Federal Management – AL Shrimp

Federal Management

gulfcouncil_logoFederal Management

The Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council (GMFMC) manages the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery under the principles of the Magnuson-Stevens (MSA) Fishery Conservation and Management Act The MSA (first enacted in 1976, and amended in 1996 and 2006) is the primary law governing fisheries management in the U.S. (MSA). The MSA established eight regional councils with the primary responsibility of developing fishery management plans (FMPs) that comply with 10 National Standards designed to promote sustainable fisheries management. The MSA requires each regional management council to form a Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) to serve as the council’s scientific and technical advisory body, which assists with development, collection, evaluation, and peer review of biological, statistical, economic, social, and other scientific information. Each SSC provides “ongoing scientific advice for fishery management decisions, including recommendations for acceptable biological catch, preventing overfishing, maximum sustainable yield (msy), and achieving rebuilding targets, and reports on stock status and health, bycatch, habitat status, social and economic impacts of management measures and sustainability of fishing practices.(MSA)” The SSC typically includes economists, biologists, sociologists and natural resource attorneys who are knowledgeable about the technical aspects of Gulf fisheries. In addition to the primary Standing SSC for the GMFMC,  there is also a Special Shrimp SSC, which includes a representative from each of the five Gulf States. NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC), based in Miami, Florida, is the branch responsible for providing multi-disciplinary research to support management decisions of the GMFMC and NOAA Fisheries.SEFSC maintains labs in Galveston, TX; Lafayette, LA; Panama City, FL; Pascagoula,  MS; and Stennis, MS. SEFSC Research and Data programs are responsible for biological,  economic and socio-cultural research and data collection for commercial and recreational fisheries,  economics and fisheries-independent data. SEFSC conducts stock assessments for all species managed by GMFMC; stock assessments for shrimp are conducted through the Galveston Lab Shrimp Fishery Research Program. Federal regulations for commercial fishing are enforced by NOAA Fisheries,  the U.S. Coast Guard, and TPWD.

History of Management Changes

1981 – Implementation of Shrimp FMP by GMFMC.

1981 – Amendment 1 of the FMP provided the Regional Administrator (RA) of NMFS with the authority to adjust the size of the Tortugas Sanctuary or the extent of the Texas closure, or to eliminate either closure for one year.

1981 – Amendment 2 of the FMP updated catch and economic data in the FMP.

1984 – Amendment 3 of the FMP resolved another shrimp-stone crab gear conflict on the west central Florida coast.

1989 – Amendment 4 of the FMP identified problems that developed in the fishery and revised the objectives of the FMP accordingly. The annual review process for the Tortugas Sanctuary was simplified, and GMFMC’s and RA’s review for the Texas closure was extended to February 1st.

1989 – Amendment 5 of the FMP defined overfishing for Gulf brown, pink, and royal red shrimp and provided for measures to restore overfished stocks if overfishing should occur. Action on the definition of overfishing for white shrimp was deferred, and seabobs and rock shrimp were deleted from the management unit. This duration of the seasonal closure to shrimping off Texas was adjusted to conform with the changes in state regulations.

1993 – Amendment 6 eliminated the annual reports and reviews of the Tortugas Shrimp Sanctuary in favor of monitoring and an annual stock assessment. Three seasonally opened areas within the sanctuary continued to open seasonally, without need for annual action.

1994 – Amendment 7 defined overfishing for white shrimp and provided for future updating of overfishing indices for brown, white, and pink shrimp as new data became available. A total allowable level of foreign fishing (TALFF) for royal red shrimp was eliminated; however, a redefinition of overfishing for this species was disapproved.

1995 – Amendment 8, submitted in 1995 and implemented in early 1996, addressed management of royal red shrimp. It established a procedure that permits total allowable catch (TAC) for royal red shrimp to be set up to 30% above MSY for no more than two consecutive years so that a better estimate of MSY can be determined.

1997 – Amendment 9 addressed the issue of reducing the bycatch of juvenile red snapper in the shrimp trawl fishery.

2002 – Amendment 10 required the installation of NMFS-certified BRDs that reduce the bycatch of finfish by at least 30% by weight in each net used aboard vessels trawling for shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico EEZ east of Cape San Blas, Florida (85° 30” W. Longitude). Exceptions were made for vessels trawling for groundfish or butterfish. A single try net with a headrope length of 16 feet or less per vessel and no more than two rigid-frame roller trawls limited to 16 feet or less, such as those used in the Big Bend area of Florida are also exempted.

2002 – Amendment 11 required all vessels harvesting shrimp from the EEZ to obtain a commercial shrimp vessel permit from NMFS; prohibited the use of traps to harvest royal red shrimp from the EEZ; and prohibited the transfer or royal red shrimp at sea. Permits required 12/5/02.

2002 – Amendment 12 established two marine reserves in the EEZ in the vicinity of the Dry Tortugas, Florida known as Tortugas North and Tortugas South, in which fishing for coastal migratory pelagic species is prohibited. This action complements previous actions taken under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.

2005 – Amendment 13 established an endorsement to the existing federal shrimp vessel permit for vessels harvesting royal red shrimp; (2) defined MSY, optimum yield (OY), the overfishing threshold, and the overfished condition for royal red and penaeid shrimp stocks in the Gulf for stocks that currently lack such definitions; (3) established bycatch reporting methodologies and improved collection of shrimping effort data in the EEZ; (4) required completion of a Gulf Shrimp Vessel and Gear Characterization Form; (5) established a moratorium on the issuance of commercial shrimp vessel permits; and (6) required reporting and certification of landings during a moratorium. Action 10 would establish a moratorium on the issuance of new commercial shrimp vessel permits, which would be a form of limited access.

2006 – Regulatory amendment. The purpose of this regulatory amendment is to change the bycatch reduction certification criterion for red snapper from penaeid shrimp trawling in the EEZ. Revising the BRD certification criterion to address shrimp trawl bycatch more comprehensively and realistically is expected to increase flexibility, promote innovation, and allow for the certification of a wider variety of BRDs. Having a wider variety of BRDs available to the fishery would allow fishermen to choose the most effective BRD for the specific local fishing conditions and enhance overall finfish reduction.

2007 – Amendment 14 was part of the Joint Reef Fish Amendment 27/Shrimp Amendment 14. This Amendment established a target reduction goal for juvenile red snapper mortality of 74% less than the benchmark years of 2001-2003, reducing that target goal to 67% beginning in 2011, eventually reducing the target to 60% by 2032. If necessary, a seasonal closure in the shrimp fishery will occur in conjunction with the annual Texas closure. The need for a closure will be determined by an annual evaluation by the NMFS RA. The joint amendment also addresses overfishing and bycatch issues in both the red snapper directed fishery and the shrimp fishery.


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