For Immediate Release
June 27, 2022
The most recent greater amberjack stock assessment (SEDAR 70 2020) determined that greater amberjack is not making adequate rebuilding progress and is still both overfished and experiencing overfishing. Additionally, new recreational catch estimates generated using the Marine Recreational Information Program’s Fishing Effort Survey indicated that historical recreational landings are greater than previously estimated. The Council is obligated to end overfishing and revise the rebuilding plan for greater amberjack. It is currently developing an amendment that considers modifying greater amberjack catch levels and allocations. The amendment is expected to be completed in fall of 2022 with implementation anticipated in 2023.
The Council is concerned that the recreational sector could overharvest the recreational greater amberjack annual catch target in the fall 2022 season. This could result in a total closure for the 2023/2024 recreational fishing year. Thus, the Council requested that NOAA Fisheries implement an Emergency Rule to modify to the 2022/2023 recreational fishing season to reduce the chances of recreational overharvest this year and subsequent paybacks in the 2023/2024 recreational fishing season. The Council requested that the greater amberjack recreational season be modified so that it is open in September and October of 2022. If the Secretary of Commerce approves this request, the recreational sector will not open for greater amberjack harvest in August 2022.
What is an Emergency Rule?
An emergency rule can only be used to respond to unforeseen or recently discovered circumstances where substantial harm to or disruption of the resource, fishery, or community would be caused in the time it would take to follow standard rulemaking procedures. Emergency rules are implemented for 180 days with a possible extension of 186 days (366 days total).