SAVING THE SHALLOW WATER GAG GROUPER IN THE SOUTH ATLANTIC: AN INVESTIGATION OF FISHERY MANAGMENT
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With the continued depletion of the nation’s fish stocks, this paper investigates fisheries management through the case study of the gag grouper in the South Atlantic. In accordance with the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Management Act, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has the responsibility to design regulations to prevent the gag grouper stock from becoming overfished. The 2006 summer Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) analysis suggested the SAFMC wasn’t adhering to their responsibility, allowing the gag to become potentially overfished. Given the management challenges of a data poor environment, complicated species biology, and a multispecies complex, the gag grouper case illustrates the problems associated with fishery management. A list of potential management options was compiled from a literature review of fishery management practices focusing on case studies of successful multispecies fisheries in similar situations. An analysis of the fishery highlighted three themes necessary for the sustainability of the gag grouper stock: better information on the status of the stock, a reduction in fishing mortality and bycatch, and protection of the spawning aggregations. Based on the literature review, personal communications, and the logistics of the gag grouper fishery, recommendations were devised and presented to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. The reauthorization of the Magnuson Act in January 2007 will hopefully provide the necessary impetus for the SAFMC to take actions to save the shallow water gag grouper in the South Atlantic.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
SubjectGag grouper (Mycteroperca microlepis)
Magnuson-Steven Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA)
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council
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