General Fishery Comment (Responses)
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TimestampFull Nameemail addressCity, State, Zip CodeCheck all that applySubjectComments
1/8/2020 8:47:36Ted Safariancrookedhook2018@gmail.comCommercial FisherSpanish MackerelI appreciate the Gulf Council's involvement in our fisheries but quite surprised there is no concern for the Spanish Mackeral.

It is my belief that a 15 fish recreational limit is adequate. However, I am concerned there is no minimum size to classify this fish as a "keeper". In Florida, and North Carolina, which are a couple of states I fish in addition to Alabama, the minimum is 12 inches to the fork. I feel this should be implemented. After witnessing fishermen keeping Spanish which were very small, it is just a matter of time when someone or agency takes notice. As a commercially licensed fisherman,it is my responsibility to take steps so our children and grandchildren can enjoy what we have been doing for many years. I thank you for your time.


Ted Safarian
Slice of Life Sport Fishing
423 448 1665
1/27/2020 9:45:02Eric Brazereric@shareholdersalliance.orgGalveston, TXNGOFKNMS
1/27/2020 9:59:18Catherine Brugercbruger@oceanconservancy.orgSt. Petersburg, FLNGOAmendment 50
2/3/2020 8:31:20
BOCC Santa Rosa County FL
n/aMilton, FLOtherRed Snapper/ State Management
2/3/2020 14:39:16Eric Schmidtn/aOtherAfrican Pompano
2/11/2020 7:38:20BOCC Walton Countyn/aOtherRed Snapper
3/6/2020 11:35:50L2laura.m462@yahoo.comFranklinOtherStop all fish trawls. Stop all fish trawls. Stop all fish trawls in the state of Louisiana. They are decimating all fish catches. Including red fish and speckled trout. Wake up Louisiana. This a tragic way of wiping out everyone's fish in a matter of. One hour drags from shrimp boats. I've seen this go on for years. When they open the fish bag. All you see is reddish and black drum fish. The shrimp boats are following the sand. Also booms and giant trawls tickle chains are ripping those oyster reefs apart. Fish trawls are destroying everyone's fish. Stop stop these fish trawls. I'm old. Louisiana outdoors future needs to be protected. Seen too much in my life when it comes to outdoors. Stop the tooo easiest way of slaughtering everyone's fish. Outlaw these fish trawls now. My grandkids won't have anything thing left for them. Stop stop these easy fish net catchers.
4/15/2020 15:38:48Gilbert Brogangbrogan@oceana.orgWayland, MA 01778NGOEmergency Rulemaking
5/12/2020 11:15:09Kay Williamshkwb1951@yahoo.comSOPPS`Question: SOPP. Standard Operation of policy and procedure

Comments. Nothing is standard about this virus Covid 19.

The Secretary of Commerce had to approve our SOPP’s .

Would the Secretary have to approve this change to the SOPP’s ? If so how long would this take ? Wouldn’t the full council have to meet in order for this measure to be approved?

The public may not have the means to participate by webinar. In the past listening stations were made available and I am not sure about the comments if any were made or allowed . However the same would apply as far as being exposed if that is a concern. Both for the public and those on the council.

Will those from the public be allowed the same considerations? This would mean setting up public input by webinar! Also holding public hearings by webinar .

Would like to hear discussion on this !

We as a nation have been opened up and guidelines given.
Rather than change your SOPPS

Perhaps the members that have concerns should wear a mask and gloves . The public is six feet away from the members anyway. The public only has 3 minutes for input and without holding meetings in person . The public had no way of sharing information with the members .

In the past webinar was a concern that the voting members voting from home may not be paying attention and state directors may be interrupted!!!!!

This still applies today!

Thank you
Kay Williams
5/13/2020 14:44:21Warner Fosterjwkillntime@gmail.comPensacola, FL
Private Recreational Angler
Vermilion SnapperMs. Emily,
This is a comment concerning the up coming meeting concerning Vermillion Snapper. I am a recreational fisherman in the Gulf off Panama City. During the last several years have seen a marked decrease in number and size of Vermillion snapper. Five years ago we were catching 14 to 20 inch Vermillion Snapper but not any more. Vermillion Snapper and White Snapper are the go to fish for charter boats before the Red Snapper season opens. The charters are bringing in strings of 10" Vermillion snapper.
Personally feel the size and limits should be reduced.
Thank you,
Warner Foster
6/16/2020 10:15:53Eric Brazereric@shareholdersalliance.orgNGOCommercial ELBs
6/18/2020 8:35:40Steve
Private Recreational Angler
Amendment 42 Hi Emily this is Steve Perkins I screwed up today as I tried to call in but didn’t realize it was eastern time zone so it was 12:20 instead of 1:20 my I missed out very disappointed.. so I guess I will give my talk to you hoping you pass it on to the members..First I’m with the group of snowbirds with Jeff & Rusty who talked today..
We tried to cover all our issues as far as what we give to the Gulf coast which Rusty is so good at pointing out. You know we are all retired & worked hard to be able to go south for the winter months.
As we are all fishermen who go out on headboats & Charters to be able to catch the fish we would love to take back to our condo & eat.. but of course we don’t have the opportunity for Red Snapper or My favorite Triggerfish which is the main point I want to go over. You have taken that away from us snowbirds. Now we are in agreement not to over fish but we if we are there can’t keep triggerfish until March 1st when most of us are leaving to go home.. so bottom line is you give all the limits to the recreation fishermen for Red Snapper & Triggerfish all we ask is to give us 1 of their days which give us a week or two for Snapper & for Triggerfish a week in January & February while we are there.. I don’t think that’s asking too much..
without us snowbirds the Gulf coast would be a ghost town.. so please consider helping in our plight to catch what we desire...and for the council member if we say we surf fish he always ask what do you catch & how much like that’s enough for us well for that member.. it’s the winter months so you never know what the weather will be either on surf or on the head boats or charters.. so give us at least a chance before we are too old to go south. We give so much why can’t you!!! Thank you Emily hope the council understands our plight... Snowbirds for the fishery!!!! Sincerely Steven Perkins
6/24/2020 11:31:41Hadley Weaverhweaver@sswce.comRed Snapper I would like to propose a tag system for snapper for recreational private boaters:
Anyone buying a salt water license would receive a designated number of tags to be zip locked to any retained snapper as soon as they are placed in boat.
Non transferable, must be called in Upon return to shore, Tag matches license holder name. stiff fines And penalty if caught with untagged fish. Unused tags called in at end of” season”
Can still impose daily limit And size limit but lengthen season to several months to eliminate the mad snapper rush.
It’s the sure way of keeping up with the annual catch.

6/24/2020 12:15:30Mike Fortunatoufg8rmike@hotmail.comFL
Private Recreational Angler
Red Snapper
Thought I would take the time to write in for the 1st time. I've enjoyed fishing the resurgence of Gulf Red snapper over the past several years.
Being able to actually go out and catch some nice size fish worthwhile of the long runs has been nice for a change.

