Gulf Council Actions Taken at April 2012 Meeting

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council met in Corpus Christi, Texas, April 16 - 19, 2012, to discuss a number of fishery issues, including Reef Fish Amendment 35 for Greater Amberjack, a draft Options Paper for Reef Fish Amendment 37 for Gray Triggerfish, and a Scoping Document for Red Snapper Overage Adjustments. During the weeklong meeting, the Council took the following actions:

Are there penalties for non-reporting or late reporting?

The scoping document will now be developed into a draft public hearing document and presented to the Council during its June meeting.

Artificial Reef's as Essential Fish Habitat

The Council has initiated a plan amendment to evaluate the appropriateness of designating fixed petroleum platforms and artificial reefs as essential fish habitat. Staff will begin developing alternatives that include such structures be recognized as habitat areas of particular concern. 

Exempted Fishing Permits

The Gulf Headboat Cooperative submitted a request to the Regional Administrator of NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office for and exempted fishing permit for a pilot study whereby selected headboats in the Gulf of Mexico will examine the feasibility of an alternative rights-based management strategy. The proposal would allow headboats in the study to fish for red snapper and gag grouper, based on allocations issued to them, outside the normal recreational fishing seasons. The participants would report daily catches, working cooperatively with the Harte Research Institute.

After a lengthy discussion, the Council recommended that NOAA Fisheries approve the Gulf Headboat Cooperative Exempted Fishing Permit.

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Convene its Ad Hoc Private Recreational Data Collection Advisory Panel

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene its Ad Hoc Private Recreational Data Collection Advisory Panel May 17, 2012, from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm at the Gulf Council Office - 2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, in Tampa, Florida. 

The Panel will meet to discuss mechanisms to improve private recreational fisheries data collection in the Gulf of Mexico. The Panel will also help identify methods for improving private recreational angler data collection, potentially using additional data collection programs that would supplement data collected through the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). Programs considered must improve the accuracy and timeliness of catch, effort, and discard data for the private recreational sector in the Gulf of Mexico. Programs that allow private recreational angler participation in the data collection process are preferred. The Advisory Panel will also review existing programs and provide recommendations for possible implementation. The meeting will conclude with draft recommendations to be presented to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council during its June meeting in Tampa, Florida.

cifically 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 emergency.