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Shallow-Water Grouper, Red Snapper Fisheries Reopen in South Atlantic

14 November 2012

US - The commercial harvest of South Atlantic shallow-water groupers and red snapper in federal waters of the South Atlantic from North Carolina to Key West, Florida, will re-open from 12:01 a.m. (local time), 13 November until 12:01 a.m. (local time) 21 November, 2012.

Landings information provided by the Southeast Fisheries Science Center indicates the commercial annual catch limit for gag was not met; therefore, NOAA Fisheries is re-opening commercial harvest of shallow-water groupers. In addition, updated landings data indicate the commercial annual catch limit for red snapper has not been met; therefore, NOAA Fisheries is also re-opening commercial harvest of red snapper during the same time frame.

South Atlantic shallow-water groupers include gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney. A commercial and recreational seasonal closure is in place for shallow-water groupers during 1 January - 30 April.

The operator of a vessel that has been issued a federal commercial permit for snapper-grouper and that is landing shallow-water groupers or red snapper for sale must have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such species prior to 12:01 a.m. (local time) 21 November, 2012. The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to sale or purchase of shallow-water groupers or red snapper that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m. (local time) November 21, 2012, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.

Gag and Shallow-Water Grouper Commercial Size and Trip Limit:

During the re-opening, the commercial trip limit for gag is 1,000 pounds gutted weight. The minimum size limit for gag and black grouper is 24 inches total length. The minimum size limit for red grouper, scamp, yellowmouth grouper, and yellowfin grouper is 20 inches total length. There is no minimum size limit for red hind, rock hind, graysby, and coney.

Red Snapper Commercial Size and Trip Limit:

During the re-opening, the commercial trip limit for red snapper is 50 pounds gutted weight. There is no minimum size limit for red snapper during the commercial re-opening.

Recreational Sector for Red Snapper and Shallow-Water Groupers:

The recreational sector for red snapper in the South Atlantic will remain closed. The recreational sector for shallow-water groupers remains open through the end of the year, 31 December, 2012.

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