Letter to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Regarding the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan

We are concerned that the Council may be moving quickly to make significant changes to the area closure for eight deepwater species contained in Amendment 17B via Regulatory Amendment 11, with little opportunity for scientific review or public input. Both Warsaw grouper and speckled hind are at ten percent or less of a healthy population level and are considered critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The area closure was the only tool chosen by the Council to reduce bycatch mortality for these two species, which contributes significantly to their overfishing.