I fish out of the Anclote River Area of Central FL and made it out to 95ft, and had a great opening day limit of nice size fish. I fish and dive so I'm able to actually see what's going on down below, we dove the spot prior to leaving and noted many (Over 150) large and school size snapper. We made a second trip out to the same spot this past sat the 20th and I've never been so disappointed. We managed only 6 fish for the day and dove 3 spots just to see what was down there, only to find the red snapper nearly completely wiped out in just over a week (with a large storm preventing ppl from making it out on the 13th-14th). Our trip in, provided a parking lot on every single other number we have along the entire 60 mile run home. We fished several areas and caught 0 gags, only 12" red grouper, and saw few if any tiny hogfish. We fished several large hard bottom red grouper areas, that were also littered with boats, not a single keeper size red grouper was caught in 95-110ft.
The hogfish catch over the past 5 years has been completely decimated.

I hate to say it but all of our target species in this area are severely overfished. I've been fishing these waters my entire life and understand the gags are mostly offshore in deeper waters this time of year but we just don't have enough bottom structure for the number of boats out here. With the technology, more and more boats are making it further and further out with no "secret" spots left. The fish are getting hammered.
It would be nice to allow a private reef ball program to operate in our waters similar to AL and LA. For a small fee these operations will deploy reef modules for a small fee for anyone willing to pony up. We need more structure.

For someone who owns a business in the fishing industry, it's very hard for me to admit that further restrictions need to be in place, with seasons and limits shortened. As it stands, it's not even worth making another run out.

Mike Fortunato
7/2/2020 13:23:55Andrew M.
Springtown Texas 76082
Private Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-Hire
reef fish permitsAs a charter boat Captain, I am often requested to take clients out to catch reef fish such as the Red Snapper. Unfortunately, I can not afford the 20 - 25, 000 dollar price tag people are selling the permits for. I have to ask myself, "Is this really what was intended by the Council?". I am simply trying to build up a business for my retirement years, not to mention the enjoyment of taking people out to catch fish. Some of whom have never been offshore fishing.
Those are the people, along with their children, we need getting involved in fishing. The new people who are going to be the real future of our fisheries .
I understand the limits are in place for everyone, I'm good with that, but to penalize a charter boat by setting such a high bar is unreasonable. There are not so many charter boats that it would jeopardize the species.
A simple question to you is, when was the last time you went fishing? The Red Snapper is so prevalent that it is often difficult to catch anything else.
Why not reinstate permits that can be purchased by charter captains at a reasonable price, maintain the current catch limits, stop the limiting of ownership of the permits to the bigger businesses, and allow everyone to enjoy our natural resources.
A charter boat is a way for people who cannot afford a boat to participate in and contribute to the enjoyment as well as the preservation of our natural resources through the purchase of permits and fishing licenses. not to mention supporting businesses through the purchase of fishing equipment.
I ask that you consider these things and make changes that would really benefit everyone in the long run.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
7/9/2020 7:02:00Steve
Private Recreational Angler
Red Snapper/42 I am one of the snowbirds representing thousands that come to the coast to fish & basically go out on the head boats to be able to catch Red Snapper like we did in 2015 where we could keep two Reds that we caught whether big or small that’s what we I’m on the fishing site that shows the six packers with nothing but big Red Snappers so how many do they discard? Not like the Head boat initiative of 2014/2015 where there is no discard to the fishery and improving data collection... us snowbirds come to the coast anywhere from December to March 1st some the 15th so why is it that all we do to help the businesses the whole community that we support that you can’t give us a few weeks of Red Snapper fishing along with my favorite fish the Triggerfish.. we are there in the winter so are days out are limited.. you cut out triggerfish till March which eliminates a lot of us who go home March 1st but even the 15th the days out are only are only a few .. but will be documented so we won’t over fish ... please help us in our plight.. before we get to old to move.. thank you for listening!!!

A grateful Snowbird
Steven Perkins
7/27/2020 14:07:07Johnny Walkerjohnny4112@yahoo.comGalveston, TX
Charter/Headboat For-Hire, Commercial Fisher
Amendment 41
8/3/2020 11:28:23Bob Zalesbobzales2@gmail.comCommercial FisherTriggerfishAll,
I am sending this not to point fingers, not to jump on any individual, not to blame anyone, but to showcase the inferior and unacceptable recreational data system that I and many others have complained about and tried working with you to help improve for over 30 years. While some improvements have been made, very little progress has been made over the last quarter century. Trigger fish, once considered trash, a nuisance to fishing for other species, and discarded, has since, thanks to a depleted stock and closures has become extremely popular. Until the last couple of years no one ever asked if triggerfish were available and how long a season for them would be. Now, these questions are asked routinely, almost like the questions for red snapper. So, below you will see my rant, I really don’t expect to see much improvement but would like to see some.
I have had numerous calls by phone, text, email, radio, and in person on if we would see trigger fish open on 8-1. I inquired to y’all a couple weeks ago about the status and was told y’all were waiting on wave 3, may-june, data, trigger fish was only open 1 day in wave 3, 5-1-20. Wave 2 data, which included mar-apr and was 61 days and the primary season should have been ready months ago. Now, due to the covid issue that has affected the entire world, no industry has been more negatively impacted more than the fishing industry.
Most of us were completely shut down, for hire charter, commercial, and private rec, some because areas were closed no one was able to rent condos or houses, some were prevented from travelling, and in all cases there was much concern about personal and others safety. In FL we were fortunate due to the fact the Governor declared fishing was an essential activity so if you could go fishing there was no problem. The commercial industry and processors were pretty much completely shut down due to all the restaurant and retail shops being closed. There were a small number of charters, very small, if someone was lucky enough to have a local or have someone drive down from a close place to fish. Few for hire charters left the dock. There was a little more pri rec fishing activity, but that was even very little.
Triggers open 3-1-20 and for the first couple of weeks there was some activity, not near normal, but some. After the middle of Mar almost all stopped so very little activity was conducted in wave 2. Some of the others states completely prevented fishing and even in FL some counties did not allow any activity as boat ramps were closed.
My, our problem, with the complete lack of data for triggers for such a short period of time when common sense, and we often wonder about that, tells you it was almost impossible for many triggers to be landed. We would be surprised to hear that more than 50% of the quota was landed as fishermen on the water we just did not see that kind of effort, not because of desire, but because of the nation being closed and people worried about the unknown of covid. We fully understand that your dockside samplers were not sent out for the same concerns but your effort recording folks could still use their phones to contact people as normal. Effort numbers should be known as that part of the data process should have been unaffected. With effort numbers, even using last years dockside sampling numbers, you should have been able to provide a reasonable estimation, probably high, but at least something to go by. We are not talking large numbers of trips nor a large quota, and definitely not a long period of time for the open season.
August 1, 2020 was 91 days past the end of the open trigger fish season. We see no valid reason for not hearing of some reasonable number, some projection of what was landed during the 62 days of open trigger fish fishing with so many anglers not on the water. As stated above no industry was, and is, more affected by the covid issue than fishermen. While the red snapper season was decent, off FL we experienced some of the worst continually bad weather most can remember so very few, if any, fished the entire 62 days. We are grateful for the opening of greater amberjack yesterday but being able to harvest trigger fish would add more business for the for hire charters. Many of us had hoped, due to the fact that we all knew few triggers could have been harvested, that they would be available on 8-1-20 and when folks asked before my communications with y’all a couple weeks ago, we were telling them we hoped to have triggers available. As we know it did not happen and at this time we have no clue as to whether we will have them to harvest before the end of the year or not. For hire charters are trying to recover our lost months of business and every available fish to harvest greatly helps us promote out businesses.
We all want improved data and many of us have worked with y’all to do so. Over 30 years ago rec data was a problem with developing seasons and providing decent info for stock assessments. Unfortunately today we are still seeing the impacts of a data system that is not working.
I hope this is taken in the context it is meant and no one takes this rant personally. All of us have a part to play and hopefully we will see improvements in the future.
Captain Bob Zales, II
8/18/2020 8:32:16Gary
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
CFA FMP Proposal/41Dr.Crabtree, Chairman Frazier and Dr Simmons ,
Attached is a formal request from our organization to begin the process of development of a planned amendment specific to the charter for hire sector gulf wide. I would respectfully ask that you include this request on the Oct gulf council meeting on the agenda for consideration by the council. I will submit a more detailed ask to Dr Simmons so as to assist staff with a document to put into the councils briefing documents.We look forward to having our board of directors and officers make ourselves available to you any anytime in this preliminary process. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to reach out to me.
8/18/2020 8:34:01Bob
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
This is being sent on behalf of the Gulf members of NACO and the Commercial Grouper Long Liners of SOFA.

