A federal rule to the Fishery Management Plan for the snapper-grouper fishery has been published and will be effective October 23.
The new rules of Amendment 13C to the Fishery Management Plan will increase the recreational size limit of black sea bass from 10-inches total length to 11-inches total length and reduce the overall recreational bag limit to 15 fish, effective October 23. The new guidelines are for fish caught in federal waters. The approved regulatory actions are intended to reduce harvests and end over fishing of the snapper-grouper fishery.
When Amendment 13C becomes effective there will be a difference with the state regulation, in which the black sea bass recreational size limit is 10-inches total length and has a recreational bag limit of 20 per person per day.
According to S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Law Enforcement Officer Lt. Chisolm Frampton, “Until legislative action is proposed and changes can be made it will be responsibility of the recreational angler to know whether they are in state waters or federal waters and which size and possession limits apply. Law Enforcement Officers will be enforcing the new federal size and bag limits in federal waters and will continue to enforce the current state size and bag limits in state waters.”
For additional information, contact Jack McGovern with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration at (727) 824-5305, or John.McGovern@noaa.gov. Answers to frequently asked questions about Amendment 13C can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/grouper/FAQs%20092106.pdf.
Other changes to Amendment 13C affecting black sea bass include altering commercial and recreational fishing years from the regular calendar year to June 1 - May 31. During year two of the new rule, June 1, 2007 - May 31, 2008, the recreational size limit of black sea bass will change from 11-inches to 12-inches total length. The rule also establishes a recreational allocation that would decrease over three years.
Other species in the snapper-grouper complex affected by regulatory changes to Amendment 13C of the Fishery Management Plan include snowy grouper, golden tilefish, vermillion snapper and red porgy.
Federal recreational changes for these species include: