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Monday, July 31, 2017

August 2017 Council Meeting Preview

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meets next week at the Marriott Plaza in San Antonio. You’re welcome to join us in person or watch a live broadcast of the meeting.

Public testimony will be held on Wednesday, August 9 from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. local time. If you can’t come to submit comment in person, visit our “Amendments Under Development” page to comment on, and learn about, different issues being considered.

The meeting agenda and materials will help you prepare for the meeting and decide when to listen in. The following is a quick summary of topics the Council plans to address:

Greater Amberjack Framework Action
Photo: Paul Borowski
The most recent greater amberjack stock assessment (SEDAR 33) indicated that amberjack continues to be overfished and experiencing overfishing. The stock has been considered to be overfished and experiencing overfishing since 1998 despite numerous rebuilding plans that aimed to constrain harvest and allow the stock to rebound to a healthy level. As a result of the most recent assessment, the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee provided new Acceptable Biological Catch levels for 2018-2020. The Council plans to take final action on a Framework Action that considers modifying the rebuilding timeline, annual catch limits and targets, and recreational season for greater amberjack.



Reef Fish Management for Headboat Survey Vessels
The Council will discuss the criteria that participants must meet in order to vote in the referendum to determine if Amendment 42 will be accepted. Amendment 42 considers creating an allocation-based program to manage reef fish harvest on headboat survey vessels.


Allocation-Based Management for Federally Permitted Charter Vessels
The Council will review a revised draft of Reef Fish Amendment 41 which considers establishing an allocation based program to manage reef fish for federally permitted charter vessels. The Council plans to discuss the criteria that participants must meet to vote in the referendum to determine if the Amendment will be accepted.


Modifications to Federal For-Hire and Private Angler Red Snapper Annual Catch Targets
Photo: Dr. Carrie Simmons
The Council will review a draft framework action that considers changing the buffers between the red snapper annual catch limits and annual catch targets for federal for-hire and private angler components of the recreational sector. The annual catch targets were put in place in 2014 and the council would like to achieve more accurate and fair annual catch targets to ensure the greatest level of harvest without exceeding the component annual catch limits. 

State Management of Recreational Red Snapper
The Council will take a first look at draft documents that consider allowing Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to manage their harvest of recreational red snapper out to 200 nautical miles. 


Modifications to Commercial IFQ Programs
The Council will review a draft of Reef Fish Amendment 36B which considers modifying red snapper and grouper/tilefish IFQ program participation, distribution of shares from non-activated accounts, restrictions on share and allocation transfers, and allocation caps.


Status Determination Criteria and Optimum Yield for Reef Fish Stocks
The Council will hear a presentation and review an Options Paper on an amendment that aims to define and in some cases, modify existing biological reference points. In order to comply with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and National Standard 1 Guidelines, the Council must set maximum sustainable yield (MSY) proxies, minimum stock size thresholds (MSST), maximum fishing mortality thresholds (MFMT), and optimum yield levels for managed stocks.


Grouper/Tilefish Individual Fishing Quota Program Review
Staff with present the Council with an update on the 5-year review of the commercial Grouper/Tilefish Individual Fishing Quota Program which was implemented in 2010.

Review of For-Hire Permit Moratorium and Transfers

Staff will present the Council with a 10-year review of the for-hire permit moratorium. Additionally, the Council will hear information on the frequency and prevalence of For-Hire Reef Fish permit transfers.

As always, don't hesitate to contact us at gulfcouncil@gulfcouncil.org if you have any questions. 




Tuesday, May 30, 2017

June 2017 Council Meeting Preview


Public comment will be held on Wednesday, June 7 from 1:30 – 5:30 p.m. local time. If you can’t testify in person, visit our “Amendments UnderDevelopment” page to comment on, and learn about, the different issues being considered.

