Following the implementation of Amendment 10 to the Atlantic Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery Management Plan in May 2022, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) issued Regulatory Amendment 3 to the same Plan.
Amendment 3, offered precautionary options following a strong and continuous outcry from the recreational fishing industry that Mahi abundance was continuing to decline. The two options were to expand the 18” minimum size limit beyond South Carolina north through Maine and to implement more restrictive bag and vessel limits through that same range.
Instead of advancing the precautionary options, the Council decided, that due to staff shortages, it did not have time to advance the options. Following a presentation by the Southeast Fishery Science Center (SEFSC) on the possible development of a Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) for Mahi, the Council agreed to advance that option and would not deal with the precautionary measures before its December 2022 meeting. A MSE is a computer simulation used to gauge the likely success of management strategies to meet their objectives in light of uncertainties in the fishery and natural variabilities with species, ecosystem and climate.