The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet August 14-17, 2023 at the Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas. The meeting will begin with the induction of three new Council members.

The agenda, meeting materials, and link to register for the webinar can all be found on our council meeting webpage. Public testimony will be held on Wednesday, April 16, 2023, from 1:30 – 5:00 pm central time. The following is a quick description of some of the issues the Council plans to address:

For-Hire Reporting

During this meeting, the Council will discuss the next logical steps for developing a new program charter for-hire data collection program that will replace the Southeast For-Hire Integrated Electronic Reporting Program (SEFHIER) which was set aside by a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling.

Black and Gag Grouper

The Council will begin work on a framework action that will consider modifying gag and black grouper management in an effort to maximize fishing opportunities while ensuring that the annual catch limit is not overharvested. This could include lowering the recreational bag limit, establishing a recreational vessel limit for gag and black grouper, and adding additional spatial areas to protect spawning gag.

Shallow Water Grouper

Scamp, yellowmouth grouper, black grouper, and yellowfin grouper are managed together, with a shared annual catch limit, within the shallow-water grouper complex. A recent stock assessment of scamp and yellowmouth grouper stock (SEDAR 68, 2021) determined that they are not overfished or experiencing overfishing and produced updated catch advice. In the absence of a stock assessment for black grouper and yellowfin grouper, the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee provided combined catch limit recommendations. The Council will begin work on a document that aims to set catch limits for shallow water grouper.

Greater Amberjack

The Council will continue work on a Framework Action that considers modifying the recreational closed season and the commercial trip limit for greater amberjack. These changes are being considered to ensure that harvest is constrained to catch limits that were recently set to allow the greater amberjack stock to rebuild by 2027.

Yellowtail Snapper

The Council will continue to work on jointly managed South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Amendment 44 / Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Amendment 55: Catch Level Adjustment and Allocations for Southeastern U.S. Yellowtail Snapper. A recent stock assessment (SEDAR 64, 2020) and subsequent interim analysis (2022), which included updated recreational landings estimates, found that yellowtail snapper is neither overfished nor is it undergoing overfishing. The Council is obligated to update catch limits using the new recreational landings estimates and the division of harvest between the Gulf and South Atlantic Councils may be modified based on the new recreational landings estimates.