Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August 2013 Council Meeting Preview

Photo: Florida Sea Grant

It’s that time again. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is gearing up for a meeting next week in San Antonio, Texas. The meeting is open to the public, but if you can’t make it you can listen in livefrom your computer.  

The committee agenda and full Council agenda will give you an idea of when the Council will be discussing the topics that you’re interested in.

Public comment will be held Wednesday, August 28th from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. An informal question and answer session will be held Tuesday evening immediately after the Council adjourns (around 5:30).

Read on for a brief description of some of the issues the Council plans to address next week:

2013 Recreational Red Snapper Fall Season
Photo: Judy Braxton
In June the Council approved an increase in the red snapper quota from 8,460,000 pounds to 11,000,000 pounds for 2013. Because of this increase, the Council elected to open a fall recreational fishing season on October 1, which will remain open until the recreational quota is harvested. Next week,NOAA Fisheries will give the Council an update on how much of the 11,000,000-pound quota has been harvested so far this year, and announce how many days the fall season will be open.

Recreational Red Snapper Regional Management – Reef Fish Amendment 39
Amendment 39 considers dividing the federal red snapper quota among different regions to give them more flexibility to choose fishing regulations that best suit local needs. Next week, the Council will review comments received during public hearings and continue its discussions on the amendment. If you’re interested in learning more about regional management you can read this guide or watch this video. Also, feel free to check out the written comments that we’ve received so far.

Red Snapper Allocation – Reef Fish Amendment 28
Currently, 49% of red snapper is allocated to the recreational sector and 51% to the commercial sector.  Next week, the Council will review an options paper for Amendment 28, which considers changing the allocation of the red snapper annual catch limit between the commercial and recreational fishing sectors.

Inter-Sector Trading
The Council will review a scoping document that begins to consider the benefits and challenges associated with allowing commercial and recreational fishing sectors to trade and harvest red snapper from Individual Fishing Quota shares and annual allocation. 

Advisory Panel Selection
The Council will meet in a closed-session to review resumes and appoint members to a newly formed Ad Hoc Red Snapper Individual Fishing Quota Advisory Panel. The panel will propose management measures to improve the performance of the red snapper IFQ program.

Coastal Migratory Pelagics Amendments 19 & 20
Amendment 19 addresses the recreational sale of king and Spanish mackerel, elimination of inactive commercial king mackerel permits and income requirements. Amendment 20 addresses trip limits, season, transit, and annual catch limits for cobia. The Gulf and South Atlantic Fishery Management Council manage Coastal Migratory Pelagics jointly. At this meeting, the Gulf Council will review all the comments received during public hearings and discuss the amendment. The South Atlantic Council is scheduled to review the document and public comments during its meeting in September, and the Gulf Council will take final action during its October meeting. To learn more about these amendments follow this link to videos, amendment guides, and to read the public comments we’ve received.

Seafood Dealer Reporting
The Council plans to take final action on an amendment that considers making changes to seafood dealer permits and the reporting requirements for purchasing species managed by the Gulf and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils. If you’re interested there is a guide and video explaining the amendment, and you can read the public comments that have beensubmitted.

As always, if you have any questions please contact us