You have heard from fishermen from all sectors and all states about the ever increasing problem with interactions by dolphins with boaters and fishermen. We are not only seriously concerned about the impacts these animals are having on fishing we are greatly concerned about the increasing harm to the animals by these interactions. These animals are being hooked, wrapped in fishing line, struck by vessels, and as some have seen on news reports some are being speared and shot. This harm to the animals is not acceptable nor is the damage they are causing to fishermen. We have pleaded with you, NMFS, the MMAC, and other federal government officials to provide help. We are seeking ways to deter these animals from fishermen and boaters in a way that provides no harm to the animal. Our hope is to be able to find some way to harmlessly deter them so they are better protected as well. NMFS suggestions to run away from them, leave the area, does not work. The use of pingers may work for a small period but the animals soon learn a pinger is harmless so it has no impact. Unless your vessel is able to run at speeds greater than 15 to 18 knots these animals simply follow the vessel. In many cases even when you run several miles to try and get away from them another pod is usually waiting for the vessel.

These animals are smart and know when a vessel is fishing. Sometimes they just wait and watch and allow you to keep a fish or two then they go after what you hook. In some cases they simply grab your fish, pull against you, and if you free spool your reel they will drop the fish but when you begin to reel the fish in they grab it again. Some will continue to do this as long as the angler is willing to play. In most cases when they are done playing they will bite the fish off behind the head or break the line to eat the fish. No fish is too large or small for the dolphin to take it. While trolling live baits for pelagic species dolphins will grab the bait fish by the tail and pull the bait fish off. There are days where you can fish in a normal way, hook a lot of fish, but bring few fish back to the dock. Customers are complaining about the money they spend to catch fish and have those fish taken by the dolphins. In some cases the dolphins will jerk the rod and reel from the anglers hands and take it overboard. I have had dolphins chase fish to my boat and land on my transom and fortunately so far have fallen back into the water rather than my cockpit. Commercial fishermen have to leave areas where they are catching fish and try to find another area to fish. This restricts their harvest and causes them to burn excess fuel and spend unnecessary time looking for other productive spots. Private rec anglers get frustrated with having their catch taken from them and losing their tackle.

As y’all have heard on numerous occasions from folks across the Gulf this is an increasing problem. This is not limited to any one sector as the dolphins affect charter, commercial, and private recreational anglers. We are struggling to receive help from whatever agency/s willing to work with us to find ways to deter these animals in a harmless way. Something needs to be done asap as this problem will not go away if left unattended. Due to the covid, unfortunately you will not hear from folks in person. You may hear from some online but the number of those who will send an email is very small compared to those you would hear from in person. Go to any dock, talk to any fisherman, you will hear similar stories. We are willing and able to work with anyone to address this problem as some type of fix is necessary to protect the animal and those of us on the water. We look forward to any suggestions on ways to deter these animals.


Capt Bob Zales, II

Fishery Management Consultant

Capt Bob Zales, II
8/18/2020 8:35:27Chris Padillacaptainpadilla@yahoo.comDolphins We need to add dolphin control measures to the council agenda. The mammals are completely out of control , they dictate the out come of a fishing trip, if we can not manage the population and counter their attacks the fishing industry and all the revenue generated by it is in jeopardy.
Christopher Padilla
8/18/2020 8:43:04Bill Kellyfkcfa1@hotmail.comMarathon, FLCommercial FisherKing Mackerel Allocation
8/18/2020 10:51:50Kory Freedkoryfreed@yahoo.comDolphinsTo whom it may concern, I have been charter fishing out of Panama City Florida for 25 + years and have witnessed the (porpoise) issues grow to an alarming rate. From just riding the boat wake to now following the boat around all day long from place to place, even up to 5 mile moves. Not only are the scaring fish from biting but pulling them right off the hook. And in some cases, becoming hooked. We definitely need some kind of deterrent. (We) are all up for suggestions.
Captain Kory
8/18/2020 13:59:37Mark
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
DolphinsI am writing in regards to the Dolphin problem we have with them interfering with our fishing trips. Our customers are paying a lot to be able to go fishing and getting nothing in return for there money. I am afraid if something isn’t done people will take care of the problem and I would hate to see that happen. Please give us some help on this situation.
8/20/2020 9:17:09BJ Burketthookemupcharters@gmail.comPanama City Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
DolphinsMy name is BJ Burkett. I own and operate Hookem Up Charters LLC in Panama City beach FL.

The nmfs must do something about dolphins disrupting fishing efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. Since it became illegal to feed dolphins many years ago, they have started following the fishing boats and stealing there fish once a fisherman hooks it. In the beginning it only happened 1 out of 10 trips. Now it’s at least 9 out of 10 trips. Dolphins will always go for the easiest prey if no repercussion is involved. Fish that are hooked are their easiest target. Dolphin populations have exploded, they are entirely to plentiful. I am already seeing a decline in other species due to dolphins eating species they have never been able to catch before(red snapper, vermillion snapper, and king mackerel. Nmfs is responsible for keeping ALL resources in check. One resource should not be able to destroy other resources due to over regulation. Sadly this is happening with dolphins. Allowing tours boats to feed dolphins again, sound devices, rubber bullets, or harvesting these animals are options that need to be explored.

People are going to start taking matters in to there own hands if nmfs does not find a way to keep dolphin predation from consistently occurring.

