A Pandemic’s Effect on Fisheries – Personal Perspectives from SAFMC Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel Members

“We received notice on the morning of March 17 that Dare County was being closed to visitors and only year-round residents would be allowed across the bridges,” said Captain Andy Piland, a charter captain from Hatteras, North Carolina, and a member of the Council’s Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel. “Checkpoints were set up that same afternoon. I haven’t booked a fishing charter since that day. Pretty much everything just closed.”

Dare County, North Carolina, was one of the first to close to visitors to help protect residents on the Outer Banks from the spread of COVID-19, but the story is very familiar to those living along the coast as the number of cases began to climb. Coastal communities established check points, boating and fishing access points closed, and retail businesses shuttered as we began dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in what now feels like a lifetime ago.

The impacts of the coronavirus continue to be felt around the world. Closer to home, we reached out to members of the Council’s advisory panels to learn how COVID-19 affected their fishing-related businesses and activities. The Council has 11 advisory panels or APs, including several species-related panels (Dolphin Wahoo, Mackerel Cobia, Shrimp, Snapper Grouper, etc.) with members that are knowledgeable about or involved in fisheries managed by the Council. These AP members provide valuable insight, perspective and recommendations as part of the fishery management process.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: South Atlantic Fishery Management Council