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FB18-016
FISHERY BULLETIN ISSUE D
ATE:
March 12, 2018
CONTACT:Sustainable Fisheries, 727-824-5305,

Request for Comments: Exempted Fishing Permits to Allow State Pilot Projects for the Management of Recreational Red Snapper Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico                     

KEY MESSAGE:

NOAA Fisheries announces a comment period on five exempted fishing permits (EFPs) submitted by each of the five Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) states.  Each Gulf state marine resource agency has submitted an EFP that would allow them to set the season(s) for recreationally caught red snapper from state and federal waters that are landed in each respective state for 2018 and 2019.  The purpose of these EFPs is to allow states to demonstrate the effectiveness of state management of recreationally caught red snapper and data collection methods through 2-year pilot programs.
Comments are due by April 2, 2018.  

SUMMARY OF THE PROPOSED EXEMPTED FISHING PERMITS:

  • States would establish seasons when red snapper could be landed.
  • Recreational fishermen with the appropriate licenses from the state would be able to land fish caught in federal waters during the state season.
  • States would require fishermen to land their red snapper following state-specific rules.
  • States would monitor red snapper landings and close their seasons if a state’s assigned quota is reached or projected to be reached.

HOW TO COMMENT ON THE EXEMPTED FISHING PERMITS:

The comment period is open now through April 2, 2018.  You may submit comments on the EFPs by electronic submission or by postal mail.  Comments sent by any other method (such as e-mail), to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries

FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: FR#10683, published March 12, 2018.

  1. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0029.
  2. Click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields.
  3. Enter or attach your comments.

Mail: Submit written comments to Peter Hood, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

What is being proposed?

Why is this action needed?

What is an exempted fishing permit (EFP)?

How would the state pilot programs work?

Would the EFPs apply to all recreational red snapper fishing?

  • Currently, the recreational red snapper sector is divided into two components, the private angling component and the federal for-hire component, that have separate quotas and seasons.
  • The private angling component includes state-permitted for-hire vessels and any red snapper landings by these for-hire vessel are counted against the private angling component quota. However, these state-permitted for-hire vessels are not able to fish in Federal waters.
  • The EFP applications from Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi only request managing the private angling component.

Recreational Sector Components

Private angling component - private recreational anglers and other for-hire vessel operators who do not have a federal reef fish charter vessel/headboat permit.

Federal for-hire component - all for-hire vessel operators with a valid or renewable federal reef fish charter vessel/headboat permit.
  • The EFP applications from Louisiana and Texas apply to both the private angling component and federal for-hire components.
  • NOAA Fisheries will determine if the entire recreational sector or just a portion of it will be covered by the EFPs based on input from the public and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council).

Has the Council reviewed the applications and made a recommendation to NOAA Fisheries?

If some states propose to manage the for-hire component and others do not, how would NOAA Fisheries manage the federal for-hire component? 

What happens with the private angling season if a state EFP request is denied or the state withdraws its application?

Are there criteria NOAA Fisheries will use to determine whether to approve an EFP or not?

What is the timeline for issuing the EFPs?

What is each state proposing?

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR)

Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR)

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF)

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD)

Where can I find more information on the EFPs?

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Other contacts:
Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707
           Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750