General Fishery Comment (Responses)
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TimestampFull Nameemail addressCity, State, Zip CodeCheck all that applySubjectComments
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01/25/2017Carole L. Neidig, M.S.cneidig@mote.orgMote Marine Laboratory and AquariumSarasota, FL 34236Support for Exempted Fishing Permit Request – Electronic Video Monitoring Pilot Program, Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance.Dear Chairwoman Bosarge,
I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to
recommend that the National Marine Fisheries Service move forward with granting the Gulf of Mexico
(GOM) Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance request for a two-year Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) for limited
testing of electronic video monitoring (EM) systems to monitor and avoid sea turtle bycatch during bottom
longline vessel trips targeting groupers and snappers inside the reef fish bottom longline seasonal closure area
in the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the months of June–August 2017 and 2018.
Mote Marine Laboratory (MML) and partners (including the Shareholders’ Alliance) have been integral in the
development of Electronic Monitoring (EM) in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) snapper / grouper fishery through
leadership and partnerships in several important projects including:
• 2013-2014, with the Ocean Conservancy (lead agency), GOM Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance (SA),
and Archipelago Marine Research, Inc. (AMR) in a NFWF funded study “Regional Capacity Building for
GOM Reef Fish EM Phase 1”. Successfully tested EM in documenting catch and fishing effort.
• 2014-2017, MML (lead agency), GOM Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, Sustainable Fisheries
Partnership (Darden/Publix), Save-On, AMR, and Waterinterface LLC. a NFWF funded study – “EM in The
GOM Reef Fish Fishery Phase II”. Increased regional capacity building for EM and integration with NMFS
for future Gulf-wide commercial fishing fleet implementation. Project oversight and execution was transferred
to MML from the OC and partnerships were established with industry and management to further implement
EM in the GOM and establish MML as local and regional EM center.• 2016 - 2017, MML (lead agency), Saltwater Inc., GOM Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance,
Darden/Publix, Save-On, Fishbusterz, and Waterinterface LLC. Environmental Defense Fund funded study
“Accurately Assessing Catch and Bycatch with EM: The GOM Reef Fish Fishery as a Model for EM
Application and Improvement”. Focus on shark bycatch and discards and improve EM methods to support
collection of accurate fisheries dependent data.Two additional EM projects focusing on bycatch in the GOM snapper/grouper bottom longline and
vertical line (Bandit ) fishery are in place for 2017-2019 including a NOAA/NMFS Cooperative
Research Project and a NFWF Gulf-Wide EM project.
The proposed EFP presents an important collaborative pilot program that aims to demonstrate the
viability of EM for monitoring, assessing, and reducing the number and condition of sea turtle
interactions in the Gulf’s commercial bottom longline fishery. Through this program, NMFS would
be provided with valuable catch and effort data from the restricted area as well as quantification of
incidental sea turtle bycatch interactions and identification of possible hotspot areas for fishers to
avoid.
Onboard data collection with EM provides an advantage, because the fishing location and catch and
bycatch composition can be observed directly, and in the case of EM, be permanently documented on
video. The technology and use of EM has evolved, particularly in the GOM, and is being proven to
be an important tool for at-sea documentation of catch and bycatch, which are key components for
providing data necessary for fishery researchers, scientists, and management for quantitative estimates
of discards in the fisheries for use in stock assessments and in making management decisions. Mote is poised to work in partnership with industry and our equipment and technical subcontractors to
promote and increase fisheries data integrity through this program. There are vessel captains
experienced in the use of the technology and MML experienced staff have EM review hardware and
software in place at MML. Mote’s technical service subcontractor, Waterinterface, LLC, has a
working rapport with the fleet and Saltwater Inc. has been working closely with MML to further
develop and refine equipment and their non-proprietary review software designed by SWI and MML
specifically for application to the GOM snapper/grouper fishery. Mote has also receives guidance
through SERO, SEFSC, and the ACCSP and has NMFS researchers providing expertise and guidance
on this valuable work.
This EFP is a strong step forward in bridging the gap between pilot programs and EM
implementation. We hope that the Gulf Council will support it and recommend that NMFS move
forward with approval.
Thank you for your support. Please contact me with any questions you may have. We look forward
to continuing our important collaborative EM work in the Gulf.
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01/27/2017Eric BrazerGulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders' AllianceAd Hoc Private Angler Advisory Panel (AP)We encourage the Gulf Council convene this advisory panel (AP) as soon as possible after this January
Gulf Council meeting to develop a viable solution(s) to the ongoing problems in the private angler sector
of the recreational red snapper fishery. According to the most recent NMFS data, in 2016 the private
angler sector exceeded its quota by 20% and its annual catch target by 50% (with some data still
outstanding). Clearly, the existing state and federal management strategies are not working. It’s time
for a real solution, and we are looking to the AP to provide that.
