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Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Rulemakings

The reef fish management plan is designed to rebuild declining reef fish stocks and support the sustainable use of reef fish resources.  

Species managed: Snappers, groupers, tilefishes, jacks, triggerfish, hogfish

 

If there is a rulemaking you would like to see on this page, please let anyone in the Policy Branch know.


Scott Sandorf
Scott.Sandorf@noaa.gov

Adam Bailey
Adam.Bailey@noaa.gov

To reach Sustainable Fisheries staff, please call:
(727) 824-5305.

Regulatory Action Effective Date Rulemakings

Framework Action to Modify the Number of Unrigged Hooks Carried Onboard Bottom Longline Vessels
This framework allows for an unlimited number of unrigged hooks onboard commercial reef fish vessels wiht a bottom lonline endorsement; however, no more than 750 hooks can be fished or rigged for fishing.

Proposed Rule
2/6/2018 Final Rule
Framework Action to Modify Greater Amberjack Allowable Harvest and Rebuilding Plan
This framework modified the allowable harvest and rebuilding plan for the Gulf of Mexico greater amberjack stock as a result of the most recent stock assessment and modified the recreational fixed closed season.
Proposed Rule
1/27/2018 Final Rule

Amendment 46: Gray Triggerfish Rebuilding Plan
This Amendment and final rule address a determination that the rebuilding of the Gulf gray triggerfish stock is not making adequate progress.  The amendment and rule established a 9-year rebuilding time period, retained the current gray triggerfish annual catch limits and annual catch targets for the recreational and commercial sectors, modified the recreational fixed closed season, reduced the recreational bag limit, increased the recreational size limit, and modified the commercial trip limit. 

Proposed Rule
1/16/2018 Final Rule
 

Amendment 44: Minimum Stock Size Threshold (MSST) for Reef Fish
A stock is considered overfished when the population size is considered too low.  If this occurs, a rebuilding plan is needed.  For managed stocks, overfished thresholds (also known as minimum stock size thresholds) are established so that if the population size falls below the threshold, then the population is considered overfished.  Amendment 44 revised the overfished threshold for seven stocks in the Gulf reef fish fishery management unit (gag, red grouper, red snapper, vermilion snapper, gray triggerfish, greater amberjack, and hogfish) that have existing overfished definitions.

Notice of Availability
12/28/17 Notice of Agency Decision
 

Amendment 43: Hogfish Stock Definition, Status Determination Criteria, Annual Catch Limits, and Size Limits
Revises the geographic range of the fishery management unit for Gulf hogfish (the West Florida stock) consistent with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s boundary between the Florida Keys/East Florida and West Florida stocks; sets the annual catch limit at  219,000 lb whole weight, for the 2017 and 2018 fishing years and at 159,300 lb whole weight, for 2019 on beyond (the Council decided to discontinue the designation of an annual catch target); increases the minimum size limit for the West Florida stock to 14 inches; and removes the powerhead exception for harvest of hogfish in the Gulf reef fish stressed area. This final rule also corrects a reference in the regulatory definition for charter vessel.

Proposed Rule
8/24/2017 Final Rule
 

Framework Action to Modify Gear Requirements and Fishing Year for Yellowtail Snapper
Revises the yellowtail snapper commercial and recreational fishing year and removes the requirement to use circle hooks for the commercial harvest of yellowtail snapper in the Gulf exclusive economic zone south of Cape Sable, Florida.

Proposed Rule
3/13/2017 Final Rule

Framework Action to Modifications to Gag Minimum Size Limits, Recreational Season, and Black Grouper Minimum Size Limits
Revises the recreational closed season for gag and the recreational minimum size limits for gag and black grouper in the Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone

Proposed Rule
5/25/2016 Final Rule
 
Framework Action to Modify Red Grouper Allowable Harvest Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 39 - Regional Management of Recreational Red Snapper Notice of Availability
 
 
Framework Action to Withhold a Portion of the Commercial Red Snapper Quota for 2016 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Framework Action to Modify Greater Amberjack Management Measures Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Framework Action to Modify the Quotas for Red Snapper in the Gulf of Mexico (2015-2017) Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Framework Action to Modify Recreational Red Grouper Management Measures in the Gulf of Mexico Proposed Rule
Final Rule

Reef Fish Amendment 28: Revise Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Catch Allocations
Reallocates the red snapper stock annual catch limit between the commercial and recreational sectors from 51:49 percent to 48.5:51.5 percent, respectively.

