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Shallow-Water Grouper Fishing Closing in the South Atlantic

US - The commercial harvest of shallow-water grouper in federal waters of the South Atlantic from North Carolina to Key West, Florida, will be closed, effective 12:01 a.m. (local time), 20 October, 2012, through the remainder of the 2012 fishing year.

A seasonal closure is in place for shallow-water grouper from 1 January until 1 May. Therefore, commercial harvest of shallow-water grouper will not reopen until 1 May, 2013.

The commercial annual catch limit for gag is 352,940 pounds. When the commercial annual catch limit for gag is met, NOAA Fisheries is required to close commercial harvest of all shallow-water grouper in the South Atlantic waters. Species included in the shallow-water grouper complex are gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney.

The operator of a vessel that has been issued a federal commercial permit for snapper-grouper and that is landing shallow-water grouper for sale must have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such shallow-water grouper prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, 20 October, 2012. The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to sale or purchase of shallow-water grouper that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, October 20, 2012, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.

Lucy Towers

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