The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will hold a completely virtual meeting next week, January 24 – 27, 2022.
Public testimony will be held on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 from 2:15 to 5: 30 PM CST. 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, CST on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. Registration to provide virtual testimony will close one hour before public testimony begins (1:15 PM CST). Virtual participants must register for the webinar under the same name they use to register to provide testimony.
The meeting will begin with election of a new Council Vice Chairman. The Council plans to take final action on a Framework Action to modify vermilion snapper catch limits. The following is a brief description of that issue and some of the other issues that the Council plans to work on:
The Council plans to take final action on a Framework Action to Modify Vermilion Snapper Overfishing Limit, Acceptable Biological Catch, and Annual Catch Limit. The most recent stock assessment (SEDAR 6, 2020) determined that the stock is not overfished nor experiencing overfishing. In addition to incorporating new recreational catch and effort estimations, the assessment shows that the stock is healthy so the Council is considering increasing vermilion snapper catch limits.
Shrimp Vessel Position Data Collection
The Council will continue to work on 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 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 of Coastal Migratory Pelagics Amendment 33, which considers modifying king mackerel catch limits and the sector allocation. The recent SEDAR 38 Update stock assessment determined that king mackerel is not overfished and is not experiencing overfis
hing, but has been depleted further since the last stock assessment. The update assessment used the new MRIP-FES recreational 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 (OFL) and acceptable biological catch (ABC) levels through 2024.
For-Hire Electronic Reporting
The Council will hear recommendations from its Reef Fish Advisory Panel and continue to work on a Framework Action to ensure that for-hire trips are not delayed or canceled in the event of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) equipment failures.
Commercial Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Programs
The Council will populate a focus group charged with reviewing the current IFQ Programs and recommend their replacement or retention. The Council will also continue working on Reef Fish Amendment 36B which considers requiring IFQ shareholder accounts to be associated with a commercial reef fish permit.