The meeting agenda and materials will help you prepare for the meeting and decide when to attend. The following is a quick summary of topics the Council plans to take final action on at this meeting:


Photo: NOAA
Vermillion Snapper Maximum Sustainable Yield Proxy and Annual Catch Limit – Reef Fish Amendment 47
The Council will review public comments and take final action on Amendment 47 which considers advice from the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee to update the vermillion snapper maximum sustainable yield and annual catch limit. None of the alternatives in the document are expected to alter vermilion snapper management measures, such as season length or bag limit.
Photo: Jim Green
Minimum Stock Size Threshold for Reef Fish – Reef Fish Amendment 44
The Council plans to take final action on Reef Fish Amendment 44 after reviewing comments received during public hearing. Minimum stock size threshold is used to determine whether or not a stock is considered to be overfished; if the biomass of the stock dips below the threshold then stock is considered to be overfished. This document considers standardizing the way minimum stock size threshold is set for gag, red grouper, red snapper, vermillion snapper, gray triggerfish, greater amberjack, and hogfish.





Photo: NOAA
Spiny Lobster Annual Catch Limits and Targets – Regulatory Amendment 4
The Spiny Lobster Review panel and the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee have recommended that a longer time series of landings be used to set status determination criteria and acceptable biological catch for spiny lobster. As a result, this amendment considers increasing the spiny lobster overfishing limit and annual catch limit and target. Regulatory Amendment 4 also considers prohibiting the use of traps from recreational harvest in the federal water of the South Atlantic.

Photo: Kathy Hoak
Modify the Number of Unrigged Hooks Carried Onboard Bottom Longline Vessels – Abbreviated Framework Action
The Council will review comments gathered on this abbreviated framework action before taking final action. Currently, bottom longline vessels are allowed to carry 1,000 hooks, of which no more than 750 can be fished or rigged to fish at any time. The Council is considering whether or not to modify the number of unrigged hooks allowed onboard bottom longline vessels.  All of the options presented in the document would still limit vessels to having no more than 750 hooks rigged for fishing at any one time.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us directly with any questions or comments:  gulfcouncil@gulfcouncil.org

Monday, March 27, 2017

April 2017 Council Meeting Preview


The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet next week at the Hyatt Regency in Birmingham,Alabama. You’re welcome to join us in person or watch a live broadcast of the meeting.

Public comment will be held on Wednesday, April 5 from 1:30 – 5:00 p.m. local time. If you can’t testify in person, visit our proposed amendments page to comment on, and learn about the different issues being considered. Comments received by Tuesday, March 28th will be summarized and presented directly to the Council as each issue is discussed during the meeting.

The meeting agenda and briefing materials will help you prepare. The following is a quick summary of the topics the Council plans to take final action on at this meeting:


Photo: Kathy Hoak
Modifications to Commercial IFQ Programs – Reef Fish Amendment 36A
The Council will review public comments and take final action on Reef Fish Amendment 36A which considers making modifications to the commercial IFQ program. After performing a 5-year review of the red snapper IFQ program, hearing advice from the Ad Hoc Red Snapper IFQ Advisory Panel, and taking the issue to scoping, the Council is considering modifying hail-in requirements for commercially permitted reef fish vessels; returning and redistributing inactivated IFQ shares; retaining allocation before a quota reduction; and dealer notification requirements before offloading IFQ species.



Photo: Troy Frady
Gray Triggerfish Rebuilding Plan – Reef Fish Amendment 46
The Council plans to take final action on Reef Fish Amendment 46 – Gray Triggerfish Rebuilding Plan after reviewing comments received during public hearings. A recent stock assessment indicated that the gray triggerfish stock continues to be overfished and the Council’s scientific advisors revised the acceptable biological catch levels. Along with determining new catch levels for the stock, the Council will consider changes to the recreational bag limits, size limits, and closed season; and commercial trip limit.



Photo: Ryan Rindone

Mutton Snapper ACL and Management Measures and Gag Commercial Size Limit – Framework
After reviewing public comments received, the Council will take final action on a Framework Action that considers modifying mutton snapper annual catch limit, minimum size limit, recreational bag limit, and commercial trip limit. While the mutton snapper stock is neither overfished nor, is it experiencing overfishing, the latest stock assessment indicated that the adult population of mutton snapper is smaller than previously estimated so, a reduction of harvest is necessary to ensure that overfishing does not occur in the future.  The Framework Action also considers increasing the commercial gag minimum size limit so that regulations are consistent with the adjoining South Atlantic regulations and the recreational sector.


