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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 24 Reef Fish SSR 2014

Marine Fisheries

Speckled Hind / Reef Fish

Reef Fishes - 2014

Stock status – Concern – Of the 60 species in the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) management unit, several species are overfished. The overfished stocks include red porgy, red snapper, snowy grouper, speckled hind, red grouper, and Warsaw grouper. Several management actions have been developed by the SAFMC to reduce effort in the fishery to ensure that stocks in the fishery management complex are not experiencing overfishing.

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2004 2013 – 2,540,797 lbs./$5,188,436 (Including black sea bass and sheepshead)

2013 Commercial Landings and Value – 1,782,556 lbs./$4,410,200

Average Recreational Landings 2004-2013 – 1,549,561 lbs. 2013 – 943,216 lbs. (Including black sea bass and sheepshead)

Average Number of Award Citations (2004 2013/2013 only) – Amberjack (50 lbs.) (85/42), Grouper (20 lbs.) (99/106), Jack Crevalle (20 lbs.) (10/3), Porgy (4 lbs.) (23/31), and Triggerfish (7 lbs.) (40/103)

Status of Fishery Management Plan (FMP) In North Carolina, reef fishes are currently included in the Interjurisdictional FMP, which defers to South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Snapper Grouper FMP. Amendment 17 A and B were adopted in December 2011. These amendments established prohibition of harvest for red snapper, requirement of circle hooks off North Carolina, and annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) for nine species assessed as overfishing. This included a deepwater closure (240 ft. seaward) to protect Warsaw grouper and speckled hind. This deepwater closure was removed in May 2012 through Regulatory Amendment 11. The ACLs and AMs developed in Amendment 17 B to end overfishing for species in the snapper grouper fishery management unit are requirements of the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Amendments 18A (2012) and 18B (2013) established commercial endorsement programs for the black sea bass pot fishery and golden tilefish longline fishery, respectively, while Amendment 24 (2012) established a rebuilding plan for red grouper. Amendment 27 (2014) allowed for up to four crew members on vessels holding both charter and commercial vessel snapper grouper permits when fishing commercially, as well as retention of bag limit quantities of all snapper grouper species by captain and crew of for-hire vessels.

Research and Data Needs – Develop juvenile and adult indices, assess survival rates, conduct population assessment, expand age and growth studies, and determine migration patterns.

2013 Regulations – State and federal: greater amberjack 28 inches Fork Length (FL) (recreational) and 36 inches FL (commercial); black and gag groupers-24 inches Total Length (TL); red, scamp, yellowfin, and yellowmouth groupers 20 inches TL; red porgy-14 inches TL; vermilion, dog, gray, cubera, mahogany, queen, schoolmaster, silk, yellowtail, and blackfin snappers 12 inches TL; red snapper no possession (limited season); hogfish (not pigfish) 12 inches FL; and mutton snapper 16 inches TL. See the SAFMC or NCDMF websites for updated information.

Harvest Season – Open year round except: wreckfish have a spawning closure from January 15 April 15, shallow water grouper and red porgy have a January-April closure, greater amberjack have an April commercial closure (no sale), vermilion snapper have a recreational closure November 1-March 31. Quotas have been developed for several species and temporary closures may occur. See the SAFMC or NCDMF websites for more details.

Size and Age at Maturity – variable

Historical and Current Maximum Age – variable

Juvenile Abundance Index – none available

Habits and Habitats – Reef fish occur on hard or "live" bottom on the outer continental shelf.

For more information, contact Michelle Duval at Michelle.Duval@ncdenr.gov or 800-682-2632 or 252-726-7021.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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