Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 2017 Council Meeting Preview

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meets at the end of this month at the Astor Crowne Plaza in New Orleans, Louisiana. You’re welcome to join us in person or watch a live broadcast of the meeting.
Photo: Mark Miller
Public comment will be held on Wednesday, February 1 from 2:30 – 5:30 pm. If you can’t testify in person, visit our proposed amendments page to learn about the different issue we’re working on and submit your comments. Comments received by Tuesday, February 24 will be summarized and presented directly to the Council as each issue is discussed during the meeting.

The meeting agenda and briefing materials will help you prepare. The following is a quick summary of some of the topics the Council plans to address:
Charter Vessel and Headboat Reporting
The Council is expected to take final action on a document that considers modifying the frequency and mechanism of data reporting; trip notification and reporting requirements; and hardware/software requirements and the potential for location tracking. The Council will review the document and hear a summary of comments before deciding how to move forward.
Photo: Allison Sparkman
The Council is scheduled to take final action on Coastal Migratory Pelagic Amendment 29 – Allocation Sharing and Accountability Measures for King Mackerel. This proposed amendment considers allocation sharing strategies and accountability measures that would allow the commercial sector to harvest uncaught recreational allocation. The Council will hear a summary of public comments received during public hearings before making final decisions on the proposed changes.

Click here to view the full document

Photo: iStock
The Council will review and public hearing draft of Shrimp Amendment 17B which considers setting harvest benchmarks, setting a target number of permits, creating a permit pool, and allowing transit through federal waters. The Council has scheduled a series of public hearings that will be held across the Gulf Coast in February.

Photo: Emily Muehlstein
Commercial Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program
The Council will review a public hearing draft of Reef Fish Amendment 36a which considers making modifications to the commercial IFQ program. After performing 5-year reviews of the red snapper and grouper/tilefish programs the Council is considering modifying hail-in requirements for commercially permitted reef fish vessels; returning and redistributing inactivated IFQ shares; retaining allocation before a quota reduction; and dealer notification requirements before offloading IFQ species. The Council plans to host a webinar public hearing and send a direct mailing to commercial reef fish holders to gather comments before taking action on this document.

Photo: John Garland
The Council plans to review a public hearing draft of Reef Fish Amendment 46 – 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. The Council has scheduled a series of public hearings that will be held across the Gulf Coast in March.
Click here to submit comments

Photo: Alex Bender and Allison Sparkman

Mutton Snapper and Gag
The Council plans to review a Framework Action that considers modifying mutton snapper annual catch limit, minimum size limit, recreational bag limit, and commercial trip limit. The Framework Action also considers increasing the commercial gag minimum size limit.
Click here to view the full document

As always, don't hesitate to contact us directly with any questions or comments: