Gulf Council Meeting In Gulfport MS

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet April 15 - 18, 2013, at the Courtyard Marriott, 1600 East Beach Boulevard in Gulfport, Mississippi. After spending most of Monday in closed session to make appointments to the Science Committees and Advisory Panels, the Council Committees will convene Monday afternoon beginning at 2:30. 

The full Council will convene at 1:30 pm Wednesday and is expected to adjourn by 4:30 pm Thursday. Agenda highlights are summarized below.  

Committee meetings will open Monday with the Budget/Personnel Committee review of the 2013 Budget. The Shrimp Management Committee will then meet to review a Framework Action to Fund an Electronic Logbook Program for the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Fishery. The day will conclude with a meeting of the Red Drum Management Committee, which will review the history of red drum management, along with past meeting discussions, and escapement rates.  The Committee will also:

 

 

  • Receive an overview of current research;
  • Discuss options for opening the Exclusive Economic Zone to the harvest of red drum; and
  • Receive an explanation from the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding the necessary steps to open harvest.

Beginning Tuesday morning, the Sustainable Fisheries/Ecosystem Management Committee will meet to review the Integrated Ecosystem Assessments and discuss proposed revisions to the ABC Control Rule.  The Reef Fish Management Committee will follow, with a number of items up for discussion.  Those items include:

  • Receive a report on the status of SEDAR 31 Red Snapper Benchmark Assessment;
  • Review of an Options Paper for Reef Fish Amendment 39 - Regional Management of Recreational Red Snapper;
  • Red Snapper 5-year IFQ Review and IFQ Inter-Sector Trading Issues;
  • Review Scoping and Written Comments for the For-Hire Days-as-Sea Pilot Program for Red Snapper;
  • Final Action on Permit Transfer and Renewal Requirements for Gulf of Mexico Charter/Headboat Permits;
  • White Paper on Live Animal Collection for Public Displays/Education;
  • Review status of action to Define For-Hire Fishing Under Contractual Services; and
  • Review Exempted Fishing Permits (if any).

Tuesday's meeting will conclude with the Mackerel Management Committee, which will discuss the Spanish Mackerel and Cobia SEDAR Benchmark Assessments and receive recommendations from the Science Committee for stock assessments. The Committee will also review a draft Joint Amendment 20 - Modifications to the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Zones, and a summary of related motions and recommendations by the South Atlantic Council.

Immediately following the Committee recess Tuesday, the Council and NOAA Fisheries will hold an informal Question and Answer session on general fishery management issues.

The Data Collection Committee will meet Wednesday morning at 8:30 to receive a final report on the For-Hire Electronic Logbook Pilot Study in the Gulf of Mexico. The Committee will also review a draft Framework Action on modifications to Headboat Electronic Reporting for Reef Fish Resources and Coastal Migratory Pelagics. Finally, the Committee will receive an update on modifications to the Federally-Permitted Seafood Dealer Reporting requirements, and a summary report from the Ad Hoc Private Recreational Data Collection Advisory Panel Meeting held in February, 2013.

The last Committee to meet before the full Council convenes is the Joint Artificial Reef/Habitat Protection Committee, which is scheduled to receive summaries from the Ad Hoc Artificial Substrate Advisory Panel meeting also held in February, 2013.

The full Council will convene Wednesday at 1:30 pm.  At 1:45 pm the Council will take public comment on the following:

Framework Action to Fund Electronic Logbook Program for the Shrimp Fishery

Permit Transfer and Renewal Requirements for Gulf of Mexico Charter/Headboat Permits

Exempted fishing permits (if any)

The Council will also hold an open public comment session to give members of the public an opportunity to address the Council on fishery issues that may not be on the agenda. Open public comment will be taken immediately following public testimony until 5:30 pm. Anyone wishing to speak must sign up prior to the comment period.

 Beginning Thursday at 8:30 am, the Council will deliberate and take action on committee recommendations made earlier in the week. 

For a copy of the detailed agenda, or to watch the meeting live, please visit http://gulfcouncil.org/council_meetings/index.php or call 888-833-1844. Briefing book materials can be downloaded from the Council FTP site at http://ftp.gulfcouncil.org/?user=anonymous.