Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June Council 2016 Meeting Preview

Photo Credit: Primofish
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meets next week at the Hilton in Clearwater Beach, Florida to discuss some important fisheries issues.  You’re welcome to join us. Since it’s not always practical to travel to a meeting, you can watch this live broadcast from the comfort of your home or office if you prefer.

Public comment is set for Wednesday, June 22 at 1:45 pm. If you can’t testify in person, visit this page to submit comments and learn about the different fisheries management issues we’re currently working on.

You can also check out this the meeting agenda and briefing materials to prepare for the meeting. The following is a quick look at some of the issues the Council will address next week:

Photo: Emily Muehlstein
After hearing a summary of the comments received during public hearings, the Council plans to take final action on Reef Fish Amendment 43, which considers changes to hogfish management. A recent stock assessment prompted the Council to consider changing the jurisdictional boundary of the hogfish stock in the Gulf and revise hogfish annual catch limits. The Council is also considering increasing the commercial and recreational minimum size limits for hogfish.

Red Snapper Sector Separation Sunset Provision
After hearing a summary of the comments received during public hearings, the Council plans to take final action on Amendment 45, which considers changing the sunset provision that will end the separate management of private anglers and federally permitted charter boats at the end of 2017.

Photo: Emily Muehlstein
Spiny Lobster
The Council is considering increasing the spiny lobster annual catch limit. This proposed revision is triggered by two factors; the combined commercial and recreational spiny lobster harvest has exceeded the annual catch limit in two of the past four years, and the Gulf Council’s scientific advisors increased the spiny lobster acceptable biological catch level.

A recent stock assessment indicates that the triggerfish stock remains overfished. The Council’s scientific advisors revised the acceptable biological catch levels and the Council needs to consider developing a new rebuilding plan for the stock.  Along with determining new catch levels for the stock, the Council will also consider changes to the recreational bag limits, size limits, and closed season; and commercial closed season and trip limit.

Red Snapper Management for Federally Permitted Charter Vessels
The Council will discuss the latest draft of Reef Fish Amendment 41, which considers creating a red snapper management plan for federally permitted for-hire vessels fishing under the for-hire component of the recreational red snapper allocation.

Photo: Emily Muehlstein
Federal Reef Fish Headboat Management
The Council will review the input received from its Ad Hoc Reef Fish Headboat Advisory Panel and discuss a revised draft of Reef Fish Amendment 42 which considers creating a management plan for federally permitted headboats fishing for reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico. 

After the Council meeting we’ll host a wrap-up webinar to review what happened. Please join us at 6 p.m. EST Wednesday, June 29, for a quick presentation followed by a question and answer session.

As always, if you have any questions you’re welcome to email us.