A series of Florida Keys and online sessions on potential changes in federal fishery management of yellowtail snapper and red snapper begin this week.
For yellowtail snapper, state and federal managers may combine the current harvest allocations, now separated into recreational and commercial quotas, into one overall annual harvest limit.
“In 2015, commercial landings met the sector annual catch limit of 1,596,510 pounds whole weight for yellowtail snapper in the South Atlantic and commercial harvest was closed on Oct. 31 for the remainder of the calendar year,” a South Atlantic Fishery Management Council summary says. “In the same year, the recreational sector did not harvest 45 percent of the recreational sector [limit], resulting in approximately 550,000 whole-weight pounds of the total [harvest] for yellowtail snapper in the South Atlantic going unharvested.”
“The top five communities with the highest levels of commercial landings of yellowtail snapper include the Florida communities of Key West, Miami, Marathon, Fort Lauderdale and Key Largo,” a report says. “These areas could be most affected by changes for yellowtail snapper commercial harvest, particularly in Keys communities in which commercial fishing is an important social and economic component.”
Other proposed amendments will consider ways to reduce bycatch and discards of red snapper, improve reporting information for the recreational sector, and look at other options for snapper and grouper species.
Starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council holds a one-hour online webinar that reviews the overall “blueprint” for the snapper-and-grouper fishery. For registration, go to www.safmc.net.
From 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 17, an online question-and-answer session on proposed yellowtail regulations will take place via www.safmc.net. Participants can comment on the plan; registration is required. Open workshops and comment meetings in the Florida Keys on yellowtail snapper issues will be held:
▪ 6 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Harvey Government Center on Truman Avenue in Key West. Online access also will be provided.
▪ 6 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Hyatt Place Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club around mile marker 47.5 in Marathon. Online access will be provided.
▪ 6 p.m. Jan 26 at the Hilton Key Largo, mile marker 97. In-person only.
Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206