It’s that time again… The Gulf Council is gearing up to meet
next week – August 20th– 23rd – in New Orleans, Louisiana
to work on a number of different fishery management issues.
Check out the committee schedule and the full Council schedule to see when Council plans to discuss issues that are important to you.
Photo: Capt. Jennings
If you can’t attend in person, we encourage you to tune in to
Gulf Council TV. and watch the meeting live. You should also visit our
proposed amendments page and submit comment on any of the issues that interest
 If you can make
it, you may want to consider attending the:
Question and answer session – Tuesday, August 21
at 5:00 PM the Regional Administrator of NOAA Fisheries will answer any
questions you have regarding fishery management in the Gulf.
Public Comment session – Wednesday, August 22 at
1:15 PM you can share your fishery management comments with the Council.
Below is a quick summary of what the Council will be working
on during the meeting next week. If you have any questions contact me at
[email protected]
Louisiana Management Proposals
The Council will have a discussion with the Louisiana
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries regarding their proposal for regional
management of red snapper and extension of the state boundary line in the Gulf.
Sector Allocations
The Council continues work on a document that explores the
allocation of gag, red grouper, black grouper, and red snapper. Allocation is
the division of an Annual Catch Limit between fishing sectors.
The current allocations are:
Red Grouper
Black Grouper
Red Snapper
The scoping document that will be presented to the Council
at this meeting considers the possibility of setting new allocations for each
species, and splitting allocation into commercial, recreational, and for-hire
fishing sectors.
Vermilion Snapper
A recent stock assessment determined that vermillion snapper
is neither overfished or experiencing overfishing. The Council is considering
raising the Annual Catch Limit for vermilion snapper to reflect the fact that
the population can sustain a higher level of harvest than is currently allowed.
Commercial Reef Fish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ)
In April of this year the Council suspended work on an
amendment that would consider establishing an Individual Fishing Quota Program
Photo: Kathy Hoak

red porgy
vermilion snapper
greater amberjack
lesser amberjack
almaco jack
banded rudderfish
gray triggerfish


The Council requested that the public submit comments to
advise the Council of the potential benefits or drawbacks of using an
Individual Fishing Quota system for those species. At this meeting the Council
will review the comments that have been received and will determine whether to
move forward with the development of Reef Fish Amendment 33.
Gray Triggerfish
The Council will continue work on Reef Fish Amendment 37,
which considers:

Shortening the current rebuilding

Increasing the commercial minimum
size limit

Establishing a commercial closed

Establishing a commercial trip

Increasing the recreational minimum
size limit

Establishing a recreational closed

Establishing a triggerfish–specific
recreational bag limit

Allowing NOAA Fisheries to close
the fishery if the Annual Catch Target is reached

This amendment is being developed because the
triggerfish stock is overfished (population is too low) and experiencing
overfishing (rate of removals is too high).
Shallow-Water-Grouper Accountability Measures

The Council is expected to make a final decision
regarding changing an accountability measure that shortens the following years
entire shallow-water-grouper season if the gag or red grouper Annual Catch
Limit is exceeded.

2013 Recreational Gag Season
The Council will continue to work on an amendment that
considers splitting the recreational season for gag. The Florida Fish and
Wildlife Commission (FWC) requested that the Gulf Council consider alternative
season options that would allow for fishing in both the spring and fall.
Opening the season at a different time may reduce the number of fishing days,
but will allow for gag fishing at a more desirable time of year.
Seafood Dealer Permit and Reporting Requirements
The Council is expected to take final action on an
amendment that aims to improve the accuracy, consistency, and timelines of data
reported by seafood dealers in order to reduce the likelihood that Annual Catch
Limits will be exceeded.
Essential Fish Habitat – Petroleum Platforms and
Artificial Reefs
Council will continue work on an amendment that
considers designating petroleum platforms and other artificial reefs as
Essential Fish Habitat.