GeneralDouble Snapper

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet next
week in Gulfport, Mississippi. During the meeting the Council will discuss and
make decisions about a range of different fisheries issues that you might be
interested in.
Photo: Mark Miller

The meeting is open to the public and we invite you to join
us at the Courtyard Marriott, or you can listen in live from your computer.
Check out the committee agenda and the full Council agenda to figure out when
the Council will be discussing the topics that you want to hear about.

Public comment will be held Wednesday, April 17th
beginning at 1:45 pm. An informal question and answer session for the public will
be held Tuesday evening immediately after the Council adjourns (around 5:30).
The following is a brief description of some of the things the
Council plans to address next week:
Regional Management for Recreational Red Snapper
Photo: Robert Navarro

Red snapper is managed as a single unit in the federal
waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Since red snapper is subject to a Gulf-wide quota,
states with inconsistent regulations impact federal management. Recently,
states have begun to express a desire to make red snapper regulations that are
more suitable to local needs.

The Council has been considering ways to manage the
recreational red snapper quota in separate regions in the Gulf. Scoping
workshops to gather public input have already been held electronically, and in
cities around the Gulf. At this meeting the Council will review an options
paper that was drafted using public comment, and make recommendations on how to
move forward with the issue.
For-Hire Days-at-Sea Pilot Program
The Council is considering initiating a pilot program that would allow a sample of
for-hire fishermen to fish a specified number of days or trips throughout
the year instead of using the recreational season. The pilot would be evaluated
and the Council could make an informed decision about whether a days-at-sea
program should be implemented for the entire charter fleet.
The Council collected public input at scoping workshops that
were held in different cities over the past few weeks. A video tutorial, quick guide, and online comment form are also available for at-home use.
It’s not too late to share your thoughts! Council will
review public opinion next week and decide how to move forward.
Photo: Emily Muehlstein
Headboat Electronic Reporting for Reef Fish and Coastal
Migratory Pelagics
The Council is considering alternatives that could change
the frequency and method of fishery data reporting by headboat vessel
operators. Improving data, especially in the recreational sector, could reduce
the chance of exceeding Annual Catch Limits and triggering accountability
measures. The Council will review a proposed framework action and decide how to
move forward with the idea.
Funding for Electronic Logbooks for the Shrimp Industry
The Council plans to review a framework action that
considers how to fund a program to install and maintain electronic logbooks on
all federally permitted shrimping vessels.
Spanish Mackerel and Cobia Stock Assessments
The Council will review results and Scientific and
Statistical Committee recommendations from recent benchmark stock assessments
for cobia and Spanish mackerel.

Photo: Mark Miller
Red Drum
The Council will review the history of red drum management,
consider current research, and begin to discuss the possibilities and obstacles
to opening harvest of red drum in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Advisory Panels
The Council will review recommendations made by the Ad Hoc
Private Recreational Data Collection Advisory Panel and the Ad Hoc Artificial
Substrate Advisory Panel Meetings.
The Council will also review the resumes submitted by the
public and select new members for the Advisory Panels and Scientific and
Statistical Committees.
As always, if you have any questions please contact us.