Friday, May 24, 2019

June Council Meeting Preview

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet the first week in June at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, Florida.  The meeting will be held June 3 – June 6 in the Bayside Ballroom. You’re welcome to join us in person or watch a live broadcast of the meeting.

Public comment will be held on Wednesday, June 5, from 2:00-5:30 p.m. If you can’t testify in person, visit our “Amendments Under Development” webpage to learn about what we’re working on and submit your comments.  

Immediately following the Council session on Monday June 3rd, Manna Fish Farms will be conducting a stakeholder workshop on its Finfish Aquaculture Operations in the Gulf.

Also, the U.S. Government Accountability Office is conducting a study on allocation reviews for mixed use fisheries. They would like to meet with fishery stakeholders to discuss mixed-use fisheries allocations and will be conducting interviews Monday through Wednesday for those interested. A signup sheet will be posted outside the Council meeting space. Please direct any questions to

The meeting agenda and meeting materials will help you prepare. The following is a summary of some of the issues the Council plans to discuss:

Carryover of Unharvested Quota
The Council is expected to take final action on an amendment that considers allowing uncaught annual catch limit to be carried over and added to the next year’s harvest for reef fish and coastal migratory pelagics. Quota available for carryover would have to be adjusted to account for natural mortality and other factors such as management uncertainty.

Greater Amberjack Commercial Trip Limits
The Council will consider taking final action on a Framework amendment that considers reducing the commercial trip limit for greater amberjack. This action is expected to increase the length of the commercial fishing season for greater amberjack.

Modifications to Commercial Individual Fishing Quota Programs
The Council will review a draft of Amendment 36B which considers modifying the commercial individual fishing quota programs. The proposed actions include requiring shareholders to have a federal permits, distributing shares that have been reclaimed by NMFS, establishing a quota bank, and requiring accuracy in the weight estimates provided in advance landings notifications. 

For-Hire Red Snapper Annual Catch Target Buffer
The Council will work on a Framework Action that considers reducing the buffer between the federal for-hire component annual catch limit and annual catch target.  A previous framework action modified the buffer by reducing it from 20% to 9% for 2019 only. Reducing the buffer on a more permanent basis is expected to allow a greater harvest while continuing to constrain landings to the for-hire component annual catch limit.

Gray Snapper
The Council will continue work on an amendment that considers the criteria used to determine the overfishing and overfished status of gray snapper, and the annual catch limits for the stock. The most recent gray snapper stock assessment determined that gray snapper is experiencing overfishing and may be overfished. The actions in the document will set values that will be used to determine stock status for gray snapper and adjust the annual catch limits.

Exempted Fishing Permits
The Council will review an Exempted Fishing Permit Application that would allow for a new bycatch reduction device to be tested in the shrimp fishery.