General Fishery Comment (Responses)
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TimestampFull Nameemail addressCity, State, Zip CodeCheck all that applySubjectComments
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1/4/2018 11:24:23John Paivajpaiva@verizon.netApollo Beach, FL
Private Recreational Angler
Red Snapper
Dear Gulf Coast Council Member,

I just wanted to provide some additional information in regard to the Red Snapper meeting on January 18th, 2018 in Tampa, FL.. I live in Apollo Beach, Florida. Like many other locations along the west coast, we are 45 - 60 miles from Red Snapper habitat. That equates to a two hour plus boat ride when the weather/ wind conditions allow the “average” recreational angler to access these fishing grounds. Next, add the fact that most of us work and therefore we can only go fish for Red Snapper on a very, very, infrequent basis. Now, add that the fuel cost of this trip alone is on average over $400.00 not to mention the tackle, food, drinks, and a full day away from family … it’s quite a commitment.

Now, let me inform you of my last two offshore trips (November 26th and December 31st) which were for Grouper, Mangrove Snapper, and other species. The problem was in every spot in 120 feet of water and deeper that we fished, we could not get past the Red Snapper! On the first trip we caught and released over 40+ Red Snapper all over the min. size limit and many up to 20 lbs. - the average size was approximently 8 lbs.. On our second trip we caught and released over 25+ Red Snapper. Again, they were all over the min. size limit with several were over 15lbs..

We need serious regulatory reform regarding Red Snapper and the recreational angler. I believe Red Snapper should be open year round for recreational anglers in areas along the west coast where the accessibility alone is a major restrictive component as noted above. We are not the cause of Red Snapper stock depletion! Furthermore, the two examples of my recent offshore trips, and my experience fishing offshore two or three times earlier in the year - when I was fortune enough to go offshore fishing - attest to the health of our Red Snapper Stocks off the Central West Coast of Florida.


Thank you in advance for correcting this atrocity that has befallen the average recreational angler.


Best Regards,

John M. Paiva
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1/8/2018 11:35:53Bob Zalesbobzales2@gmail.comPanama City, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Amberjack discussion in Reef Fish Committee
Leann and Johnny,

On behalf of the many charter for hire vessel owners I represent across the Gulf I respectfully request more time be added to the amberjack discussion in the reef fish committee. As you both know the aj issue is very controversial and I respectfully submit that the council discussion at the Oct meeting was incomplete. As per the council minutes, in particular pages 180 thru 195, there is much discussion about potential impacts of differential bag limits and a split quota for the spring and fall seasons. In fact Andy Strelcheck stated, after the council vote on the framework, that their preliminary analysis on the estimate of harvest reduction that could be achieved by a 1 fish per 2 angler bag limit was 38% and he goes on to state that would be significant.

I strongly suggest that had the council been provided that information prior to the vote to change the fishing year the outcome could have been very different. Changing the bag limit to achieve harvest reductions in addition to a split quota for the spring and fall seasons could very well accomplish the goal of providing access to amberjack for the whole Gulf. These scenarios need the full attention of the council and input from the stakeholders as y’all have certainly heard and seen the importance of the amberjack fishery to the charter for hire fleet.

As is stated in the minutes recreational anglers have suffered through no access to amberjack by no fault of their own as they strive to comply with all the regulations placed on them. Accountability measures and other issues have resulted in limited quotas and now we even have a 26 day season due to the fact that the NOAA/NMFS failed to implement the new regulations in a proper and timely fashion. Anglers are certainly not at fault for this failure.

We strongly feel that the whole amberjack issue discussed and acted on at the last meeting was rushed and ore time is needed to address the major concerns. Amberjack are prosecuted in various ways on a variety of vessels and in different charter operations. Everything possible should be considered by the council in your efforts to properly manage this fish. Since the current committee agenda ends at 3:30 pm we see no reason why time cannot be added for more discussion. Please consider our request.