Thanks Capt BJ Burkett.
8/21/2020 8:14:54Mike Sullivancaptmikechartersweb@icloud.comPanama City, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
DolphinsHi, I am Capt Mike Sullivan in Panama City, Florida. I own 3 certified charter boats. I am sending this letter to voice my concerns about the increase in dolphin and shark encounters while we are out on fishing trips. Over the last several years the dolphins have become more and more abundant to where we are seeing more then ever before. It does not matter if you are sitting in your slip, riding down the lagoon or 30 miles off shore they are everywhere. I think with the increase in there population it has caused them to get more aggressive for getting food. So in return they have turned to the fisherman and really started pulling off the fish the anglers are trying to pull In. We have encounters with them every day. We try to get away from them by making several mile runs but it does not always work. The sharks have made a huge come back since the commercial industry was cut back on how they could fish for them and there quota. There is not hardly a trip that goes by that we do not have a shark encounter. Not sure what we could do to help slow the encounters of both of the species, but we are all ears and would like to help however we can.

Thank you
Mike Sullivan
8/21/2020 10:06:49Larry Lemieux damageincpcb@gmail.comPanama City Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
DolphinsHello Gulf Council my name is Captain Larry Lemieux. I fish out of Panama City Beach Florida. I the charter boat backlash. I have fished professionally for over 26 years. I am writing this email to you today to present a major issue in the Gulf of Mexico. We have a dolphin preditation problem that is unbelievable right now it's to the point where if something's not done soon I'm afraid the fishermen are going to have to take matters into their own hands when it becomes life or death to catch a fish on a charter it is a major problem for me and my customers. Safety has become a major concern because of the aggressiveness of the dolphins towards the fish when the people are reeling them into the boat. I am scared that people's fingers or hands may get entangled in the fishing line and causing serious injury. The deckhand also to has to fight them off in order to get the fish in the boat. I am concerned for the safety of my crew and my passengers when it comes to these animals there are many they are very aggressive they will follow you for miles and miles they will never leave you alone. You cannot outrun them you cannot outsmart them. Please help us in the charter fishing community and the commercial fishing community to find a solution to remedy this problem soon before people start taking extreme or drastic measures towards these creatures. I hope we can find a peaceful alternative to make life easier for everybody. There has to be something done as soon as possible. Thank you for your time look forward to seeing you guys at the meeting soon. Stay safe thank you Captain Larry
8/21/2020 15:10:15Chad Hansonchanson@pewtrusts.orgNGOEcosystem Technical Committee
Council members and staff,

I hope everyone is well and staying safe. There’s an item on next week’s Ecosystem Committee agenda, updating the Fishery Ecosystem Plan (#Q-4), that we are interested in but that may not be on everyone’s priority list. I want to offer some resources that might be useful as you tackle this.

A fishery ecosystem plan should really be a strategic plan, or roadmap, that guides and informs decision making. As with any strategic plan, there are discrete steps necessary to develop and then implement the strategies. Once this process is established, it can be adapted and updated as new information becomes available or if a new issue arises. For a non-technical overview of what a Fishery Ecosystem Plan is and how it can be useful, please see the attached brief we recently put together.

Pew’s staff across the country have worked with several of the regional councils as they developed or updated fishery ecosystem plans, including the Pacific, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic and more recently the Caribbean. Two years ago, we commissioned a study that looked at how an FEP might be developed that is specifically tailored for the Gulf, and that was published this past spring in the Bulletin of Marine Science (Dell’Apa et al 2020). Point being, there are tools and methods already developed for this very thing that could aid in the process. And, if my colleagues or I can be a potential resource in this area, please reach out, we’d be happy to share information and facilitate connections.

As an initial step, at their meeting in March, the Council’s Ecosystem Technical Committee (ETC) crafted a draft mission statement and recommended an initial draft of ecosystem-level goals and objectives. This was a good first step and we are encouraged by the progress. The council can build on that progress and reconvene the ETC for continued refinement. At some point soon, it would also be good to actively engage stakeholders in the early stages of FEP development.

At next week’s meeting, we encourage the Council to consider:
• Approving the ETC’s recommended mission statement.
• Making any revisions or additions to the goals and objectives list from the ETC.
• Re-convening the ETC to refine the goals and objectives and prioritize them using Council guidance and available resources.
• Requesting staff develop recommendations for Council consideration at a future meeting for actively engaging stakeholders on the FEP development.

I’m happy to discuss this individually over the phone anytime. Like the rest of us, I’m pretty much in my office all the time these days. 😊 We wish we could all get together next week in person but hope you have a good meeting nonetheless.

8/21/2020 16:10:40Steve
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Help! Dolphins are taking the fish from our lines. Customers think they are cute, until they loose their fish to dolphins. By the end of a trip they want to kill them. We have to waist their fishing time and our fuel trying to run from the dolphins. Only to have them catch up to us. We may be able to get two or three fish, then the dolphins take three or four. That makes 5 or 7 dead fish. But we take 2 or 3 from that spot. At the end of the day we have 20. The dolphins take 50 In a day.
If you were a farmer and lost 60 % of your crops to rabbits . What would you do?
Mike Regan/ Charter Boat Wahoo
8/24/2020 10:53:35Robbie Robinette robbie.robinette5681@icloud.comPanama City Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
DolphinsHello my name is Robert Robinette Jr. I represent both Charterboat Gotta Believe and All The Way. Located in Panama City Beach , Florida. Here in Northwest Florida we have and had a problem with interaction with Dolphins for some time. We do not run to them ever. They are coming at us when we fish. This has happened on 1/2 day trips trolling to bottom fishing on 12 hours. From the Bay (St. Andrew’s Bay) to 50 miles offshore It does not matter. They are eating fish off the hook and will follow you to the ends of the earth if you are in a area by you yourself. They are like a pack of wild dogs and have no fear of anything. I challenge All of you to come ride on Charterboats and watch. Please get out of Your office and put Down your computers. Something most be done. You have known about this for years and done nothing. It’s good your are talking about this situation at a meeting. But now do something..... ACTION. This animals ruin trip after trip. Just today Saturday August 22, 2020 on a 6 hour drive on The Gotta Believe we ran from Flipper All day. Spot after Spot same thing hook a fish and they eat him. This was a Dolphin and a youngster. Training mission for them . And it continues.... PLEASE help. Do something more than talk. Let us try something to detour this animals. I don’t want to hurt them just annoy them and us not go to jail. Thanks
8/24/2020 10:57:40Justin Steelebluewaterconnection@gmail.comPanama City Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
DolpinsHello, my name is Justin Steele i own two charter boats in of Panama City Beach at Captain Anderson’s Marina. The dolphin problem that we have off of Panama City has come completely ridiculous it is almost impossible to fish around here. The Dolphins do Major damage to our tackle and detouring customers from even going fishing in the future . If something is not done about the dolphins I assume when the word gets out that we cannot even catch fish because of the dolphins that we will lose a lot of our clientele. A client just yesterday told me to give him a call when the dolphin problem is under control that he will not waste his money to go fishing to feed the dolphins all day. This is a very serious problem for the fisherman and for the dolphins, If anyone thinks that there’s not a problem I would be willing to take them fishing and show them the problem firsthand. I promise you the first place we stop there will be three or four dolphins on us and you will not catch a single fish the whole trip. It doesn’t matter where are you fish these dolphins are everywhere extremely overpopulated. Please help us come up to with a solution Detour these animals, we will not be able to continue to stay in business with this problem it is completely out of hand.
Thanks, Justin Steele
8/25/2020 8:42:00Bob Palmer coastaloutfitters@comcast.netTexas
Private Recreational Angler
Red SnapperI wish to speak on behalf of Texas recreational fishermen and the history of Texas Red snapper , RS.

