Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sector Allocation - Amendment 28 Q&A

What is Sector Allocation?
Photo: Doug Gregory
Sector allocation considers setting allocations for gag, red grouper, black grouper, and red snapper. While allocation has traditionally been set between commercial and recreational sectors, this document considers sub-dividing the recreational allocation into private, for-hire, and possibly headboat sectors.

How far along is the Council in making decisions?
The Council began its initial analysis of the issues and was presented with a scoping document during the August 2012 Council meeting. After reviewing over 4000 comments, the Council decided to table discussions until after the red snapper benchmark stock assessment is complete. The assessment was completed in the summer of 2013.

What is allocation?
Allocation is the division of the Annual Catch Limit between fishing sectors. The Annual Catch Limit is the amount of fish that can be harvested from a fish stock each year. The current allocations are:

Red Grouper
Black Grouper
Red Snapper
Photo: Mike Miglini

What is sector separation?
Sector separation is the splitting of the recreational fishing sector into two or three sub-sectors; private, charter for-hire, and possibly headboat. If the recreational sector is split into sub-sectors, then the recreational Annual Catch Limit would be divided among the sub-sectors. Each sub-sector could then pursue different management schemes to constrain its Annual Catch Limit by using fishing regulations tailored specifically for that fishing sector.

Why is the Council considering allocation?
The Council’s allocation policy requires a review of allocations at intervals of no less than five years. None of the species allocations being considered in this amendment have ever been formally reviewed. In 2006, the Council set interim allocations for gag and red grouper, and the black grouper allocation was set for the first time in 2011. Red snapper allocation was set in 1990.

Why is the Council considering sector separation?
For a number of years a group of charter for-hire fishermen have been asking the Council to manage them differently than private recreational fishermen. These captains assert that their businesses are not viable under the current recreational management scheme.

How will the Council decide on allocations?
The Council developed a fishery allocation policy to help guide the allocation process.  Allocation decisions  are made using a combination of  historical landings data, and economic and social analysis of different allocation scenarios. You can read the Council’s allocation policy here.