The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet by webinar January 25-28, 2021. The Committee and Council Agendas, and meeting materials are available on the Council Meeting Webpage. You will be able to join the webinar at this link during the meeting.
Public testimony will be held on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 from 2:30 – 5:00 PM eastern. Details on how to successfully join the meeting and provide testimony can be found here.
Additionally, the Gulf Council and NOAA Fisheries will host a question and answer session with the public from 5:00 – 6:00 PM on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. If you want to speak to ask a question, you must join the webinar online. Alternatively, during the meeting, you can email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or text them to (813) 317-6220 and a staff member will ask on your behalf. To listen in by phone, call : 1- (631) 992-3221, access code: 142.143.734
The Council is scheduled to take final action on four items at this meeting. Below is a brief description of each item under consideration and information on how to learn more and submit comment:
Lane Snapper Catch Limits and Accountability Measures
The most recent update assessment of lane snapper, which uses the new calibrated landings and effort data from the Marine Recreational Information Program Fishing Effort Survey, shows an increase in stock biomass. As a result, the Council is considering increasing the overfishing limit, acceptable biological catch, annual catch limit, and annual catch target for lane snapper. Additionally, the Council is considering modifying the in-season closure accountability measure for lane snapper because the annual catch limit has been exceeded numerous times in recent years.
Gray Triggerfish Catch Limits
A 2020 interim analysis of gray triggerfish showed that there was likely an increase in stock biomass in recent years. The analysis suggested an increase to the gray triggerfish acceptable biological catch, so the Council is considering increasing the annual catch limits and annual catch targets accordingly.
Status Determination Criteria and Optimum Yield for Reef Fish and Red Drum
The Council must define a maximum sustainable yield (MSY), a maximum fishing mortality threshold (MFMT), a minimum stock size threshold (MSST), and an optimum yield (OY) for all managed stocks. These reference points are the basis for determining the health of each stock and are required under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and National Standard 1 guidelines. A list of fish stocks impacted by this document are below:
Red Snapper Recreational Data Calibration and Recreational Catch Limits
NOAA Fisheries has been using the federal Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) in concert with landings and effort data collected from Gulf state data collection programs to monitor private recreational red snapper seasons. Some estimates generated by the state data collection programs differ from MRIP estimates that were used to generate the current annual catch limits. Adjustments to the state-specific recreational annual catch limits are being considered to account for the harvest monitoring programs used by each state and to reduce the likelihood of exceeding the red snapper private angling component annual catch limit.