Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit (ACL) Amendment for the South Atlantic Region
Revisions to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) in 2006 require that NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service must establish ACLs for all fisheries determined to be undergoing overfishing by 2010. The Magnuson-Stevens Act mandates for all Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) determined by the Secretary of Commerce as subject to overfishing, ACLs must be established at a level that prevents overfishing and does not exceed the recommendations of the respective Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee or other established peer review processes. These FMPs are also required to establish, within this time frame, measures to ensure accountability. Accountability measures (AMs) are management controls that ensure that the ACLs are not exceeded. Examples include corrective measures if overages occur and implementation of an in-season monitoring program.
By 2011, FMPs for all other fisheries, except fisheries for species with annual life cycles, must meet these requirements. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has met the requirements outlined above for ten species undergoing overfishing through Amendments 17A and 17B to the Snapper Grouper FMP. The requirements for the remaining species that are not undergoing overfishing will be met through the Comprehensive ACL Amendment. This amendment addresses species in the FMPs for Snapper-Grouper, Dolphin and Wahoo, Golden crab, and Sargassum.