Thursday, April 11, 2013

April 2013 Council Meeting Preview

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet next week in Gulfport, Mississippi. During the meeting the Council will discuss and make decisions about a range of different fisheries issues that you might be interested in.

Photo: Mark Miller
The meeting is open to the public and we invite you to join us at the Courtyard Marriott, or you can listen in live from your computer. Check out the committee agenda and the full Council agenda to figure out when the Council will be discussing the topics that you want to hear about.

Public comment will be held Wednesday, April 17th beginning at 1:45 pm. An informal question and answer session for the public will be held Tuesday evening immediately after the Council adjourns (around 5:30).

The following is a brief description of some of the things the Council plans to address next week:

Regional Management for Recreational Red Snapper
Photo: Robert Navarro
Red snapper is managed as a single unit in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Since red snapper is subject to a Gulf-wide quota, states with inconsistent regulations impact federal management. Recently, states have begun to express a desire to make red snapper regulations that are more suitable to local needs.

The Council has been considering ways to manage the recreational red snapper quota in separate regions in the Gulf. Scoping workshops to gather public input have already been held electronically, and in cities around the Gulf. At this meeting the Council will review an options paper that was drafted using public comment, and make recommendations on how to move forward with the issue.

For-Hire Days-at-Sea Pilot Program
The Council is considering initiating a pilot program that would allow a sample of for-hire fishermen to fish a specified number of days or trips throughout the year instead of using the recreational season. The pilot would be evaluated and the Council could make an informed decision about whether a days-at-sea program should be implemented for the entire charter fleet.

The Council collected public input at scoping workshops that were held in different cities over the past few weeks. A video tutorial, quick guide, and online comment form are also available for at-home use.

It’s not too late to share your thoughts! Council will review public opinion next week and decide how to move forward.

Photo: Emily Muehlstein
Headboat Electronic Reporting for Reef Fish and Coastal Migratory Pelagics
The Council is considering alternatives that could change the frequency and method of fishery data reporting by headboat vessel operators. Improving data, especially in the recreational sector, could reduce the chance of exceeding Annual Catch Limits and triggering accountability measures. The Council will review a proposed framework action and decide how to move forward with the idea.

Funding for Electronic Logbooks for the Shrimp Industry
The Council plans to review a framework action that considers how to fund a program to install and maintain electronic logbooks on all federally permitted shrimping vessels.

Spanish Mackerel and Cobia Stock Assessments
The Council will review results and Scientific and Statistical Committee recommendations from recent benchmark stock assessments for cobia and Spanish mackerel.

Photo: Mark Miller
Red Drum
The Council will review the history of red drum management, consider current research, and begin to discuss the possibilities and obstacles to opening harvest of red drum in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Advisory Panels
The Council will review recommendations made by the Ad Hoc Private Recreational Data Collection Advisory Panel and the Ad Hoc Artificial Substrate Advisory Panel Meetings.

The Council will also review the resumes submitted by the public and select new members for the Advisory Panels and Scientific and Statistical Committees.

As always, if you have any questions please contact us.