amendment 53 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources in the Gulf of Mexico to revise the Gulf of Mexico red grouper sector annual catch limits and sector annual catch targets.
- Amendment 53:
- Modifies the allocation of Gulf of Mexico red grouper catch between the commercial and recreational sectors; and
- Specifies a new overfishing limit and acceptable biological catch.
Although the most recent red grouper population assessment did not show red grouper was undergoing overfishing (too many fish being caught) or being overfished (the populations is too low), the assessment did find the population was below a level that could support the optimal harvest.
Additionally, there is evidence the red grouper population was impacted by recent red tide events along the west Florida shelf.
When Rule Will Take Effect:
- The reductions in the annual catch limits and catch targets will be effective on June 1, 2022.
Summary of Changes from the Final Rule and Amendment 53:
- Revise the Gulf of Mexico red grouper allocation from 76% commercial and 24% recreational, to 59.3% commercial and 40.7% recreational.
- Revise the recreational annual catch target buffer from 8% to 9%.
- Revise the overfishing limit, acceptable biological catch, sector annual catch limits, and sector annual catch targets as indicated in Table 1 below.
* In MRIP-CHTS units
Formal Federal Register Name/Number: 87 FR 25573, published May 2, 2022.
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