Framework Action - Commercial Greater Amberjack (Responses)
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5/30/2019 16:42:22james zurbrickjim@jollyrogersii.comsteinhatchee fl 32359
Commercial Fisher, NGO
Having been involved with the Amberjack rebuilding process for many years this has been one of the most disappointing attempts at obtaining a non over-fished/over fishing status. It is the opinion of most who follow this issue, Reef Fish Advisory and council staff that this fish needs to be treated as a by-catch commercial fishery. That is why I have publicly stated at council meetings many times that a 500 lb trip limit with a 250 lb after 75% of quota caught is the best solution. Remember, this is a by-catch discard mortality nightmare because the season is generally open only 2 months. This is my opinion as it relates to the Commercial sector as the Recreational sector needs to find their own solution.
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5/30/2019 16:53:05Brett Borgesbrett@nofh.comNew Orleans, LAOther
My vote is for Alternative 1 or “No change”

As a dealer and supplier of Amberjack throughout the Gulf Coast region, anything less than 1500# per trip is inconsequential. Lowering the limit would only allow a few restaurants to use AJ during a run. Lowering the limit would also cause prices to rise as the fishermen would still spend the same amount on fuel etc as they would for 1500#.

Please mark me down for Alternative 1 or “No Change”.
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5/30/2019 18:25:47Mark Easonmark@nofh.comNew Orleans, LAOtherMY VOTE IS FOR ALTERNATIVE 1 OR NO CHANGE
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6/3/2019 15:52:13Eric Brazer
eric@shareholdersalliance.org
NGOhttps://drive.google.com/open?id=1WgElbYCOBXFLUMtMde19CCQ0VgJv8RAr
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6/3/2019 20:39:31Kindra Arnesen
Kindraarnesen@gmail.com
Buras La. 70041Commercial Fisher
Any change to the daily trip limit of Greater Amberjack should be held off until the season is closed and fishers have the opportunity to address the potential changes. We are currently fishing for Amberjack and attending the meeting would require shutting our operations down.
To address the discussion, we currently target Amberjack out of Venice Louisiana and deliver our catch to New Orleans Louisiana, where people from all over the nation have an opportunity to access this species through the restaurant and or market. Any reduction to the daily allowable limit would cause a significant impact to our business model. We have done all we can to adapt from the 2000 lb limit the the current 1500 lb limit. Reducing our daily limit by a third or more would eliminate fishers like ourselves that harvest Amberjack from doing so. This fishery carries our business for an entire quarter of the year. We can not afford any reduction when it comes to our daily limit. Please consider leaving the daily limit at 1500 pounds.
Thank you
Kindra Arnesen
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6/5/2019 13:25:10Kindra Arnesen
kindraarnesen@gmail.com
Venice, LA
Hi Mr. Banks,
I have been listening to the webinar airing the Gulf Council meeting. I'm very concerned about any reduction to the daily limit of Amberjack. Just a few years ago we were hit with a 25% reduction to our daily limit taking us from 2000 lb per day to the current 1500 lb per day. Overall our total allowable quota was reduced after the 2015 stock assessment. Please keep in mind the 2015 stock assessment is not reflective of what is out there today. We have seen a large increase in respect to all species since that assessment. The 2015 stock assessment was done 5 years following the BP oil spill. That was when we seen the biggest crash in available fish. I'm happy to say the fisheries have been on an incline since the assessment in 2015 in respect to reef fish. With that said we need a updated stock assessment. I believe with a new stock assessment both sectors would be able to harvest more fish. With an increase in quota and keeping the daily limit of Amberjack at 1500 the season duration would be lengthened. I would like to discuss this further please call asap. I don't know if you remember but we've spoken before concerning the fin fish task force. I really need to know what the next step is on this issue if I have to drive from Venice La tonight for public comment tomorrow I can. Please advise. Our preference is to keep the Amberjack as a intended targeted fishery not as a bycatch. Any additional change to this fishery would be better served after the next scheduled stock assessment.
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6/6/2019 14:08:23Tracy Kuhns
tracy.gofishcoalition@gmail.com
Barataria, LA 70036NGOhttps://drive.google.com/open?id=1IvtHijnxIvZC2brGYPk_Z11-F9qVR2KC
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6/6/2019 14:14:27Kelia Paul
libraslovecharters@gmail.com
Panama City Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Thank you for allowing me to speak over my time yesterday, but despite that there were a few more topics I would have of liked to have time to discuss. I have included those below, and appreciate the Council's hard work and dedication to our industry. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Commercial Amberjack, this is one of two topics I’m most passionate about. I hear you. The fishery is rebuilding and we need to be mindful of that while maintaining our livelihoods. For the commercial trip limits, we were some of the few to plead with you to not cut our trip limits by 2/3rds because we depend on those stronger fish in the colder winter months. I don’t remember who said it, but they were right, the reducing the trip limit to 500 lbs will drastically drive down the market price because the fish houses won’t want to deal with that small amount of weight. That being said, my preference would be Alternative 6: 1,000 until 75% ACT harvested, then 250is acceptable.

