Gulf Council Actions in June Meeting at Naples
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council met in Naples, Florida, June 5 – 8, 2017, to discuss a number of fishery issues. The following is a summary of the Council's actions:
Appointments for Coastal Migratory Pelagics and Red Drum Advisory Panels
The Council appointed 16 members to the Coastal Migratory Pelagics Advisory Panel and 14 members to the Red Drum Advisory Panel. Advisory Panel appointees are listed on our website at: [log in for link]
Requirement to Possess Descending Devices or Venting Tools Onboard
The Council reviewed a framework action that considers requiring vessels fishing for reef fish to possess descending devices or venting tools onboard. The intention of this action is to reduce the mortality of fish that are caught and discarded. The Council discussed promoting the use of descending devices and venting tools through outreach efforts and plans to address this document at a future meeting.
Carryover of Unharvested Quota
The Council reviewed a generic amendment that considers modifying the acceptable biological catch control rule by allowing the unharvested portion of the annual catch limit in a year to be added to the following year's acceptable biological catch. The Council plans to present a draft of this document to the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee before bringing it back to a future Council meeting.
Stock Assessment Schedule
The Council is asking Southeast Data Assessment and Review (SEDAR) to prioritize the 2018 and 2019 stock assessment schedule as follows. For 2018: complete gray snapper (benchmark track started in 2017), the MRIP Calibrations, king mackerel (joint research track with Mexico), gray triggerfish, cobia, and red grouper. For 2019: scamp, vermillion snapper, yellowedge grouper, tilefish, and Spanish mackerel.
After reviewing public comment, the Council took final action on Regulatory Amendment 4, which considers spiny lobster status determination criteria, annual catch limits and targets, and recreational trap prohibition. The Council chose to set maximum sustainable yield, maximum fishing mortality threshold, annual catch limits and targets using a longer time series of landings than had previously been used. The Council also chose to support the South Atlantic Council's preferred alternative to prohibit the use of traps for recreational harvest of spiny lobster in the South Atlantic federal waters. The Amendment will be transmitted to the Secretary of Commerce for approval and implementation after the South Atlantic Council takes final action.