Public testimony will be held on Thursday, June 24 from 2:15 – 5:30 PM, EDT. If you plan to provide testimony over the webinar, you’ll need to register in advanced. The registration link will be active from 8:00 AM until 1:15 PM, EDT on the day of testimony. Details on how to successfully join the meeting and provide testimony can be found here.
Additionally, the Gulf Council and NOAA Fisheries will host a question and answer session with the public immediately following Reef Fish Committee on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. If you want to speak to ask a question, you must join the webinar online
Alternatively, during the meeting, you can email questions to [email protected] or text them to (813) 317-6220 and a staff member will ask on your behalf. To listen in by phone, call: 1-(914) 614-3221 and use the Audio Access Code: 329-652-909
The Council meeting will begin with a closed session to appoint members of the Reef Fish and Shrimp Advisory Panels. The Council will also select and appoint members to its Scientific and Statistical Committees.
During this meeting, the Council is scheduled to take final action on Reef Fish Amendment 53: Red Grouper Allocations and Catch Limits. The following is a brief description of the final action item and some of the other issues that will be discussed:
Red Grouper Allocations and Catch Limits
The Council will hear a summary of comments received during public hearings before it takes final action on Reef Fish Amendment 53. The amendment considers modifying red grouper commercial and recreational sector allocations and catch limits based on the results of the latest stock assessment (SEDAR 61). The assessment sh
owed that the red grouper stock is lower than it has ever been. Additionally, the assessment used the new Marine Recreational Information Program’s (MRIP) calibrated Fishing Effort Survey landings and effort estimates, which increased the
estimates of recreational harvest. Amendment 53 also considers modifying the buffer between the annual catch limits and annual catch targets for both commercial and recreational sectors.
Shrimp Vessel Position Data Collection
The cellular electronic logbook units that are currently on vessels stopped transmitting shrimp effort data at the end of 2020. The Council will review a draft Framework Action that considers setting up reporting requirements for federally permitted shrimp vessels and transitioning to a new platform to replace the expiring cellular electronic logbook program.
The Council will review a draft of Costal Migratory Pelagics Amendment 32, which considers modifying cobia catch limits; apportionment between the Gulf and Florida East Coast (FLEC) Zones; sector allocations in the FLEC zone; and, management measures including possession limits, vessel/trip limits, and minimum size limits. The recent SEDAR 28Update stock assessment for cobia showed that the stock is not overfished but is currently experiencing overfishing. The assessment used the new Marine Recreational Information Program’s Fishing Effort Survey (MRIP-FES) estimates which increased the estimates, of recreational catch and effort. Based on the assessment, the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee recommended new overfishing limits and acceptable biological catch levels for 2021-2023 and beyond. While the assessment projections appear to allow for increased harvest, they actually represent an approximate 30% reduction from the current allowable harvest. The Council is obligated to end overfishing and consider updating cobia annual catch limits.
The Council will review a draft of Coastal Migratory Pelagics Amendment 33, which considers increasing king mackerel catch limits and modifying sector allocations. The recent SEDAR 38 Update stock assessment determined that king mackerel is not overfished and is not experiencing overfishing. The update assessment used the new MarineRecreational Information Program Fishing Effort Survey (MRIP-FES) landings and effort estimates, which nearly doubled historic estimates of recreational harvest. Based on the results of the update assessment, the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee recommended increasing the king mackerel overfishing limit and acceptable biological catch levels for 2021-2023.
Commercial Individual Fishing Quota Program
anism for distributing unused shares reclaimed by NOAA Fisheries, quota banks, and modifying the accuracy of estimated weights in advance landings notifications.
The Council will continue to work on two documents that consider modifications to the commerc
ial individual fishing quota (IFQ) programs. Reef Fish Amendment 36B considers requiring individual fishing quota shareholder accounts to be associated with a commercial reef fish permit. Reef Fish Amendment 36C considers a mech