For recreational Amberjack, we have to have a May season. We lost so many trips this year, and the ones we did get were extremely hard to sell on beeliners and spanish mackerel. Again, I understand that we’re under a rebuilding plan and we want to protect the fishery, but we have got to have that season. I’m in support of the AP’s suggested motion for the split season. Something has to give with this, we just need a May season. I know that fractional bag limits are not everyone’s preference, but I’m not against it if it gets us the season we so desperately need. Added 6/6: I fully support BJ Burkett’s plea with the council to change the fishing year back to January 1 to ensure a Spring Season. No other fishery begins in August, and it makes no sense to keep it that way. Also, I understand that the Western Gulf did not have the opportunity to catch as much as we did in the panhandle, but in changing our year you’ve shifted that lack of season to us rather than creating an amicable solution. The statement was made that the weather was too rough for those boats to fish for Amberjack
recreationally until the spring, and I understand that, but it does not mean that we had the ability to do so just because the season opened in January. On the contrary, we do not have a tourist season those months, and due to those tourist seasons which drive our industry, we too were unable to harvest Amberjack until the Spring. I believe the split season and the season start change will accomplish that.
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6/7/2019 21:52:17D W MacMahon
uwheadhunter@verizon.net
Spring Hill FL 34610Commercial Fisher
I support option #4. This fishery has become a derby fishery that is usually only open 2 months per year or a little more. Dropping the trip limit to 500 pounds should keep the fishery open for the majority of the year and bring increased dockside prices. Which will also mostly eliminate the derby fishing mess we have now.
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4/1/2019 22:40:22Kelia Paul
kelia@charterfishpanamacitybeach.com
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
Charter/Headboat For-Hire, Commercial Fisher
For 2.1 Action 1 my preferred recommendation is Alternative 1 no action, with Alternative 2 as my 2nd preference. In the background of the document it states: "Greater amberjack are rarely a target species by the commercial sector but are caught while targeting other reef fish." This is untrue for those of us who are dual permit holders in the Panhandle of Florida. We do target those fish in the tougher and colder winter months as the other species are not as aggressive with the colder water temperatures. However, we do not fish for them in the summer months when they open back up. Reducing the trip limit would place an unnecessary economical strain on us. If a reduction must be made, we could only afford to do so by the 500 lbs proposed in Alternative 2.
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6/12/18William Copelandflcfuinc@gmail.comNew Port Richey, FLNGOThe Florida Commercial Fisheries United Inc (FLCFU) is a non-profit corporation with the mission to support the interests of Florida's commercial fishing industry, promote sustainable fisheries policies, and advocate on behalf of commercial fishermen, fishing businesses, and consumers of saltwater products. The FLCFU hereby submits, in priority order, the following comments, concerns, and recommendations for your consideration:
FLCFU supports change in both the commercial and recreational Greater Amberjack fisheries.
a. The recreational sector routinely exceeds their ACL. To help control recreational harvest, the Council should consider requiring a tag to recreationally harvest or possess a Greater Amberjack and/or impose a one fish per vessel daily bag limit.
b. FLCFU supports a decrease in the trip limit for commercial harvest of Greater Amberjack to 500 pounds. This will extend the season for commercial harvest, reduce derby fishing, and provide a longer and more consistent supply of fresh amberjack to markets and restaurants.
Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend the June 2018 Key West Gulf Council meeting and will therefore be unable to discuss these issues with you in person at the meeting. Please contact me via phone or email if you would like to discuss anything in further detail.
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