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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 2013 Council Meeting Preview


Photo: Emily Muelstein
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet next week at the Crowne Plaza in Pensacola, Florida. The meeting is open to the public, but if you can’t make it you can listen in live from your computer.

The committee agenda and full Council agenda will help you figure out when the Council will be discussing the topics that you want to hear.

Public comment will be held Thursday, June 20th beginning at 1:00 pm. An informal question and answer session will be held Tuesday evening immediately after the Council adjourns (around 5:15).

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

Red Snapper
·      Stock Assessment Results - A benchmark red snapper stock assessment was recently completed. The Council’s the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) reviewed the assessment results and increased the acceptable biological catch for three years. The Council will review the assessment and, based on the SSC recommendations will set quotas for 2013 and beyond.

Photo: Capt. Murphy
·      Allocation - The Council will revisit the allocation scoping document that considers changing the division of the red snapper annual catch limit between the commercial and recreational fishing sectors. Currently, 49% of red snapper is allocated to the recreational sector and 51% to the commercial sector.

·      Regional Management – The Council will review a public hearing draft of Amendment 39, which considers dividing the federal red snapper quota among states/regions, giving them more flexibility in choosing seasons and bag limits. Regional management would not necessarily result in more fishing days.

·      Red Snapper Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program - The Council will discuss Amendment 36, which will address potential modifications to the Red Snapper IFQ Program based on the 5-year review recently accepted by the Council.

Artificial Reef Habitat Protection
The Council will discuss an options paper that considers designating petroleum platforms and artificial reefs as Essential Fish Habitat. This article “Rig Removal – Essential Fish Habitat” explains some of the motivations and challenges associated with the actions being considered by the Council.
Photo: Mark Miller

Data Collection
·      Private Recreational Red Snapper Data – The Council will review a scoping document that considers different options, suggested by the Council's advisory panel for Private Recreational Data Collection, for improving private recreational red snapper fisheries data. 

·      Headboat Reporting Requirements-           
    The Council will take final action on a framework action that considers changing how frequently headboats are required to report their catch. 

Mackerels and Cobia
The Council will review recommendations from its advisory panel for Coastal Migratory Pelagics on Amendments 19 and 20. Amendment 19 addresses the recreational sale of king and Spanish mackerel, elimination of inactive commercial king mackerel permits, and income requirements for commercial fishing permits. Amendment 20 addresses trip limits, seasons, transit provisions, and annual catch limits and annual catch targets for cobia.

Photo: Capt. Murphy
Shrimp
The Council will review recommendations made by its Shrimp advisory panel shrimp and discuss a framework action that considers how to fund the Electronic Logbook Program.

Panel and Committee Selection
The Council will review resumes and select new members for the Coral and SEDAR NGO Advisory Panels, as well as the SEDAR workshop pool, Special Coral, and Special Mackerel Scientific and Statistical Committees.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, there are plenty of other ways to share your input with us. This quick video explains public involvement in fisheries management:


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