I first fished for RS in 1970 with my father and uncle off of Freeport Texas , they were everywhere, why?, limited fisherman and plenty of habitat.
I have lived close to the coast for 36 years and also the own two offshore boats.

To also qualify myself, I have been a lead manager for Academy Corp for 8 years and also owned my own sporting goods store for another 13 years. I have an extensive expertise and background of Texas fishing license sales to the end user. I am an offshore captain and degreed HS teacher with a heavily science based background.

I have fished offshore for 48 years, do you know how many times I have been sampled for your data? Once.

You must understand , and I make this point explicitly , that not every saltwater stamp or super combo Texas license sale makes a person a “red snapper fisherman”. A super combo or all water license is just economically cheaper for the end user.

This is purely bad science and poor sampling on your part. People in off- coastal areas of Texas are buying these licenses for the use of other portions of the license. It is simply too expensive to fish offshore on a regular basis.

This brings me to commercial fisherman. I have discussed with your commercial champion Buddy Guindon about how he got his catch quotas. He laughed in our face at a Gulf Council meeting in Galveston about how he bought defunct log books and catch shares from commercials who had quit from Matagorda and other areas.
This man is pathetic and bragged about how this was his kids college fund and people should have been smarter to grab them? Do you honestly think every snapper this clown reels up is serving sized? This pathetic little man and his ilk kill thousands of larger RS in search of “restaurant sized fish.”
I have seen the floating by-catch behind them that were improperly vented on numerous occasions.

In short, your system is broken , I watched the large part of the last podcast and this sickens me to see once again no clear plan, “Under further peer review” yet another year.

Everyone seems to forget that removing a hundred Texas oil rigs and blasting to kill thousands of snapper, yes I have actually seen it three times, is the real problem.

For years we have seen the storms and “rig killers” take everything we have as subsea habitat with no immediate hope of large scale replenishment.

No-one, state or federal, wanted to help support a rigs to reefs program or state funded reef program. There is always too much red tape from NOAA ,et al ,as a hinderance to navigation, hazmat issue, bio-hazard, whatever else can be cited.

In closing, you easily want better sampling?
Require a state snapper tag, make it cheap, 5$. Make the survey simple.

Take catch data samples from tag owners as is performed with tuna and use this, and you will find that every Gulf state’s numbers are incorrect.


Robert Palmer
8/31/2020 7:33:15Jerry Andrews entertainer1@bellsouth.netPerdido Key, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
9/9/2020 7:57:50Ellen Peelellen_peel@billfish.orgNGOSharks
9/13/2020 10:47:12Capt. Mike Graefcapt.mike@cox.net32541
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Sharks and DolphinsI have been a charter for hire fisherman since 1989. I own and run the Charter Boat Huntress in Destin Florida. I would like to comment on Dolphin and Shark interaction on a daily basis in the Gulf of Mexico. We have had the Dolphin problem since I began fishing but not to the extent I see it now on a daily basis. Today I avoid area's all together because I know as soon as I hook the first fish Flippers gonna show up! Their smart and fast and will not leave you alone once they start eating your fish Mingos, King Mackerel, Herring, and Red Snapper all seem to their favorites! It is not a pretty site when Flipper takes your customer for a ride there holding on the pole for dear life! It is always a worry that someone is going to get hurt once they start their feeding frenzy! Some days you can out run them other days you can't! We need a solution ASAP! I have herd that rubber bullets are being used in California on the seal populations on the docks. I'm all in favor of non lethal force if we can get the point across. Shark populations have definitely increased in the last 30 years. I'm all in favor of reopening commercial Shark fishing. When a species goes unchecked for years it stands to reason they will multiply at an alarming rate which they have! Something needs to be done NOW! Not 10 years from now!
Thank you,
Capt. Mike Graef
Charter Boat Huntress
Destin, FL. USA
9/28/2020 15:50:49Jim Greendestindcba@outlook.comDestin, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Deterring Marine Mammals
9/28/2020 16:08:21Eric Brazereric@shareholdersalliance.orgNGOCOVID, E.O., Marine Mammals, Ecosystem Mgt Plan
9/30/2020 14:10:31Billy Archerbigtrig42@aol.comPanama City, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Dear Council Members,

My name is Capt. Billy Archer
I’m a 3’d generation fisherman from the Panama City Fl.
I also sit on Board of Directors of the Charter Fisherman Association as Vice President.
Thank You for taking my comments.

1) Our organization respectively request that the Gulf Council make a motion and vote to direct council staff to develop a CFH white paper similar to amendment 40 to explore sector allocations for the 4 other major reef fish species Red & gag grouper, greater amberjack and grey triggerfish.
2) ELB’s We continue to support the timely implementation of the SEFHIER program with the hopes of improving our portion of the recreational fishery accountability and management process. We are very close to having this on-line hopefully by 2021 and ask for your continued support.
3) Illegal charter operations continue to flourish and harm legitimate charter businesses. We continue to ask for your support in increasing LEO efforts in any way possible.
4) We respectfully ask that you consider doing away with the crew size rule for dual permitted charter for hire. I am a dual permitted owner and having a extra crewmember would prove very helpful on my commercial trips.
5) The porpoise and shark interaction all over the Gulf have become a everyday encounter/problem. We need solutions that wont harm these animals but will allow us to fish.
6) Cobia-We would also like to see the Council adopt the same cobia rules and bag limits that Florida is proposing for this important species. Many of us have witnessed a steady decline in biomass and feel it’s critical to the health of this species to not delay implantation of necessary changes that will help rebuild the species.
10/6/2020 15:06:59Randy Edwardsedwards.randy@gmail.comManatee County, FLOtherAquacultureFollowing my online comments to the Council, one member requested that I provide the comments in writing so that they may be posted where Council members can read them. Also, on member asked me to cite examples of existing offshore fish farmed species.

My comments and response are provided below. If any members have further questions, please feel free to contact me by email.

My name is Randy Edwards. For those of you who may not know me, I am a retired Ph.D. marine scientist with verifiable expertise and more than 45 years experience in fish and fishery biology, aquaculture, and marine nutrient dynamics.

I am commenting today because I have been closely following the issue of marine fish farms, particularly the Kampachi (now Ocean Era) so-called pilot project proposed for the SW Florida Gulf area where I live and have worked for most of my career.