Thanks

Capt. Bob Zales, II
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1/8/2018 11:37:29Tom Adams
tomadams@mexicobeachcharters.com
Mexico Beach, FL 32456
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Amberjack Season
We desperatly need a spring and fall Amberjack season!! Please consider all the new info before voting in New Orleans.
As you know the aj issue is very controversial, and at the council discussion at the Oct meeting, the information was incomplete. As per the council minutes, in particular pages 180 thru 195, there is much discussion about potential impacts of differential bag limits and a split quota for the spring and fall seasons. In fact Andy Strelcheck stated, after the council vote on the framework, that their preliminary analysis on the estimate of harvest reduction that could be achieved by a 1 fish per 2 angler bag limit was 38% and he goes on to state that would be significant. That 38% should be plenty for a split season


Thanks.

Capt. Tom Adams
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1/19/2018 14:09:25Michael Pulismikesmac2@att.netRed Snapper
Dear sirs;
I understand the need to regulate certain species of fish to prevent overfishing to the point of
extinction. However, the volume taken by commercial concerns is far greater than that taken by
private recreational fishermen. Commercial boats take all they can hold, and they keep any size.
I have seen videos of commercial boats with 12,000 to 15,000 pounds of fish with some as little
as 8 to 10 inches. This makes no sense in the effort to avoid overfishing the red snapper population.
They have no season, and the charter boats have a 49 day season while the private boat has only
3 days, and if the weather is a factor, too bad.
If the council truly wants to reestablish the snapper population they should make regulations
apply to all concerned. That would hamper the fishing industry, but that would be the price they
would have to pay for the extreme number of fish they take without any control.
Lets see all fishermen be subject too the same rules.
Thanks
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1/23/2018 7:51:14Tom Adams
4tomadams@gmail.com
Mexico Beach, FL 32456
Fishing Seasons
One scenario many of us have discussed among ourselves as well with some council and nmfs folks is a way to set a fishing season of 6 months or a little more. As you know between 2000 and 2006 we had a 6 month red snapper season from April thru Oct with a 4 fish bag limit. Most of us are now to the point that while we believe a 6 month red snapper season at 2 fish is possible under current msa requirements most likely won’t happen. But, we do see a 6 or 7 month fishing season being highly possible. One scenario could be along with vermilion snapper, red grouper, and other snappers and reef fish that are mostly open year round along with king and Spanish mackerel, cobia and other pelagics if you open trigger fish in Mar and Apr, AJ in possibly Apr and May, at least May, red snapper in June and July along with gag grouper opening on June 1, aj again in Aug and at least Sept thru Oct with trigger fish open again in Sept that we could see a fishing season of 6 to 7 months as something that the public desires to target would be open during that period. As fish species improve, which they will, then more days can be added to their respective seasons. This type of fish management is possible today and with such a season possible the economic impacts for fishermen and communities greatly improve and the adversarial feelings by those of us in the industry are greatly reduced.
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1/29/2018 7:38:20Rob Robinette
robbie.robinette5681@icloud.com
Panama City, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
I am writing you today before the meeting in New Orleans to give you are thoughts. My name is Rob Robinette and I am representing Gotta Believe Charters from Panama City Beach, Florida. The "Gotta Believe" is a Six pack vessel with a Federal Permit for Charter. We are members of both Panama City Boatsman's Association and NACO. First we are against Catch Shares for Red Snapper and any other fish. Don't believe in the system and never will. Second we would like the Amberjack season to stay on its current calendar year period of January-December. We are not against the fractional bag limit idea of 1 fish per 2 people with no increase in size limit. Basically Spring/Fall season before and after Red Snapper season. We are looking for as many days possible to stretch fishing outside of Red Snapper. Third and I am not sure if you are getting into this at this meeting is Vermillion Snapper. I saw on one of the email we received was a idea to lower the Total allowable Catch limit on Vermillion Snapper. They are not over fished nor not ongoing overfishing. Basically no problems. Unless you lower the TAC and create a problem. Why? Why create another problem when you have so many others not resolved. We ask for a little common sense in the Fishery Management side. We are not the best fisherman's nor do we have the best boat. We just want a fair system and we will be competitive. Thanks for your time. Captain Rob Robinette
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2/2/2018 7:25:49Daryl Carpenter
reelscreamersft@aol.com
Louisiana
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Historical Captain Permits
The Louisiana Charter Fleet is in support of consideration of taking the few Historical Captain permits and converting them to full permit privileges. The moratorium was originally put into place to “cap” the participation of charter boats in the Gulf Fishery. Since then it has served to not only cap but to also greatly reduced the fleet. The few Historical Permits that remain active have just as much invested in the industry as anyone else and should have the security to know that their permits are a part of their investment.
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7/31/2017 11:06:39Bob Zalesbobzales2@gmail.comPanama City Beach, FLCharter/Headboat For-HireThe Gulf of Mexico Membership I represent for the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) and the Panama City Boatmen Association (PCBA) have serious concerns over recent Gulf Council and NMFS actions and proposed actions. These folks have asked why the newly appointed members to serve on the Council will not be taking their respective seats and be able to fully participate and vote on issues at the August meeting as all previous appointees have over the more than 30 years I have attended Gulf Council meetings. I have explained that their terms begin on August 11 and the members whose terms end do so on August 10, the last day of the August Council meeting. They ask why the Aug meeting was set so the new appointees would not be able to serve as they have in the past.

