Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 2013 Council Meeting Preview

Photo: Mark Miller

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet next week in New Orleans, Louisiana to work on some fishery issues that may interest you. You are welcome to attend the meeting in person or you can listen from your computer.

The committee agenda and full Council agenda will help you figure out when the Council plans to discuss the topics that you’re interested in.

Join us for public comment, which will be held on Wednesday, October 30th from 1:30 – 4:30 pm. We also invite you to an informal question and answer session that will be held on Tuesday night immediately after Council adjourns for the day.

Read on for a brief description of some of the issues that Council will discuss next week:

Coastal Migratory Pelagics
Photo: Emily Muehlsten
The Council plans to take final action on two amendments that have been developed jointly with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Amendment 20A (formerly Amendment 19) addresses the recreational sale of mackerel, elimination of inactive commercial king mackerel permits, and income requirements. Amendment 20B (formerly Amendment 20) addresses commercial trip limits, seasons, transit, and the annual catch limit for cobia. To learn more about these amendments visit this link for videos, amendment guides, and public comments.

Definition of For-Hire Fishing
The Council will review a draft framework action that considers clearly defining for-hire (charter/headboat) fishing trips. This framework aims to enhance enforcement of permit requirements by eliminating the ability of private vessels to exchange fees, goods, or service in exchange for for-hire fishing activities.  

Photo: Scott Hickman
Recreational Red Snapper Regional Management
The Council expects to take final action on Amendment 39, which considers dividing the federal recreational red snapper quota among different regions in the Gulf. This will give each region more flexibility to choose fishing regulations that best suit local needs. If you’re interested in learning more about regional management you can read this guide or watch this video.

Sector Separation
After tabling discussions a year ago, the Council will resume consideration of sub-dividing the recreational allocations into private, for-hire, and possibly headboat sectors. For more information on allocation and sector separation read this Gulf Currents Blog.

For-Hire Permit Conditions
Photo: Emily Muehlstein
Vessels with federal for-hire reef fish permits must comply with the more restrictive of state or federal reef fish regulations when fishing in state waters. The Council is considering revising this requirement to allow federally permitted for-hire vessels to fish during state seasons when state regulations are inconsistent with federal regulations.

As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us