Cobia & Spanish Mackerel Benchmark Assessments


The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene a meeting of the Standing, Special Mackerel and Ecosystem Scientific and Statistical Committees (SSC) to review the final results of the SEDAR 28 cobia and Spanish mackerel benchmark assessments.

The meeting will convene at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 and conclude by 12 p.m. Friday, May 31, 2013.


ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Renaissance International 


Plaza Hotel, 4200 Jim Walter Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33607; telephone: 

(813) 877-9200.

    Council address: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 2203 N. 

Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, Tampa, FL 33607.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steven Atran, Population Dynamics 

Statistician; Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; telephone: 

(813) 348-1630.


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Standing, Special Mackerel and Special 

Reef Fish SSCs will initially meet jointly on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 

to elect a chair and vice chair. Afterwards, the Standing and Special 

Mackerel SSC will review the final results of the SEDAR 28 cobia and 

Spanish mackerel benchmark assessments. The SSC previously reviewed the 

assessments at its March 27-28, 2013 meeting, but was unable to 

recommend acceptable biological catch (ABC) levels because a number of 

questions remained on the use of certain parameters necessary to 

produce the probability distribution functions (PDFs) needed to 

determine overfishing limit (OFL) and ABC. These included whether to 

use a proxy value for the fishing mortality rate at maximum sustainable 

yield (MSY), what value to use for the steepness of the spawner-recruit 

curve, and how to incorporate uncertainty with respect to the natural 

mortality rate estimate into the results. The analysts sought advice 

from the SSC at the March meeting, where it was determined that a proxy 

based on 30% spawning potential ratio should be used for the fishing 

mortality rate at MSY, a fixed steepness value of 0.8 be used for the 

spawner-recruit curve, and a weighted average of PDFs under several 

estimates of natural mortality be used to account for the uncertainty. 

Based on the completed analyses, the SSC will determine whether to 

accept the assessments, and if accepted, will recommend ABC for cobia 

and Spanish mackerel. The SSC will also review terms of reference for 

the upcoming SEDAR 38 (king mackerel) benchmark assessment, and will 

solicit for participants in SEDAR 38 workshops.

    Following the Standing and Special Mackerel SSC session, the 

Standing and Special Reef Fish SSC will meet for the remainder of the 

meeting on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 through Friday, May 31, 2013. The 

SSC will receive a presentation on SEDAR 31 red snapper benchmark 

assessment; determine whether to accept the assessment, and if 

accepted, will recommend ABC for red snapper that is consistent with 

the rebuilding plan. The SSC will also discuss the impact of explosive 

oil and gas rig removals on the red snapper stock. Copies of the agenda 

and other related materials can be obtained by calling (813) 348-1630 

or can be downloaded from the Council's ftp site,

    Although other non-emergency issues not on the agenda may come 

before the Scientific and Statistical Committees for discussion, in 

accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 

Management Act, those issues may not be the subject of formal action 

during this meeting. Actions of the Scientific and Statistical 

Committees will be restricted to those issues specifically identified 

in the agenda and any issues arising after publication of this notice 

that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-

Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public 

has been notified of the Council's intent to take action to address the