I fully understand the council process and have tried to explain that the Chair persons of the Council select the locations of the meetings and have some input as to the dates of the meetings and some locations and dates have been previously selected a year or two ago. I also have told them I have been told by council staff that the Aug meeting location and dates were selected by the past Chairman and apparently they were not aware of the MSA required dates for old members to end their terms and new members to begin theirs so although in all previous years the Aug meeting was set so new members would be able to take their oath and fully participate, this Aug meeting was not set up for this. Some have also asked why the San Antonio hotel block of rooms was set from Aug 3 thru 15 for meeting dates from Aug 7 thru 10 and I have told them I have no answer for that unless the previous Chairman and/or staff had some reason to visit San Antonio in addition to Council business. Clearly since the room block extends into the week after the currently scheduled meeting, the meeting could have been set so new members could fully participate.

A prime concern for those I represent are the issues scheduled for final action at the Aug meeting. These include final action on future greater amberjack seasons and quota adjustments, final actions on proposed referendums for amendments 41 (charter boat proposed catch share management) and 42 (headboat proposed catch share management). In previous emails I have explained the concern about greater amberjack final actions and our strong recommendation to move that action to the Biloxi Oct meeting with all the rationale that will allow the issue to be moved to that date. Here I will attempt to explain our extremely serious concern about taking any final action on any proposed referendums to initiate any type of catch share system on the federally permitted for hire charter/headboat sectors.

As previously expressed, explained, and requested in many prior communications over the last several years we strongly suggest that the vast majority of Gulf fed permitted for hire charter/headboat owners do not want any type of catch share system. We have requested multiple times for a simple and not expensive survey be sent to the 1300 + - permit owners to find out if over 50% support a catch share program. Such a simple survey has never been sent. Over the past several years the NMFS/Council has spent untold tax dollars and many days and months of staff time working to impose a catch share system on a fleet that does not want it. Now, the NMFS/Council has scheduled final action for the Aug meeting on the two proposed referendums that no one from the public, and especially from the fed permitted owner universe, has been able to review until July 21, 2017 with final action scheduled on Aug 10, 2017. In addition, the proposed referendum for amendment 41 does not even include any Texas for hire data!!! Are the Texas vessel owners to be simply grandfathered in or do they receive special quota allocation?

This attempt to take final action on two such important issues that will forever affect the vessel owners and sector is ill-conceived and borders on complete irresponsibility at best and shows the NMFS/Council agenda to force a style of management on fishers at worst. The facts that the majority of the vessel owners affected do not want such management, the extremely late production of the documents to be finalized that will have less than 4 weeks to review and study in order to provide any type of reasonable comment, and the lack of complete data to review shows the fast track of the NMFS/Council agenda that completely ignores the will of those affected most. So all understand, the proposed referendums are not simple proposed regulations that may change yearly or seasonally like most regulations that affect what we are able to harvest, when and how. The most important decision a person who enters the for hire charter/headboat business will make is to enter the business or not. The next most important decision that person will make will be to support or not a catch share program that will affect that business for ever. Trying to make such an important decision on the proposed document in such a short period of time and based on incomplete data is, frankly, plain irresponsible. As members of the Council, the staff, the staff of the NMFS, and others working on this agenda, surely you would not make such an important decision that will affect you and your family’s future on such a presentation.

