Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June 2015 Council Meeting Preview

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meets at the Marriot Beachside in Key West, Florida next week to discuss a number of fisheries issues.

You can watch a broadcast of the meeting live. Check out the committee and full Council agenda and briefing materials to figure out when the Council will be discussing the items that interest you. Public comment is scheduled from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 10.

Photo: Tarpaw
On Thursday, the Gulf Council will meet jointly with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort inKey West, Florida to address fisheries issues that effect both Councils. Consult this agenda for the joint meeting schedule and briefing materials.

Here is a quick description of some of the things that will be addressed at next weeks meeting:

·      The Council plans to take final action of on the King Mackerel Gillnet Framework Action that considers changing the trip limit, accountability measures, reporting requirements, and inactive permits for the king mackerel gillnet fishery. Watch this quick video and send us your comments so Council can consider your input before making its final decision.

·      The Council will hear a summary of the input received during scoping on Amendment 26: Modifications to Allocations, Stock Boundaries, and Sale provisions of King Mackerel and Amendment 28: Separating Permits for Gulf and Atlantic Migratory Groups of King Mackerel.

Photo: Mary Othello Jackson
Red Snapper
·      The Council will review an updated draft of Amendment 28: Red Snapper Allocation – that considers reallocating a portion of the commercial red snapper quota to the recreational sector. The Council will also review a framework action to withhold a portion of the commercial red snapper quota in 2016. This framework will allow the allocation that the Council intends to shift to the recreational sector to be available in 2016 even if the amendment isn’t implemented until after individual fishing quota is distributed amongst commercial fishermen.  

·      The Council will review revised alternatives in Amendment39: Regional Management – that considers dividing the recreational red snapper quota among different regions in the Gulf to allow for the creation of different management measures that best suit each area.

·      The Council will take another look at the scoping document for Red Snapper IFQ Modifications before moving forward with an options paper.

Photo: Emily Muehlstein
The Council will review a framework action that considers adjusting the annual catch limits, annual catch targets, and recreational season for gag. Last year, a stock assessment concluded that the gag stock was no longer overfished or experiencing overfishing.

The Council will review an options paper for Amendment 17 that addresses the expiration of the shrimp permit moratorium and is expected to take final action on Shrimp Amendment 15. This amendment looks at adjusting the status determination criteria, such as the overfishing threshold, for brown, white, and pink  shrimp. It also considers changing the shrimp management plans’ framework procedure. If you’re interested in the proposed amendment watch the video, read the guide, and sendus your comments.

South Florida Management
The Gulf Council, South Atlantic Council, and State of Florida have been working on a fisheries management plan that aims to streamline regulations in South Florida, particularly off of the Florida Keys.  The Council will review an options paper that considers modifying the management structure and some management measures for yellowtail snapper, mutton snapper, black grouper and shallow-water grouper, to make fishing regulations less complicated for commercial and recreational fishermen in the area.

Photo: Emily Muehlstein

The Council will review the recommendations by its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) relative to hogfish. The latest hogfish assessment determined that there are three distinct hogfish stocks. The western Florida stock is neither overfished or experiencing overfishing. The stock in the Florida Keys and along the east coast of Florida is overfished and experiencing overfishing, and the status of stock off the coast off Georgia and the Carolinas is experiencing overfishing and nearly overfished. The Council’s SSC reviewed the stock assessment and set an acceptable biological catch level for the west Florida stock. The SSC also recommended that the Gulf Council allow the South Atlantic Council to set the acceptable biological catch level for the Florida Keys stock.