First let me point out that being retired, I have no professional or financial self interests in this issue. Having said that...I can say that marine fish farming has great potential – great economic potential to provide seafood products to the nation, and perhaps even reduce pressure on wild fish stocks. However, it also has great potential to do severe damage to the marine environment and to wild fish stocks.

The recent ruling by the 5th Circuit is perhaps the very best thing that could have happened. Because of it, marine fishery managers has been given a reprieve – a reprieve that I urge you as a Council and NOAA/NMFS as an organization to take full advantage of. It is my understanding that the 5th Circuit ruling will require that legislative action will be required before any agency can be given the authority to permit fish farms in federal marine waters. That probably means that a Congressional act would be required through a process that might take well over a year.

So with that reprieve in mind, I strongly urge the Council and NMFS to take the opportunity of this additional time to insure that the best possible permitting and monitoring criteria be developed during this time in which no special interest group from any side can pressure anyone to immediately permit or prohibit marine fish farms. I hope that my old tarpon fishing and research buddy Roy Crabtree is listening into this meeting, and I hope Roy will take this time, opportunity, relative freedom from pressures, and do the right thing...which is to develop the very best permitting and monitoring possible. If Roy is not hearing this now, I am sure that he has representatives who are, and I urge them to pass my strong urging along to Roy.

As I said, I have considered the first, so-called pilot project – Kampachi (now Ocean Era) – in depth. My scientific conclusion is that this is perhaps the very worst project in terms of its potential negative effects on the environment and on marine fisheries. First, it would be sited in an area that is the epicenter for devastating red tides ...and in a region where red tides are not only frequent, but also in an area (the SW FL GOM) where algal booms and red tide development are Nitrogen limited. And
Nitrogen is the primary pollutant from such a fish farm.

I have used my aquaculture experience to calculate nitrogen pollution from this one offshore fish farm cage. Using the parameters of fish biomass in the cages, feeding rates, and conversion ratios it is clear that the nitrogen effluent from even this one cage is substantial, and depending on currents and mixing, the effluent could potentially fuel development of red tide blooms. That is for just one cage. Imagine how many cages would be deployed if the project were to be found to be economically successful – probably a dozen or so at this one site, because the logistics of monitoring, feeding, maintenance (in terms of access vessels, management barge, and monitoring and sampling crews) could easily be expanded to that level while increasing profitability.

The reason that this is the worst location for such a project is because through most of the GOM from about Cedar Key to the Texas border, red tides are rare, and never devastating, like they are in SW FL. Additionally, throughout that rest of the GOM N is not the limiting nutrient to algal blooms, so N pollution has much less potential effects.

Another factor that makes the Kampachi project possibly the worst possible, is the species being cultivated – Seriola rivoliana – Almaco jack – A member of the jack family. One does not have to be a fish biologist, but even just a GOM fisherman to know what fish would be attracted and aggregated around an offshore cage. That would be other jacks like blue runner and round scad or cigar minnows...and by the thousands, and tens of thousands of individuals during a short period of time. That offers the perfect storm potential for infection of closely related wild species with pathogens and parasites. If such infection were to occur, those thousands of jacks would provide a powerful vector for infection of other wild jack species. If, however, the cultured species were something like dolphin fish or cobia, the potential for such damage by transmission to wild stocks would be much less.

However, after carefully reviewing and evaluating the permitting criteria and USEPA monitoring requirements, it is my conclusion that such criteria and requirements are completely inadequate. Evaluation and monitoring of infection potential is very vague and would provide almost no assurance that such infection would not occur. The monitoring is not only inadequate but also is scientifically deficient. The reality is that the EPA monitoring requirements are not much more than those that would be required for a parking lot that has runoff into an adjacent river. EPA has no experience and expertise in monitoring in the open ocean environment for either nutrient pollution nor infections.

Saying all that, I am not asking you to take my word. On the contrary, I am strongly urging you to obtain the best possible expert evaluation of permitting and monitoring this new and important activity. You and NMFS should not be listening to a few self-proclaimed experts on different sides of the issues. Instead you should develop a process in which the very best impartial scientific evaluation and recommendation is developed during this opportunity given by the 5th Circuit decision.

This is such an important issue to not only the entire GOM, but to all coasts of the United States, that anything other than the scientifically most rigorous evaluation should not be accepted. With that in mind, I suggest that this issue is so important and so technically complicated that it must be evaluated by a National Academy of Science panel. I am sure that if NOAA/NMFS puts its mind and dedication to it, they could prevail on the National Academy to do such a review. I hope you are listening or will hear this, Roy. If for any reason the NAS is unwilling to undertake such a review, NOAA/NMFS should at the very least use the ANS panel model to develop the scientifically best process for determining the very best permitting and monitoring requirements ….before ANY offshore fish farm allowed.

Also, after my comments, one of the Commissioners asked if I could provide examples of fish species that are being grown in open-ocean fish farms. The following list is not totally inclusive.

Cobia: Panama, Mexico, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Puerto Rico

Grouper: Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Indonesia

Bluefin Tuna: Cage rearing (wild fish reared to greater size and quality) in the Mediterranean, Australia, and Japan

Striped Bass: USA, Mexico

Pompano: Panama, Vietnam

Footnote: I found out on the day following the meeting, that on the very day of my comments to your meeting, USEPA issued the Kampachi (OE) permit. Because of that, my comments about the 5th Circuit ruling providing a reprieve were uninformed (as likely the Commission was) . However for the sake of the environment and fisheries, I continue to strongly urge Fishery Management Councils to push for scientifically much stronger permitting and monitoring criteria for offshore fish farms. That is likely to only occur if a National Academy of Science (or equivalent) review is performed. Only in that way will the issue be resolved scientifically – instead of based on adversarial court proceedings pitting the pro and anti ocean aquaculture interests groups against each other. Furthermore, I urge the Councils to support efforts to have permitting and monitoring authority be delegated to NOAA/NMFS – where it is most appropriate.