The final action proposed for the referendums must be moved to the Biloxi Oct meeting to be fair to the vessel owners who will be affected the most. We strongly urge the NMFS/Council, as we have in the past, to eliminate further discussion on this issue and move to working on more important management issues.

Sincerely,

Capt. Bob Zales, II
President
NACO
PCBA


Capt. Bob Zales, II

www.fishpc.com
PH 850-763-7249
Fax 850-763-3558
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1/25/2018Bob JonesSoutheastern Fisheries AssociationotherGreetings:
Southeastern Fisheries Association is obligated to call the imbalance of representation on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to the attention of Congress. Once before in the early 1980s the coastal conservation association was able to remove many of the people associated with the seafood industry and stack the council with recreational activists. Florida did not have a commercial representative on the Gulf Council for 13 years. That's how powerful cca was.
When SFA called this imbalance to the attention of NOAA/NMFS last year they determined the Gulf Council was well balanced and did not accept our observation. Maybe they will this time.
There are only three commercial fishing seats on the Council out of 17. Only Mrs. Bosarge is engaged in the seafood industry on a direct and daily basis. Mr. Swindell and Mr. Sanchez are from a commercial fishing background and are excellent and honest members that need to remain on the Council. The Council is stacked in opposition to commercial fishing. If there is no commercial fishing, millions of seafood consumers that depend on us to bring their fair share of the fish to the market will be denied access to a resource that is there for all the people.
If we had the financial resources we would already have brought this to federal court. That seems to be the only way to break-up the current imbalance unless Secretary Ross steps in.
Thank you for any assistance you can give to protect our ability to produce seafood which creates wealth for the nation.
Sincerely,
Bob Jones on behalf of Southeastern Fisheries Association. 01/25/18
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02/01/2018Dylan Hubbarddylanhubbard@hubbardsmarina.comMadeira Beach, FL 33708Charter/Headboat For-HireRed GrouperLetter to the Gulf of Mexico fishery management council
January 31st, 2018
By: Capt. Dylan Hubbard, Hubbard’s Marina – MREP graduate

Hello, my name is Captain Dylan Hubbard and my family business has been fishing central west coast of Florida for nearly 90 years and four generations, plus I am a recent MREP graduate. We operate 6 federally permitted vessels both charter and head boats, and I represent the Florida Guides association as their offshore director.
Red Grouper
There is no great dilemma surrounding the red grouper fishery according to the SSC, made clear by their lack of recommendation on interim action. We urge the council to wait until standard stock assessment for red grouper in seadar 61 is completed before assessing any action on the red grouper fishery.
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02/01/2018Dylan Hubbarddylanhubbard@hubbardsmarina.comMadeira Beach, FL 33708Charter/Headboat For-HireMREP ProgramLetter to the Gulf of Mexico fishery management council
January 31st, 2018
By: Capt. Dylan Hubbard, Hubbard’s Marina – MREP graduate

Hello, my name is Captain Dylan Hubbard and my family business has been fishing central west coast of Florida for nearly 90 years and four generations, plus I am a recent MREP graduate. We operate 6 federally permitted vessels both charter and head boats, and I represent the Florida Guides association as their offshore director.
MREP program
I had a great experience with the workshops and programs and I look forward to being involved again in 2018. One of the most glaring items learned at that workshop is that the gulf council, south Atlantic council, and Caribbean council all share one science center. If you include the HMS and sharks its like were sharing one science center with 5 councils while on the pacific coast there’s two science centers to one council! For the health of our fishery and sustainability of the gulf we need more readily updated assessments and more robust data sets which can only be accomplished with added science centers.
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02/05/2018Bob Zales
bobzales2@gmail.com
Panama City, FLCharter/Headboat For-HireACL/ACT Calculation ToolAll,
After my email was sent last night I have received several responses from fed permitted charter vessel owners and some from current members of the ad hoc AP regarding the attached excel decision tool. Apparently this excel tool was provided, although according to several on the AP reluctantly, at a meeting in New Orleans a couple of years ago. I am told that Sue Gerhart provided the tool. As with all AP meetings a council member was present so we know that at least 2 people between NMFS and the Council were fully aware of the tool and the ability to use it to provide a simple way to inform fed permitted vessel owners of how much red snapper quota they could possibly expect to receive, sort of a ballpark representation. Such information has been requested by me and others many times over the years yet there has been no effort by the NMFS or Council to provide such to the fed permitted owners, and to the general public. One must ask the question, has this tool been purposely hidden from the public due to the constant efforts by the NMFS and several Council members who have actively pushed for catch shares in all fisheries as a way to further reduce capacity or is it simply a failure to properly inform the public. There is a reason.

