Commercial closure for snowy grouper announced
Published 10:59 pm Friday, December 18, 2020
NOAA Fisheries has announced the closure of the commercial harvest of snowy grouper in federal waters of the south Atlantic at 12:01 a.m., local time, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020.
During the commercial closure, all sale or purchase of snowy grouper is prohibited, and harvest or possession of snowy grouper in or from federal waters is limited to the recreational bag and possession limits while the recreational sector is open.
NOAA explains in FB-20-074 that the 2020 July through December commercial catch limit is 46,181 pounds gutted weight. The unused portion of the catch limit from the January through June season was added to the catch limit for the July through December season, and the increased catch limit is used to project the closure.
Commercial landings are projected to reach the increased July through December commercial catch limit. According to the accountability measure, commercial harvest must close to prevent the catch limit from being exceeded.
The closure applies in both state and federal waters for vessels that have a federal commercial permit for south Atlantic snapper-grouper.
The prohibition on sale or purchase during a closure for snowy grouper does not apply to fish that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, on Dec. 12, 2020, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.
The 2021 January through June commercial fishing season for snowy grouper in the south Atlantic will open on Jan. 1, 2021, with a catch limit of 107,754 pounds gutted weight.