Randy Edwards, Ph.D. (Marine Science, Ret.)
Manatee County, FL

Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't
tell them where they know the fish. [Mark Twain]
10/20/2020 14:45:56Joseph Stand joefish_02813@yahoo.comHog Fish They need to be looked at now that more rod and reel fisherman are targeting them my feelings as well as other fisherman agree the size limit should be reduced as well as the bag limit these fish are hard to release and kept alive even with descending devices
10/21/2020 13:08:52Steve Candileriphone callOtherImprove Fishing in the GOMSteve has worked for FWC for 40+ years on the fishery-dependent side. He wanted to make a comment on how to improve fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. He said that if people would work harder to keep the MS river clean and the surrounding area, then there would likely be less or no dead zone around it which would lead to more fish, more productivity and more opportunities for anglers to fish.
10/26/2020 10:47:45Bob Zalesbobzales2@gmail.comPanama City Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Disaster ReliefOn behalf of the members of the Southern Offshore Fishing Association (SOFA), the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO), and the Panama City Boatmen Association (PCBA) I wish to provide the following comments regarding the Presidential EO issued on May 7, 2020, 13921.
The associations I represent include small business fishing families who provide fresh Gulf Seafood to consumers and services to the public who wish to access Gulf and State waters for the opportunities to fish for sport and sustenance. Much like farmers who till the land to provide food to consumers, these fishing families harvest fresh seafood to provide to consumers. Essentially these small family businesses are the farmers of the sea.
Unfortunately, when it comes to disaster relief to be provided to fishermen as a result of manmade, natural, or health related issues, fishermen do not reap the same type financial assistance as farmers do. As most know farmers generally receive direct payments within months of a declared disaster from the Department of Agriculture with the vast majority of the disaster funds provided to the farmer. Fishermen have historically had and currently still have to wait years before any financial relief is distributed and when funding becomes available the funds are watered down by the take of federal and state agencies for administrative fees, portions of the available funds are provided to researchers to find ways to improve fisheries, funds are used to replace docking facilities, and other infrastructure, leaving only small amounts of the funds issued for direct payments to fishermen. Our members and other fishermen are not treated the same as farmers after declared disasters. We strongly recommend that the Department of Commerce through the agencies of NOAA-NMFS alter their current disaster relief programs to mirror those of the DOA.
Farmers have clear records of the crops they produce and the amount of loss sustained from disasters. Fishermen are no different as commercial fishermen have several different records of their catch with associated values based on trip tickets, log books, sales receipts, etc. For hire charter fishermen have log books, personal financial records, and tax forms. Disaster relief should be provided first and foremost to the small fishing families. Administrative fees and any other funds should be a minimal part, if any, of any financial assistance to be provided to the fishermen.
We see no valid reason for distribution of funds to fishermen to take years to provide. Frankly, disaster funds are provided to help fishermen try to survive and save their business after a disaster occurs and if the fishing family has survived during the several years of waiting on relief, the funds are used to repay loans and other financial obligations the fishermen have struggled to obtain.
The historical heritage of our country is based on working water fronts supported by small fishing families who first settled along our coasts. Fishermen provided and still provide fresh seafood to the consuming public. Land farming began after the settlers arrived and spread to other parts of the country. The American seafood industry provided over 1.2 million jobs and added $69.2 BILLION to the gross domestic product in 2017 according to recent information from NOAA-NMFS. Commercial and for hire charter fishermen are clearly as important to the social and economic impacts to the United States as are the farmers and we deserve the same treatment after declared disasters in order to sustain the industry and heritage.

Capt. Bob Zales, II
Fishery Management Consultant, SOFA
President, NACO
President, PCBA

Capt Bob Zales, II
ph 850-763-7249
fax 850-763-3558

“Honesty is the first chapter of the book of

Thomas Jefferson
10/26/2020 10:54:49Catherine Brugercbruger@oceanconservancy.orgNGOAmendment 50
10/26/2020 11:02:37Eric Brazereric@shareholdersalliance.orgNGOELBs, Powerheads, COVID Response
10/28/2020 8:46:38Bruce Irishbirish@netsync.netVenice, FL
Private Recreational Angler
Gag GrouperI would like to see the Gag Grouper season remain open from Jan.1st to May31st. I am in Florida Jan,Feb,March, and April.I suggest that the limit be reduced to one per licensed angler.Also I wouldn't object to having this extended season be open in State waters only.I feel the limit of one would not hurt the Gag population.As you can recall a few years ago it worked when the limit of Red Grouper was reduced to one. I also wouldn't object to having the limit reduced to one the entire year. Not all of us anglers feel safe running 20miles or more offshore to catch Red Grouper. Bruce D Irish, owner of home in Venice, FL. 716 785 2400
10/28/2020 11:54:12John Lawmisskelley29@aol.comPanama City Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Gray TriggerfishTo Whom it May Concern,

My name is John Law and I own a charter fishing business (Capt. Law Charters) in Panama City Beach, FL. We have been in business here for 22 years.

I support the status Quo on the triggerfish season and I am opposed to moving it to January and February.


Capt. John Law
10/28/2020 11:55:05Brandon Barfieldbrandonzbarfield@yahoo.comGray TriggerfishIn regards to the proposed triggerfish season change. The season does not need to be changed. Stay status quo.
10/28/2020 11:55:49Mark Kelleyladykelleycharters@yahoo.comGray TriggerfishFor the good of all the charter fleet we need to leave the triggerfish season status quo.
Not handing it to one state request.

Thanks Capt Mark Kelley
10/28/2020 11:57:40Capt BJhookemupcharters@gmail.comGray TriggerfishPlease do not even entertain the idea of a January, February open season on triggerfish. Leave season status quo. Without COVID we would have never had a fall season. The majority need triggerfish in spring and fall. Thanks Capt BJ
10/28/2020 12:02:25Benjamin Kelleymisskelley29@aol.comGray TriggerfishTo Whom it May Concern,

My name is Benjamin Kelley and I own a charter fishing business (Miss Kelley 910234) in Panama City Beach, FL. We have been in business here for 27 years.

I support the status Quo on the triggerfish season and I am opposed to moving it to January and February.


Capt. Benjamin Kelley
10/28/2020 13:03:32Christopher Padillacaptainpadilla@yahoo.comGray Triggerfish Please leave the trigger fish regulations and season at status quo. Changing season dates would be detrimental to business looking for consistency and customers who ask us about it.

Christopher Padilla
10/28/2020 13:04:26Larry Lemieuxcaptainpadilla@yahoo.comPanama City Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Gray TriggerfishGood day. I am Captain Larry Lemieux a 25 year veteran charter boat operator out of Panama city beach FL. I would like to comment on the change of the gray triggerfish. I am NOT in favor of changing the catch dates to January and February we need to stay status quo. It gives my Anglers a chance to harvest them in March and April. We need triggerfish in the late spring. Please do not move the dates for next year. Thanks for your time.

Capt. Larry Lemieux 🐟🐟
10/29/2020 12:17:34Mike Sullivancaptmikechartersweb@icloud.comPanama City, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Gray TriggerfishI am Capt Mike Sullivan in Panama City Florida owner of 3 U.S.C.G. Inspected vessel’s. I am against opening trigger fish in January and February. I want it to stay status quo opening in Mach. Also like this season if there is any quota leftover from the spring open it in September and October.
10/29/2020 12:18:41Scott Robsoncaptscottrobson@gmail.comGray TriggerfishTriggerfish absolutely does not need to open in January. Please do Not open in January. Open Triggerfish in March or April as usual.
10/29/2020 12:19:56Marvin Saulsheritageexcursionsfl@gmail.comGray TriggerfishI do not support a Jan / Feb triggerfish season. I’m afraid it will ruin what small spring fishery we currently have in my area.

