The below information may be too 'terminology-complex' if you have not been following the NOAA meetings, but this is from an e-mail I received and if you are fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, you need to get interested in this stuff or you might be playing golf instead of fishing in the near future...FYI; there are entire groups of elitists, liberals, tree-huggers and others that do not want anyone to be fishing! If you don't believe this, then keep your head in the sand and improve your golf game.
Please read the report below. As you can see and based on the mrfss info I reported to some of you in mid Dec, the NMFS is now indicating that we will be over quota for red snapper again this year. When you add the headboat and Texas info look for at least 50% over quota. The Texas data will most likely be estimated based on their data from about 2 years ago as historically that is how their data is produced.
Bottom line, in my opinion and based on the alleged overage, it will be very difficult for Dr. Crabtree to give us a rec red snapper season of 4 months, even if all states comply with the fed rules, and at this time it appears Texas will maintain status quo. If the NMFS assumes we harvested 3.5 million pounds and were only allowed 2.45 million pounds and since the NMFS said we were over allocation in '07, then they will most likely have to adjust the number of days in '09 that will keep us within the 2.45 million pounds. As you see from the report below, the NMFS says we landed fewer, but larger fish this past year which is why we exceeded our allocation. Since most large fish come from the eez and the eez was only open 64 days, this is difficult to believe. Since the NMFS says that part of the reason the eez season is shorter is because FL, TX, and AL kept their waters open, one would properly assume the fish were not larger on average since state water fish are generally smaller than those harvested offshore.
If the current assumption by the NMFS that as the fishery rebounds we will see larger fish and since this past year we had the shortest season ever, then lookout for '09 as even if we fish a much shorter season the NMFS will show we caught a much larger fish which will add to the problem Dr. Crabtree will have in projecting the number of days we will get. None of this presents good news. It does, however, make a compelling argument to initiate the GOMARS proposal as soon as possible so that we begin to collect real time, accountable data for all recreational anglers.
Recreational: (Note: The Following Landings And Percentages Represent Only Waves 1-5 For The Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey, And Do Not Include Headboat Or Texas Landings.)
Red Snapper: Landings Are Estimated At 3,068,184 Pounds Or 125 Percent Of The Quota.
Preliminary Review Of The Landings Information Indicate Fewer But Larger Red Snapper Are Being
Harvested Compared To Previous Years.
Greater Amberjack And Gray Triggerfish: Approximately 76 Percent Of The Recreational Greater
Amberjack Recreational Quota Was Landed Through October, And More Than 88 Percent Of The
Recreational Annual Catch Limit (Acl) For Gray Triggerfish Was Landed.
Gag And Red Grouper: Amendment 30B Will Establish Acls For The Recreational Fishery For Both
Gag (2.59 Million Pounds) And Red Grouper (1.85 Million Pounds) For 2009. Through October
2008, Gag Landings Were At 101 Percent Of The Designated Acl, And 127 Percent Of The Designated
2.06 Million Pound Catch Target. Red Grouper Landings, Through October, Were Estimated At 42
Percent Of The Acl.
Seasonal Closures: A Recreational Closure For Gag From February 1 Through March 3 1 Is Enacted
In Federal Waters And Florida State Waters. A Federal Water Closure From February 15 Through
March 14 Is In Effect For Red And Black Groupers, But There Is No Recreational Closure For Red And
Black Grouper In Florida State Waters.
Active Permits As Of January 12,2009:
1,594 Moratorium Gulf Shrimp Permits And 282 Royal Red Shrimp Endorsements
1,3 14 For-Hire Coastal Pelagic Moratorium Permits; 40 Historical Captain Permits
1,452 Commercial King Mackerel Moratorium Permits (Includes South Atlantic)
(22 Commercial King Mackerel Gillnet)
1,47 1 Commercial Spanish Mackerel Permits (Includes South Atlantic)
1,285 For-Hire Reef Fish Moratorium Permits; 40 Historical Captain Permits
885 Commercial Reef Fish Moratorium Permits
Reef Fish Interim Rule: Because Gag Are Undergoing Overfishing, The Council Requested Noaa
Fisheries Service Implement An Interim Rule To Apply Harvesting Restrictions For Gag And Other
Reef Fish Species Undergoing Overfishing Until The Actions In Amendment 30B Can Be
Implemented. The Interim Rule, Effective January 1,2009, Includes The Following Temporary
Establishment Of A Commercial Quota And A 2-Fish Per Person Recreational Bag Limit For Gag.
Extension Of The Current Recreational Closure For Gag To February 1 Through March 31 (The
Recreational Closure For Red And Black Grouper Remains At February 15 To March 15).
= Requirement For All Vessels With Federal Reef Fish Permits To Comply With The More
Restrictive Of State Or Federal Regulations When Fishing For Gag, Greater Amberjack, Gray
Triggerfish, And Red Snapper In State Waters.
The 5-Grouper Aggregate Recreational Bag Limit Remains In Effect Under Interim Regulations. For
Red Grouper, The Bag Limit In Federal Waters Remains At 1 Fish Per Person. In Florida State Waters,
The Red Grouper Bag Limit Is 2 Fish Per Person.