Red snapper fishing will remain closed in South Atlantic Federal waters in 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced. There will not be commercial or recreational seasons in 2015 because the total number of red snapper removed from the population in 2014 exceeded the allowable level.
In 2013, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council developed, and NOAA Fisheries implemented, a standardized process that specifies harvest may only occur in a given year if total removals (landings plus dead discards) in the previous year were less than the number allowed for population rebuilding. The total removals allowable for 2014 were 106,000 fish. After evaluating landings and discard information for 2014, NOAA Fisheries has determined the estimates of total removals were 205,859 fish; therefore, the fishery remains closed in 2015.
The process will be repeated in 2016 to determine if there will be a season in South Atlantic Federal waters in 2016. The next assessment of the South Atlantic red snapper population is scheduled to be completed in 2016 and allowable harvest may change as a result of the population assessment.
For additional sources of information, including Frequently Asked Questions, details of the standardized process, and the report of 2014 estimates of red snapper total removals in the South Atlantic Region, visit: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/sg/2015/red_snapper/index.html