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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

October 2016 Council Meeting Preview

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meets next week at the IP Resort Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi. You’re welcome to join us or watch a live broadcast of the meeting.

Public comment will be held on Wednesday, October 19 from 2:15 - 5:00 pm. If you can’t testify in person, visit our proposed amendments page to learn about the different issues we’re currently working on and submit your comments.

The meeting agenda and briefing materials will help you prepare for the meeting. The following is a quick look at some of the hot topics the Council will address next week.

Photo: James Burge
Mackerel
The Council plans to take final action of Framework Action 5 which considers eliminating restrictions unique to commercial king and Spanish mackerel permit holders. Currently, vessels with commercial permits for king or Spanish mackerel may not retain a recreational bag limit when the applicable commercial mackerel season is closed. However, dually permitted vessels with both Federal for-hire pelagic permits and commercial permits can retain a recreational bag limit if operating as a for-hire vessel. The Council is considering removing this restriction since this restriction doesn’t occur in any other fishery.

The Council will review a public hearing draft of Coastal Migratory Pelagic Amendment 29, which considers allocation sharing strategies between recreational and commercial sectors and associated accountability measures for Gulf migratory group king mackerel. The Council expects to host public hearings on this amendment in late fall.

Gray Triggerfish
Photo: Jim Green
The Council will review the most recent draft of Amendment 46, which considers modifying the gray triggerfish rebuilding plan.  A recent stock assessment indicated that the gray triggerfish stock continues to be overfished and the Council’s scientific advisors revised the acceptable biological catch levels. Along with determining new catch levels for the stock, the Council will 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: Mary Ochello Jackson

Reef Fish Management For Headboats 
The Council will 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. Additionally, the Council will discuss the criteria participants must meet to vote in the referendum to determine if a proposed allocation-based program will be accepted.

Modifications to the Commercial Individual Fishing Quota Programs
The Council will review the latest draft of Amendment 36A which includes actions for hail-in requirements, inactivated shareholder accounts, and mid-year quota changes.

Data Collection
The Council is considering modifying the frequency and mechanism of data reporting, requiring trip notification, and discuss hardware/software requirements and the potential for location tracking. The Council will hear recommendations from the Data Collection Technical Committee, Ad Hoc Red Snapper Charter For-Hire Advisory Panel, Reef Fish Advisory Panel and review a summary of public comments on the amendment that considers making modifications to Charter Vessel and Headboat Reporting Requirements.