BlogAvid Angling Fishing Charters
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meets at the
Beau Rivage Resort in Biloxi, Mississippi next week.  You’re welcome to join us at the meeting or to
listen via a live broadcast from the comforts of home.
Public testimony will be held on Wednesday, October 4 from
12:30 – 5:00 p.m. local time.  If you
can’t make it to the meeting to give your comments in person, please visit our
“Amendments Under Development” page to learn about and comment on the issues
being considered.  Comments received
before Wednesday, September 27th will be summarized and presented
directly to the Council before it takes action.
The agenda and meeting materials will help you prepare.  The following is a summary of some of the
important issues the Council plans to address:
Photo: Avid Angler Fishing Charters 
Greater Amberjack
Fishing Year and Recreational Season
The Council recently revised the rebuilding plan for greater
amberjack after learning that the stock continues to be overfished and
experiencing overfishing despite numerous efforts to rebuild.  During those discussions, the Council
recognized that the current recreational season may not be as beneficial as
possible to anglers gulf-wide, and decided to consider ways to allow for both
fall and spring fishing seasons.  The
Council opted to close the 2018 season at the beginning of the year while it
works to  put a permanent season solution
in place. At this meeting, the Council plans to take final action on a
Framework Amendment that considers changing the fishing year and/or the
recreational fishing season to ensure that anglers throughout the Gulf are able
to harvest greater amberjack.
Federal For-Hire
The Council will hear summaries of the Ad-Hoc Reef Fish
Headboat and Ad-Hoc Red Snapper Charter For-Hire Advisory Panel meetings that
were held in September.  The Council is
also expected to take final action on Referendum Eligibility Requirements for
Reef Fish Amendment 41 – Allocation Based Management for Federally Permitted
Charter Vessels and Reef Fish Amendment 42 – Reef Fish Management for Headboat
Survey Vessels.
Amendment 41
Amendment 42

State Management of
Red Snapper
The Council will review a draft of documents that consider
allowing the Gulf states to manage their historical portion of the red snapper
harvest of recreational red snapper out to 200 nautical miles. 
Spiny Lobster Gear
Requirements and Cooperative Management Procedure
The Council will look at a draft of Spiny Lobster Amendment
13 which considers making federal regulations for spiny lobster bully netting
consistent with regulations recently adopted by the State of Florida.  The Amendment also considers allowing the
state of Florida to directly submit proposed lobster regulations to National
Marine Fisheries Service without requiring Council action.
Deep Sea Coral
Protection Areas
The Council will be presented with a Public Hearing Draft of
Coral Amendment 9 which considers creating protections for 15 areas in the Gulf
that are known to have an abundance of corals and/or coral diversity that makes
them unique.  The areas under
consideration are all in deep waters and contain deep-water corals that can
live to be hundreds, if not thousands of years, and provide important habitat
in the cold, low oxygen, depths of the ocean.  The Council is expected to host public
hearings on this document before taking final action in 2018.
Descending Devices
and Venting Tools
The Council will review a draft document that considers ways
to encourage the use of venting tools or descending devices to reduce mortality
of fish that are released, while allowing anglers the flexibility to decide if
and when it’s appropriate to use them.

Sea Turtle Release
Gear and Protocol
The Council will consider a draft document that would allow
the use of new sea turtle release gear types and streamline the process for
allowing reef fish permit holders to use additional protected species release
gear types and handling procedures.

Submit comment

Selection of Ad Hoc Red Snapper and Grouper-Tilefish IFQ Applicants

At the August meeting, the Council decided to disband the Ad Hoc Red Snapper IFQ Advisory Panel and form a new Ad Hoc Red Snapper/Grouper IFQ Advisory panel so participants in both red snapper and Grouper/Tilefish IFQ programs can work together in an advisory role to the Council. Next week, the Council will review applications and make preliminary Advisory Panel member selections. The Council expects to announce the make-up of the newly formed panel after performing background checks on prospective members.