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NOAA Fisheries issues ruling regarding rigged and ready for use descending devices


The Center for Sportfishing Policy is encouraging all anglers to start using the descending device today to ensure better days of fishing for the future.


NOAA Fisheries recently issued the final ruling regarding the requirement of rigged and ready for use descending devices on board all recreational boats that are fishing for or possess snapper-grouper species in South Atlantic federal waters. The rule will take effect on July 15, 2020 and applies to all commercial, for-hire and private recreational vessels.


This device will ensure that deep water fish that are brought up to the surface quickly and suffer from barotrauma (a buildup of gas pressure that makes swimming back down difficult) can be safely released. When a descending device is not used, fish that are below the size limit, out of season or fall under the angler’s bag limit restrictions often do not survive release and end up dead discard or wasted fish. 


A weighted hook, clamp or box that holds the fish, a descending device allows the angler to lower the fish back to a depth where the water pressure returns the internal gas to equilibrium increasing the probability of survival. For a how-to video, click here.


Nicole Vasilaros, Senior Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs for the National Marine Manufacturing Association notes, “Ensuring healthy and robust fish stocks has and always will be a top priority of the recreational boating and fishing community and we look forward to working with NOAA Fisheries to implement this Critical conservation measure.”