Such information is critical to any decision making to support or not any proposed IFQ, PFQ, or any other catch share type program that gifts fishing quota for private ownership. As you can fully understand had such information been provided in the past couple of years, any reasonable minded person, especially someone who depends on fish to operate their business, most likely would have supported ending further discussion on A41/42 thus enabling the NMFS/Council to concentrate their time and tax dollars on more important issues.

There has has been an argument by a few that providing quota to individuals would ensure they would always have guaranteed quota and would not have to worry about lost days should the total rec quota be reduced. This is a mute argument since in any gifted IFQ program once the initial poundage is provided it immediately is converted to a percentage of the total quota and then the poundage increases or decreases depending on the total quota available. This means if fishing days are lost under a seasonal situation because the quota is reduced then the poundage gifted also is reduced if the quota is reduced as the percentage remains the same but poundage is reduced.

I strongly recommend that the excel tool be expanded, and surely for folks that are good in creating such tools can do so pretty quick, to include the impact on what poundage could be available for greater amberjack, trigger fish, red and gag grouper. Such information will go far to providing the data needed for people to make an informed decision on their fishing future. Such a simple tool can provide the means for folks to decide if they want the council to continue to waste time and money on this issue or end it. The reason you have heard from so many to end further action is they have used the tool and see they will lose 60% or more of what they currently harvest under the currently increasing number of fishing days. Plain and simple.

Bob
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01/23/2018Shane Cantrellshane.cantrell@iCloud.comGalveston, TXCharter/Headboat For-HireMrs. Leanne Bosarge, Chairwoman
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
2203 North Lois Ave
Tampa, FL 33607
Dr. Roy Crabtree, Southeast Regional Administrator
National Marine Fisheries Service
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Dear Chairwoman Bosarge,
The Charter Fisherman's Association is the largest federally permitted charter for-hire
organization in the region. Our organization is focused on working respectfully within the
fishery management process toward realistic solutions to problems facing the
recreational fishery and charter for hire industry. We appreciate the opportunity to
provide input and comments on a variety of fishery issues before the Gulf Council: Transparency in Red Snapper Fishing Seasons
Since the recreational sector has been lawfully divided into separate private angling and
charter-for-hire components, there has been a continually emerging disparity and lack of
transparency in the established seasons being set for the charter-for-hire component.
The private angler component is the only sector in the Gulf of Mexico that continues to
have open access; every other sector has limited access. The Gulf States deliberately
exploit the open access nature of the private angler component by setting noncompliant
fishing seasons in state waters that result in undermined federal
management:
• The private angler component must be held solely responsible for paying back their
annual overages.
• The for-hire component has less management uncertainty and, therefore, should face
different accountability measures than the private angler component.
• The current structure of buffers and accountability measures is causing an unlawful
de facto reallocation from the for-hire component to the private 1 angler component. Thank you for your consideration of these comments.
Sincerely,
Shane Cantrell
Executive director
Charter Fisherman’s Association
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02/12/2018Erik Larson
elfatboy22@gmail.com
Clearwater Beach, FLHello,

I have not been involved with the politics of our fishery since the embarrassing "goliath grouper workshop" a few springs ago. When I saw this email regarding the study of the abundance of red snapper in the gulf I couldn't stop myself from sending you a message.

I catch red snapper daily in 30 to 40ft of water. It's difficult to catch anything else. When is the council going to acknowledge that the science/ management is having a negative effect on the fishery and the livelihood of all that depend on it? Magnusson Stevenson is really doing a great job of destroying our fishery.

Now I'm told by the geniuses with PhDs that Obama left us a gift of aquaculture? Should I start freshwater charters? I'm about done with thinking that things will improve.

I don't need a response from you, just needed to vent before I exploded. Have no idea how you can listen to the "experts" daily and still be hanging on to your sanity.

Captain Erik Larson
Clearwater Beach Florida
Gag capital of the world(can't keep them though)
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