The Gulf of Mexico fishery Management Council will hold a hybrid in-person and virtual meeting next week, October 25-28, 2021. The meeting will be held at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Alabama. You can also join the meeting by webinar.
The public will have three opportunities to interact with the Council during the meeting:
- A virtual and in-person Public Hearing on proposed changes to Cobia management measures will be held at 6:00 PM central time on Monday, October 25th. Join the webinar
- A special in-person and virtual informal Question and Answer Session focused on new for-hire electronic reporting requirements will be held immediately following Reef Fish Committee on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. Leaders from the Gulf Council, NOAA Fisheries, and Council Leadership Southeast Fisheries Science Center will join a panel of Vessel Monitoring System vendors to answer questions from the public about the federal for-hire reporting requirements and approved hardware and software. Virtual attendees must join the webinar onlinet o speak and ask questions. 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 / Audio Access Code: 857-515-680.
- Public testimony will be held from 2:15 – 5:30 PM central time on Wednesday, October 27, 2021. In-person and virtual participants will have equal opportunity to participate. To provide public testimony, you must register online and join the webinar. A registration link to provide testimony will be available on the Council meeting materials webpage beginning at 8:00 AM, CDT on Wednesday, October 27, 2021. Registration to provide virtual testimony will close one hour before public testimony begins (1:15 PM CDT). Virtual participants must register for the webinar under the same name they use to register to provide testimony. Instructions on how to use the webinar and troubleshoot if you experience difficulty can be found here.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Council plans to review and adopt Council Committee Assignments for October 2021 through August 2022. During this meeting, the Council plans to take final action on Amendment 32: Modifications to the Gulf of Mexico Migratory Group Cobia Catch Limits, Possession Limits, Size Limits, and Framework Procedure and Draft Framework Action: Modifications of Gulf of Mexico Red Grouper Catch Limits. The following is a brief description of those two issues.
The Council plans to take final action on 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 28 Update stock assessment showed that the cobia 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, under MRIP-FES they actually represent an approximate 30% reduction from the current allowable harvest. The Council is required to end overfishing and consider updating cobia annual catch limits (ACL).
The Council plans to take final action on a Framework Action that considers increasing red grouper catch limits. The Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee recommended increasing the red grouper Overfishing Limit and Acceptable Biological Catch after reviewing an adjustment to the recreational landings in weights provided by the most recent stock assessment(SEDAR 61). Additionally, the Scientific and Statistical Committee considered an interim analysis that modifies red grouper abundance estimates based on NMFS Bottom Longline Survey data.
In addition to the items up for final action, the Council also plans to discuss numerous other important topics including shrimp, king mackerel, greater amberjack, gag, vermilion snapper, and modifications to location reporting requirements for for-hire and commercial vessels. Check out the meeting agenda and briefing materials for more information. As always, contact us a [email protected] with any questions.