Friday, October 26, 2012

October 2012 Council Meeting Preview


We’re gearing up for another Council meeting that’s taking place next week (October 29 – November 1) at the Marriott Courtyard in Gulfport, Mississippi.

If you’re interested in what we plan to discuss you can find the schedule here, and all the briefing materials can be found here.

As always, Dr. Roy Crabtree, the Regional Administrator of NOAA Fisheries will host an informal question and answer session on Tuesday after the meeting concludes.

We’ll be hosting  a public comment session starting at 1:45 on Wednesday afternoon.

Below is a quick list of issues that we plan to address next week. If you have any questions or want any more information don’t hesitate to contact us.

Photo: Mark Miller
Gag and Shallow-Water Grouper
Last week we traveled the coast gathering input from anglers about a framework action that may change grouper fishing seasons and bag limits. Next week the Council will decide what the 2013 gag bag limit and season will be, and figure out whether or not it’s appropriate to change or eliminate the February – March shallow-water grouper closure.

Gray Triggerfish
After reviewing the input we gathered during public hearings the Council will take final action on Amendment 37. The amendment is being developed to end overfishing  of gray triggerfish and rebuild the overfished stock to a healthy size by the 2017 deadline. The amendment considers:
  •       Changing the current rebuilding plan
  •       Establishing a commercial closed season
  •       Establishing a commercial trip limit
  •       Establishing a recreational closed season
  •       Establishing a triggerfish–specific recreational bag limit
  •       Allowing NOAA Fisheries to close the recreational fishery if the Annual Catch Target is reached 

Photo: Mark Miller
For-Hire Reporting Requirements
The Council will review a scoping document that looks into the possibility of changing the method and frequency of fishery data reporting by federally permitted charter and headboat vessels.

Vermilion Snapper
The Council will look at a draft of a document that considers increasing the vermilion snapper harvest limits and changing the recreational bag limit for vermilion snapper.  The current Annual Catch Limit for vermilion snapper is set at 3,420,000 pounds. A stock assessment that was completed in 2011 suggested that the vermilion snapper harvest could increase because the stock was not overfished or experiencing overfishing.  The Council’s scientific advisors  (the Scientific and Statistical Committee) have increased the Acceptable Biological Catch for the next few years:
So, the Council is considering increasing the Annual Catch Limits so that they correspond with the newly increased Acceptable Biological Catch.

Regional Management of Red Snapper
The Council will also go over a scoping document that begins to analyze the possibility of managing red snapper regionally.  They will look at defining regions, allocating among those regions, administration of the regional management system, and possible accountability measures to help mitigate and control overages to each separate regions allocation                      

Photo: Jason Whitaker
Other Red Snapper Stuff
The Council will review the preliminary draft of the 5-year review of the Individual Fishing Quota proram. The document contains analysis of the social, economic, and biological impacts that the program has had on the fishery, and recommendations for changes to the programs that have been made by a variety of different advisory groups.

Council will review a paper that evaluates the economic efficiency of this years red snapper allocation.

Council will hear a presentation about non-compliance of the states and the 2013 red snapper season.