Josh Sauls
10/29/2020 12:21:26Scott Robsoncaptscottrobson@gmail.comMarine mammal depredationAnother year has gone by with nothing done to help us with the Dolphin problem of taking our fish while fishing. NMFS reluctantcy to deal with this problem is shameful! We stakeholders and American citizens have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for decades now to rebuild the fisheries, to just let Bottlenose Dolphin come eat them all. We have offered solutions that have fallen on deaf ears. These solutions are proven to work on marine mamals on the west coast. We need to explore the use of rubber bullets and seal bombs. The longer NMFS and Gulf Council chooses to ignore this problem the more Dolphin will be killed. The problem is not going away magically , so let's agressively tackle this problem.
10/29/2020 12:26:48Dylan Hubbarddhubbard@hubbardsmarina.comMadeira Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Illegal charters, gag, red grouper, triggerfish, gaj, marine mammal depredation, SEFHIER
10/30/2020 8:26:43Scott Hickmanlistodos@gmail.comGalveston, TX
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
GAJ, Illegal charters, Sector allocation, marine mammal depredation, SEFHIER ELBHope all of you are safe and doing well. Miss seeing all of you. Some points our charter boat association and members crafted and myself and our membership at CFA listed below. Thanks for considering and hope to see y’all in person in 2021. Been one helluva busy year for fishing, seems the charter industry and the recreational fishery as a whole has benefited here in Texas and other places from the pandemic with so many Americans getting involved in outdoor activities. God Bless and Calm Seas... Capt Scott Hickman Galveston Texas /
1. Greater amberjack count being facilitated by Sea Grant and needs to focus on spawn and timing of spawn, as well as indices of abundance. Cooperative research projects to incorporate professional CFH fishermen should be part of the RFP requirements and is important for the success of the greater amberjack count
2. Illegal charters continue to be a HUGE issue, thank you for taking up LETC meeting motion at full council – this is huge issue all over the gulf – unlicensed operators biggest issue, regulations need to be formulated that "any consideration or fee makes it a charter
3. "We encourage the council to begin a planned amendment for Sector allocations for the major reef fish species important to our fleets by adding gag & red groupers, greater amberjack, gray triggerfish as proposed in the CFA plan
4. We have grave concerns over impact to our season if FES calibration and common currency is not dealt with now not later. A lot of changes are on the horizon in the next 1-3 years and we don’t want to look up in 3 years to see all the waters we fish have been hammered. Our livelihood still depends on ability to catch fish, if all the stock that lives in fishable waters is hammered, that isn’t good for us or the anglers we provide access to. Let’s proceed with caution, factor for uncertainty, and not go wild with catch recommendations.
5. Shark, goliath grouper and marine mammal predation is a key issue that needs to be explored and solutions found because it is already out of control.
6. Keep moving SEFHIER ELB program moving forward with stakeholder input, port ambassadors great idea. Being able to operate trips with malfunctioning units is imperative and having a back up hail in/hail out via email or phone capability must be included in the regulations . Gps archival units must be diverse and included as type approved equipment option verses ony VMS .
11/2/2020 7:31:34Raymond Spann spannsan@gmail.comGray TriggerfishWe need to stay status quo Thanks Capt. Chris Spann
11/2/2020 7:34:47Robbie Robinette robbie.robinette5681@icloud.comPanama City Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Gray TriggerfishI represent 2 Charter Boats in PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLORIDA. Both are Federal Permitted. I want Triggerfish season to maintain the current season. ( March-May)We need a Spring fishery. Being open in January and February would not benefit our area. Next I would like to Thank the Gulf Council for opening the season in the Fall of this year. We missed the opportunity this last Spring to fish and keep Triggerfish because of COVID-19. It helped. Hopefully there will be a increase to the number of days we can fish for and keep Triggerfish. The Fishery is Healthy. Thanks . Robbie Robinette Charterboat Gotta Believe and Charterboat All The Way
11/2/2020 8:39:19Troy Branham
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
TriggerfishPlease leave the triggerfish season as is. I DEPEND on my customers coming not during January and February when you propose to change it to. This will hurt my business to an extent where I may not be able to continue to stay in business.
Thank You, Capt. Troy Branham (850)774-9391 email
11/2/2020 8:40:25Capt. Ray Whitfield
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
TriggerfishIm long time owner /operator charter fishing,its been proposed to move trigger seasons to Jan/ feb.We would suggest leaving it status quo,theirs an abundance of trigger fish now and opening seasons in jan/Feb would not allow us to catch many due to bad weather and it being our off season.thanks for your time.
11/2/2020 11:53:13Gary Bahn grbahn@gmail.comOrange Beach, AL
Private Recreational Angler
Gray TiggerfishI follow and have attended Gulf council meetings, I see there might be a chance that you on the council might consider having a trigger season that would include January and February. I am a snow bird and would be grateful if that should happen to come to pass. I spend 3 months at least in Orange Beach, and during most of them 3 months a lot of the fish the season is close, such as Red Snapper, Trigger and Amber Jacks, so getting just one like Trigger which is such a great eating fish and be able to keep it would be wonderful. I hope you can all make this happen, Thank you.

Gary Bahn
11/2/2020 14:58:35Jeff Senarighi senarighi1@yahoo.comOrange Beach, AL
Private Recreational Angler
Gray Triggerfish
11/5/2020 7:05:22Rusty Reardon
Private Recreational Angler
Gray TriggerfishTo members of the Gulf Council,

While I have one voice I am also speaking for many other part time residents during the winter months who enjoy the Gulf Coast for its temperate weather, southern hospitality and fishing. And this year with the threat of the pandemic and damaged housing, tens of thousands of Snowbirders will be back to prop up an otherwise failing economy. Not to bore you with numbers but the reality is that we leave behind on average $120 million dollars during your off season and help to maintain full time employment for 64 thousand individuals and families. Given our contribution and your support we are thankful to the council for supporting a limited catch season for Triggerfish during January and February.

We are all committed to protecting the health and vitality of the diverse fisheries in the Gulf States.

Again regards to all.

Rusty Reardon (Snowbirder from Ohio)
11/9/2020 8:31:56Steve Perkins
Private Recreational Angler
Gray TriggerfishWe understand there is a chance to open up triggerfish access for January & February for us snowbirds..we have been writing to you with all we do for the Gulf Fishery and in the past when it was open to us that we never went over any limits but we are aware of the access of the recreational fishermen seasons and what they know yourself’s that us snowbirds limited weather door do go out fishing for our favorite fish the triggerfish.. the charter boats are very conscious of the limits.. so we are so happy that you may consider the January & February opening.
As my other snowbirds have stayed what we do to keep the Gulf coast running especially with the pandemic and the hurricane this year they need what we bring to the Gulf... so please make this happen.. we are so appreciated for all you do and can do to help!!
The Snowbirds for the Gulf
11/10/2020 14:10:40John Martinjsmfish7@aol.comBrandon, MS. 39073
Private Recreational Angler
Menhaden harvest I live in MS but fish in LA. I have observed on 3 different occasions pogie boats sitting off the coast at Empire Jetties when the smaller boats would come in very close to the shore and drop the nets and pull them out to the larger boats. One time they came so close to me doing this that if I had known one of them I could have identified them. To me 1 mile is still too close.