Thursday, October 1, 2015

October 2015 Council Meeting Preview

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet next week at the Hilton in Galveston, Texas.

You’re welcome to join us in person or watch a livebroadcast of the meeting. This agenda will help you figure out when the Council will be addressing the fisheries issues that interest you. Here are the background materials you’ll need to follow along.

Public comment will be held from 2:30 – 5:00 pm on Wednesday, October 7.  Here is a quick overview of some of the issues the Council plans to address:

Hint: The Council takes public comment at all times – not just during meetings. If we’re working on a fishery issue and you want to share your thoughts visit our “proposed amendments” page by clicking this thermometer icon from our homepage There you’ll find a variety of documents, guides, videos, and online comment forms for each Amendment.
Photo: Emily Muehlstein
Gag and Black Grouper
The Council expects to take final action on a framework action that considers changing the gag season and size limit and the black grouper size limit. Watch this video and share your opinion before a decision is made.

Red Snapper
The Council will review revised alternatives in Amendment 39: Regional Management – which 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.  Public hearings will be hosted in the coming weeks at these dates and locations. We’ll post documents, guides, and videos to this page when they’re ready.

Photo: Emily Muehlstein
The West Florida hogfish stock, which is in the Gulf Council’s jurisdiction, is not overfished or experiencing overfishing. The stock associated with the Florida keys, which falls in both Gulf and South Atlantic Management areas, is both overfished and experiencing overfishing.  Next week, the Council will review a document that considers defining a management unit for hogfish between the two Councils and assigning a catch limit to the Gulf Council managed stock.

Mutton Snapper
The Council will review a framework action that considers setting and annual catch limit, bag limit, and commercial trip limits for mutton snapper.

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: iStock

The Council will review two public hearing drafts for amendments that consider making some changes to king and Spanish mackerel management. Amendment 26 considers making modifications to allocations, stock boundaries and sale provisions of king mackerel, and Amendment 28 considers separating permits for Gulf and Atlantic king and Spanish mackerel.

Photo: Emily Muehlstein

The Council will review a public hearing draft for Shrimp Amendment 17A - which considers what to do about the pending expiration of the federal shrimp permit moratorium. The Council expects to host public hearings on this amendment in January.
The Council will also review a draft options paper for Shrimp Amendment 17B – that considers establishing an optimum yield, target number of permits, permit pool, and addressing transit provisions through federal waters.