Letter to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Regarding Amendment 16 to the South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Fishery Management Plan

The shallow water grouper spawning season closure seeks to end more than 30 years of chronic overfishing of gag grouper by setting the catch level at gag's scientifically determined optimum yield. By definition, this produces the greatest economic benefit and will require a 36% reduction in gag grouper catch.  The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council considered measures other than seasonal closures, but voted to implement the January through April shallow water grouper closure in order to protect the gag's spawning events, based on the advice of their science advisors.