General

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery
Management Council will meet January 28 – 31, at
Perdido Beach
Resort in Orange Beach, Alabama
. You’re welcome
to join us in person or you can
watch
a live broadcast of the meeting.
Public comment will be held
on Wednesday, January 30th from 1:30 – 4:30 PM. If you can’t testify
in person visit our “
Amendment
Under Development
” webpage to
learn about the different issues we’re working on and submit your comment.
 
The meeting
agenda
will help you prepare for
the meeting. The following is a summary of some issues the Council plans to
address:
Historical Captains Endorsements
Final Action was scheduled for this
amendment however, due the partial-government shut-down the Council is unable
to take final action at this meeting.
Instead, the
Council will hear public comments on a final draft of an abbreviated framework
action that considers converting historical for-hire captain endorsements to
federal for-hire permits. There are currently 31 historical captains with both
reef fish and coastal migratory pelagic (CMP) permits, and one captain with a CMP
permit. The Council is considering converting these historical endorsements
into standard charter/headboat permits.
Watch the Video
State Management of Recreational
Red Snapper
This amendment was scheduled for final action however, due the partial-government shut-down the Council is unable
to take final action at this meeting.
The
Council will hear comments gathered during public hearings and review the suite
of documents that consider allowing each Gulf state to manage a portion of the
recreational red snapper quota in federal waters.
Watch
the Video
Carryover of Unharvested Quota
The Council will review a
public hearing draft that considers allowing uncaught annual catch limit to be
carried over and added to the next year’s harvest for reef fish and coastal
migratory pelagics. Quota available for carryover would have to be adjusted to
account for natural morality and other factors such as management uncertainty.
Shrimp
The Council will look at a public hearing
draft of an amendment that considers increasing
the amount of shrimp effort allowed in the special area that is monitored for
juvenile red snapper bycatch.  Analysis shows that the effort reduction
threshold, which currently requires that shrimp effort in the area monitored
for juvenile red snapper be 67% below the effort in the baseline years of
2001-2003, can be reduced to 60% without affecting the rebuilding of the red
snapper stock. 
Gray Snapper
The Council will review an
amendment that considers the criteria used to determine the overfishing and
overfished status of gray snapper, and the annual catch limits for the stock. A
recent gray snapper stock assessment determined that, gray snapper is
experiencing overfishing and may be overfished. The actions in the document
will establish Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), Optimum Yield (OY), and Minimum
Stock Size Threshold (MSST) values that will be used to determine stock status
for gray snapper. The Council is also considering alternatives that would
reduce the annual catch limits necessary to end overfishing.
Red Grouper
The Council will take a first look at a Draft
Framework Action that considers reducing the red grouper annual catch limit
until it can suggest management measures based on the results of the stock
assessment that is currently underway. 
At its last meeting, the Council was
presented with the results of an interim analysis that could be used to provide
updated harvest recommendations for red grouper while awaiting the results the
next stock assessment. Landings in recent years have been significantly below
the annual catch limits, indicating that the stock may not be large enough to
sustain current harvest levels. After hearing recommendations from its scientific
advisors and listening to public testimony that indicated the stock is
struggling, the Council requested that the National Marine Fisheries Service
implement an interim or emergency rule to establish an annual catch limit based
on the total 2017 landings. 
Red Snapper Reallocation
The Council will continue to consider a Draft
Amendment that
considers reallocating the red snapper
annual catch limit between recreational and commercial sectors as well as the
two components of the recreational sector.
For-Hire Reporting Requirements
The
Council will host a Workshop on For-Hire Reporting Requirements that are
expected to be implemented this year. The workshop will begin at 5:45 PM on
Monday, January 28th at the Orange Beach Community Center.
Saltson-Kennedy Grant Program Feedback Session
NOAA Fisheries will host a feedback session
to solicit suggestions on improving communications for a grant program that
awards nearly $10 million to fisheries research and development projects across
the United States.