Photo: LeAnn Bosarge
Shrimp Yield, Threshold Number of Permits, and Transit Provisions – Shrimp Amendment 17B
The Council will review comments gathered during public hearings and take final action on Shrimp Amendment 17B which considers setting harvest benchmarks, setting a target number of permits, creating a permit pool, and allowing transit through federal waters.



Photo: Walter Stone
Adjust Greater Amberjack ACL – Framework
The 2017 recreational quota was reduced due to a payback of last year’s quota overage. This reduced quota was expected to be met early so, the season was closed on March 24th. The Council is planning to review the results of the most recent greater amberjack stock assessment and hear input from their scientific advisors and the public, in consideration of finding a way to increase this year’s recreational quota.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 2017 Council Meeting Preview

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meets at the end of this month at the Astor Crowne Plaza in New Orleans, Louisiana. You’re welcome to join us in person or watch a live broadcast of the meeting.
Photo: Mark Miller
Public comment will be held on Wednesday, February 1 from 2:30 – 5:30 pm. If you can’t testify in person, visit our proposed amendments page to learn about the different issue we’re working on and submit your comments. Comments received by Tuesday, February 24 will be summarized and presented directly to the Council as each issue is discussed during the meeting.

The meeting agenda and briefing materials will help you prepare. The following is a quick summary of some of the topics the Council plans to address:
                               
Charter Vessel and Headboat Reporting
The Council is expected to take final action on a document that considers modifying the frequency and mechanism of data reporting; trip notification and reporting requirements; and hardware/software requirements and the potential for location tracking. The Council will review the document and hear a summary of comments before deciding how to move forward.
Photo: Allison Sparkman
Mackerel
The Council is scheduled to take final action on Coastal Migratory Pelagic Amendment 29 – Allocation Sharing and Accountability Measures for King Mackerel. This proposed amendment considers allocation sharing strategies and accountability measures that would allow the commercial sector to harvest uncaught recreational allocation. The Council will hear a summary of public comments received during public hearings before making final decisions on the proposed changes.


Click here to view the full document


Photo: iStock
Shrimp
The Council will review and public hearing draft of Shrimp Amendment 17B which considers setting harvest benchmarks, setting a target number of permits, creating a permit pool, and allowing transit through federal waters. The Council has scheduled a series of public hearings that will be held across the Gulf Coast in February.

Photo: Emily Muehlstein
Commercial Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program
The Council will review a public hearing draft of Reef Fish Amendment 36a which considers making modifications to the commercial IFQ program. After performing 5-year reviews of the red snapper and grouper/tilefish programs the Council is considering modifying hail-in requirements for commercially permitted reef fish vessels; returning and redistributing inactivated IFQ shares; retaining allocation before a quota reduction; and dealer notification requirements before offloading IFQ species. The Council plans to host a webinar public hearing and send a direct mailing to commercial reef fish holders to gather comments before taking action on this document.

Photo: John Garland
Triggerfish
The Council plans to review a public hearing draft of Reef Fish Amendment 46 – Gray Triggerfish Rebuilding Plan. A recent stock assessment indicated that the gray triggerfish stock continues to be overfished and the Council’s scientific advisors revised the acceptable biological catch levels. Along with determining new catch levels for the stock, the Council will consider changes to the recreational bag limits, size limits, and closed season; and commercial closed season and trip limit. The Council has scheduled a series of public hearings that will be held across the Gulf Coast in March.
Click here to submit comments


Photo: Alex Bender and Allison Sparkman



Mutton Snapper and Gag
The Council plans to review a Framework Action that considers modifying mutton snapper annual catch limit, minimum size limit, recreational bag limit, and commercial trip limit. The Framework Action also considers increasing the commercial gag minimum size limit.
Click here to view the full document





As always, don't hesitate to contact us directly with any questions or comments: www.gulfcouncil.org