Last Update: December 2016
Snapper and grouper are important fisheries resources with great commercial value not only for export to major international markets, but also for the livelihoods and food security of many local, small-scale communities worldwide. The life history characteristics of these species (e.g., slow-growing, late-maturing, seasonal-spawning aggregations) make them particularly susceptible to overexploitation. However, the status of many snapper and grouper stocks is unknown, particularly in the multispecies, small-scale fisheries in developing countries where the reporting system is absent or insufficient. The main risk to the snapper and grouper seafood sector is from overexploitation and lack of effective management.
Snapper and grouper species are targeted by commercial, recreational, and artisanal (subsistence/traditional) fisheries, using a wide variety of gears. In most cases, they are targeted in multispecies fisheries. Many countries in North, Central, and South America operate sizable snapper and grouper fisheries, and the United States is the main export market for the majority of these products.
The Americas Snapper and Grouper Supply Chain Roundtable focuses on monitoring sustainability status and issues of snapper and grouper stocks in North, Central, and South America and pushing for improvements where they are needed. SFP’s approach with this project is to convene suppliers and buyers to help them identify synergies among companies and find common ground where they can work together to catalyze, monitor, and advance snapper and grouper improvement efforts.
Fisheries and/or FIPs Covered:
This roundtable focuses on snapper and grouper fisheries in North, Central, and South America, as well as the associated non-snapper and grouper species harvested in those fisheries. The primary focus of the SR at this time is Mexico, due to the importance of Mexican product in the US market. The following FIPs are supported and monitored:
For more details on the sustainability status of some of the fisheries currently of interest to the SR, progress of the FIPs, and improvement recommendations, please click here.
Improvement Needs and Recommendations:
1. The Mexican grouper fishery management plan has not yet been fully implemented and better data collection systems are needed to enable assessment of stock status for other commercially important species.
2. Enforcement of current grouper regulations in Mexico is inadequate and substantial harvest of undersized and immature grouper continues to occur.
3. A fishery management plan for the multispecies snapper fishery in Mexico is needed, as is a FIP for red snapper in Mexico.
Action Recommendations for SR Participants:
1. Work with CONAPESCA to encourage them to implement and enforce regulations in accordance with the 2014 multispecies grouper fishery management plan, conduct stock assessments for black grouper and red snapper, and develop a fishery management plan for the multispecies snapper fishery.
2. Develop a plan to use supply chain leverage to encourage fisher compliance with minimum size limits in the Mexican grouper fishery.
3. Launch a Mexican snapper FIP.
4. Evaluate improvement opportunities for Brazilian grouper, Nicaraguan snapper, and Panamanian snapper.
SFP’s general objectives for this roundtable are to provide a platform for the seafood supply chain to catalyze snapper and grouper fishery improvement projects (FIPs) throughout the Americas, learn from each other’s experience and develop best practices, and cooperate to apply leverage to drive further improvements. Our specific objectives are:
- Monitor snapper and grouper FIPs throughout the Americas and, if any are lacking in progress, encourage FIP leaders to undertake and publicly report action.
- Develop ongoing communication with CONAPESCA to encourage them to conduct stock assessments for the multispecies snapper and grouper fisheries, develop a fishery management plan for the multispecies snapper fishery, and implement and enforce regulations in accordance with the 2014 multispecies grouper fishery management plan.
- Explore methods by which the supply chain can encourage fisher compliance with current regulations.
- Identify a candidate to implement a Mexico red snapper FIP.
- Identify priority fisheries for SR action elsewhere in the Americas.
- Roundtable initiated during Seafood Expo North America in March (see Meeting Notes; Presentation)
- SFP presented a webinar for Supply Chain Roundtable participants in August (Presentation).
- The SR met via conference call in April to review FIP progress, the new Mexican Grouper Fishery Management Plan (FMP), and US and Mexican snapper and grouper improvement needs. Participants of this SR agreed to conduct outreach to NOAA (US) and CONAPESCA (Mexico) (for more details, see Meeting Notes).
- The SR met via conference call in November to approve outreach to the US and Mexican fishery management authorities and discuss methods by which they could encourage fishery compliance with minimum size limits in the Mexican red grouper fishery. The SR sent a letter to NOAA requesting an update on the Gulf of Mexico reef fish observer program statistical evaluation that was announced in the First Edition Update 1 to the National Bycatch Report (2013) (Meeting Notes).
- The SR met in February in Miami, FL, (Meeting Report) and again in March 2016 in Boston, MA (Meeting Report). During these meetings and via subsequent email communications, SR participants reviewed progress in current FIPs covered by the SR; identified Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica as primary focus areas for future fishery improvement work; began to develop a strategy for encouraging improvements in the Mexican grouper fishery; and approved this Statement of Work for 2016.
- In April, SFP initiated confidential discussions with the supply chain regarding a potential Mexican snapper FIP.
- In July, the US Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish FIP was suspended and removed from the list of fisheries monitored by this SR. The FIP was suspended because participants were satisfied with the improvements that had occurred but were not interested in pursuing MSC certification due to market conditions. More information is available on the archive FIP report at US Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish FIP. Some SR participants are still interested in further improvements in this fishery and are examining options for action.
- In November, the SR met via conference call to review a draft Memorandum of Understanding that SR participants could use with their vendors to ensure purchases of grouper fillet from Mexico are from fish greater than the minimum landing size; to discuss a proposal for a bio-economic model for the Mexican grouper fishery; and to evaluate improvement opportunities for Nicaragua snapper (see the Meeting Report).
Project Contact: If you would like more information about the Roundtable or wish to support it, please contact SFP.