5/31/2016 Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 40 - Partitioning the Recreational Sector
Defines distinct private angling and federal for-hire components of the recreational sector who fish for red snapper, allocate red snapper resources between the components of the recreational sector, and provides a basis for increased flexibility in future management of the recreational sector.
Proposed Rule
5/22/2015 Final Rule
 
Framework Action to Add Recreational Accountability Measures for Red Snapper Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 

Reef Fish Amendment 45: Extension of the Red Snapper Recreational Sector Separation Sunset Provision
Extends the sunset provision that would end the distinct private angling and federal for-hire components of the red snapper recreational sector at the end of the 2017 fishing year put in place by Amendment 40, by five years. Additionally, this rule corrects an error in the Gulf of Mexico red snapper recreational accountability measures.

Notice of Availability
Proposed Rule
1/3/2016 Final Rule

FINAL RULE CHANGES TO THE RED SNAPPER AND GROUPER-TILEFISH INDIVIDUAL FISHING QUOTA (IFQ) PROGRAMS FAQ
The supplemental final rule to Reef Fish Amendment 26 and 29 contains administrative revisions to the commercial Gulf of Mexico red snapper and grouper-tilefish IFQ programs that improved enforcement, administration, and monitoring of the program. Changes included the landing notification process, offloading process, landing transaction process, and additional administrative changes.

9/26/2014 Supplemental Final Rule
Framework Action to Establish 2013 Red Snapper Quotas and Supplemental Recreational Red Snapper Season Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Framework Action Addressing Vermillion Snapper, Yellowtail Snapper, and Venting Tool Requirements Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Framework Action to Set the 2013 Red Snapper Commercial and Recreational Quotas and Modify the Recreational Bag Limit Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Framework Action to Set the 2013 Gag Recreational Fishing Season & Modify the February-March Shallow-Water Grouper Closed Season Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 38 - Modifiations to the Shallow-Water Grouper Accountability Measures Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 37 - Gray Triggerfish Rebuilding Plan Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
2012 Red Snapper Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
2011 Red Grouper Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 

Reef Fish Amendment 35 Modifications to the Greater Amberjack Rebuilding Plan and Adjustments to the Recreational and Commercial Management Measures

Establishes sector annual catch limits (ACLs) and sector annual catch targets (ACTs) for greater amberjack; revises the sector accountability measures (AMs) for greater amberjack; and establishes a commercial trip limit for greater amberjack. Additionally, Amendment 35 modifies the greater amberjack rebuilding plan.

Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 34: Commercial Reef Fish Permit Requirements and Crew Size on Dual-Permitted Vessels 
Removed the income qualification requirements for renewal of Gulf commercial reef fish permits and increased the maximum crew size to four for dual-permitted vessels (i.e. vessels that possess both a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish and a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish) that are fishing commercially.
Proposed Rule
11/19/2012 Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 32: GAG GROUPER– REBUILDING PLAN, ANNUAL CATCH LIMITS, MANAGEMENT MEASURES RED GROUPER – ANNUAL CATCH LIMITS, MANAGEMENT MEASURES GROUPER ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES
Adjusts the commercial gag quota and recreational annual catch target (ACT) for 2012 through 2015 and subsequent fishing years, consistent with the gag rebuilding plan established in Amendment 32; adjusts the shallow-water grouper (SWG) quota; adjusts the commercial and recreational sector annual catch limits (ACLs) for gag and red grouper; adjusts the commercial ACL for SWG; establishes a formula-based method for setting gag and red grouper multi-use allocation for the grouper/tilefish individual fishing quota program in the Gulf of Mexico; sets the recreational gag fishing season from July 1 through October 31; reduces the gag commercial size limit to 22 inches (59 cm) total length; and modifies the gag and red grouper accountability measures. In addition, Amendment 32 establishes gag commercial ACTs and a 10-year gag rebuilding plan
Proposed Rule 1
Proposed Rule 2
Proposed Rule 3
3/12/2012 Final Rule
Supplemental Final Rule
 

2011 Regulatory Framework Action for Greater Amberjack - Recreational Fishing Season Closure

Establishes a June through July seasonal closure of the recreational sector for greater amberjack in or from the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 

Regulatory Amendment to set 2011 total Allowable Catch for for Red Snapper

Increases the commercial and recreational quotas for red snapper for the 2011 fishing year and closes the recreational red snapper component of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef fish fishery at 12:01 a.m., local time, July 19, 2011.

Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 

Regulatory Amendment to set 2011 Total Allowable Catch for Red Grouper and Establish Marking Requirements for Buoy Gear

Reduces the commercial quota for red grouper and, thus, the combined commercial quota for shallow water grouper (SWG) species, and requires vessels with valid commercial Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef fish permits to mark their buoy gear with the official vessel number. This rule also implements minor revisions to codified text, including a revised definition of buoy gear, re-codification of the commercial and recreational quotas for greater amberjack, revision of the recreational accountability measure for greater amberjack, and removal of outdated language for the red snapper individual fishing quota (IFQ) program.

Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 

Reef Fish Amendment 31: TO THE FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR REEF FISH RESOURCES IN THE GULF OF MEXICO (Revised) ADDRESSES BYCATCH OF SEA TURTLES IN THE BOTTOM LONGLINE COMPONENT OF THE GULF OF MEXICO REEF FISH FISHERY
Implement restrictions applicable to the bottom longline component of the reef fish fishery in the exclusive economic zone of the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The restrictions include a bottom longline endorsement requirement, a seasonal closed area, and a limitation on the number of hooks that can be possessed and fished.

Proposed Rule
5/26/2010 Final Rule
 

2010 Regulatory Amendment for Red Snapper

Increases the commercial and recreational quotas for red snapper and closes the recreational red snapper component of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef fish fishery at 12:01 a.m., local time, July 24, 2010.

Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 

REEF FISH AMENDMENT 30B: GAG – END OVERFISHING AND SET MANAGEMENT THRESHOLDS AND TARGETS, RED GROUPER – SET OPTIMUM YIELD TAC AND MANAGEMENT MEASURES, TIME/AREA CLOSURES, AND FEDERAL REGULATORY COMPLIANCE

Establishes annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) for commercial and recreational gag, red grouper, and shallow-water grouper (SWG); establishes a commercial quota for gag; adjusts the commercial quotas for red grouper and SWG; removes the commercial closed season for SWG; establishes an incidental bycatch allowance trip limit for commercial gag and red grouper; reduces the commercial minimum size limit for red grouper; reduces the gag bag limit and the aggregate grouper bag limit; increases the red grouper bag limit; extends the closed season for recreational SWG; eliminates the end date for the Madison-Swanson and Steamboat Lumps marine reserves; and requires that federally permitted reef fish vessels comply with the more restrictive of Federal or state reef fish regulations when fishing in state waters. In addition, Amendment 30B establishes management targets and thresholds for gag consistent with the requirements of the Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA); sets the gag and red grouper total allowable catch (TAC); and establishes interim allocations for the commercial and recreational gag and red grouper fisheries.

Proposed Rule
Supplemental Proposed Rule
Final Rule
Supplemental Final Rule
 

Reef Fish Amendment 30A: GREATER AMBERJACK - REVISE REBUILDING PLAN, ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES GRAY TRIGGERFISH - ESTABLISH REBUILDING PLAN, END OVERFISHING, ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES, REGIONAL MANAGEMENT, MANAGEMENT THRESHOLDS AND BENCHMARKS
Establishes accountability measures for the commercial and recreational fisheries for greater amberjack and gray triggerfish, establishes commercial quotas for greater amberjack and gray triggerfish, establishes a recreational quota for greater amberjack and recreational catch limits for gray triggerfish, increases the commercial and recreational minimum size limit for gray triggerfish, increases the recreational minimum size limit for greater amberjack, and reduces the greater amberjack bag limit to zero for captain and crew of a vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat; establishes management targets and thresholds for gray triggerfish.

Proposed Rule
8/4/2008 Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 29 Proposed Rule
Supplemental Proposed Rule
Final Rule
Supplemental Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 27 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
February 2007 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Amendment 26 to Establish a Red Sanpper Individual Fishing Quota Program
( with Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement)
Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 25 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
2006 Recreational Grouper Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule 1
Final Rule 2
 
2005 Commercial Shallow-Water and Deep-Water Grouper Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 24 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 23 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 22 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 21 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Secretarial Amendment 2 n/a
 
Secretarial Amendment 1 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 20 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 19 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 18A Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
February 2000 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 17 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
August 1999 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 16B Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
December 1998 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 16A Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
January 1998 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 15 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
November 1997 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
March 1997 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 14 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 13 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 12 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 11 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 10 (Not Submitted) Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
December 1995 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 9 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 8 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
October 1994 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 7 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 6 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 5 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
October 1993 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
October 1992 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 4 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
November 1991 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 3 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
July 1991 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
March 1991 Regulatory Amendment Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 2 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Reef Fish Amendment 1 Proposed Rule
Final Rule
 
Original Fishery Management Plan Proposed Rule
Final Rule