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01/27/2017Eric BrazerGulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders' AllianceFor-Hire Electronic ReportingWe encourage the Gulf Council to take final action at this meeting and to prevent further delay in
implementation of this important fishery tool.
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01/27/2017Eric BrazerGulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders' AllianceCorals HabitatThe Shareholders Alliance supports the protection of corals. Corals and complex coral habitats help
support healthy fish populations which, in turn, support healthy fishing businesses. However, we believe
that there are better ways to address coral protections than large, permanent fishing closures. We believe
that preserving historical fishing access and preserving complex coral habitats are not mutually exclusive
concepts. As was evidenced at the meeting of the Pulley Ridge Working Group, Amendment 7 still has a long way
to go. We look forward to getting more, more accurate, and more recent information about proposed
habitat areas of particular concern (HAPCs) in the Gulf, including all commercial fishing data, and look
forward to providing more input on historical fishing in these areas. We also look forward to getting
more information about the true impacts of the Gulf’s commercial fishing gear on these habitat areas in
the context of all impacts on corals (e.g. oil and gas exploration, climate change, sedimentation,
ecosystem shifts etc).
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01/27/2017Eric BrazerGulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders' AllianceReef Fish Amendment 36BWe welcome the opportunity to have a deliberate discussion about the successes and shortcomings of
the two IFQ systems in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as develop ideas for viable solutions that solve
legitimate problems.
While the results of the Red Snapper Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Five Year Review are available,
NMFS has yet to provide the results of the Grouper-Tilefish IFQ Five Year Review. If the results of
Amendment 36B are intended to apply to both IFQ programs, makes the most sense to initiate this
discussion after we receive the Grouper-Tilefish Five Year Review analysis so that the Gulf Council has
enough information to make an informed decision.
When considering these discussions, we urge the Gulf Council to think through:
- Whether the “problem” is real or perceived and how to make this determination.
- The intended and unintended consequences (positive and negative) of modifications to the two
IFQ programs.
- The impact of changes on existing fishing businesses and the seafood supply chain.
- Whether the “solution” actually solves a defined, legitimate, and agreed-upon “problem.”
- Whether the IFQ programs are meeting their intended goals and objectives.The Shareholders’ Alliance is
committed to educating the Gulf Council and stakeholders throughout this process on the true impacts of IFQ changes to fishermen and fishing businesses in the Gulf.
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01/27/2017Eric BrazerGulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders' AllianceExempted Fishing Permit (EFP)-Electronic Video Monitoring (EM) Pilot ProgramIt should come as no surprise to hear that we support the EFP we submitted for your review. We believe
that fishermen and sea turtles can coexist, and are requesting the opportunity to validate this through an
EFP. We propose to demonstrate that up to eight bottom longline vessels working with onboard video
cameras and a bycatch hotspot reporting program can successfully target grouper inside the summer
longline closure without harming the rebuilding of sea turtle populations in the Gulf of Mexico. While
a broad closure may or may not have been the most appropriate accountability measure put in place at
the time, we believe that there should be the opportunity now to explore other options that aren’t as
economically harmful to fishermen if fishermen are willing to assume additional accountability and
responsibility and if such a program doesn’t impose substantial harm on sea turtle populations. Support
for this EFP will be consistent with the Southeast Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Regional
Implementation Plan, and we have been working diligently with the Southeast Regional Office (SERO)
and the Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) for over a year to develop this proposal. I want to take this opportunity to provide additional clarification for the EFP based on feedback we
received through our outreach efforts last week:
 We believe the results of this two year program will demonstrate that fishermen, scientific
partners, and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) can build a mechanism that
simultaneously maintains responsible fishing access and sea turtle protections. This could come
in the form of a rigorous program that would allow limited access to this closure rather than
removal of this closure in its entirety. However, we urge the Gulf Council and NMFS to regularly
and frequently review the effectiveness of this and any closure to determine whether it/they
continue to meet their objectives.
 Analysis of commercial bottom longline fishing variables are beyond the scope of this EFP. Our
priority is to test the efficacy of cameras to account for and avoid sea turtle bycatch. Given the necessary limited nature of this EFP, there was concern that a statistically sound dataset would
be difficult to generate with such a large number of commercial longline fishing variables (e.g.
hook size, offset, and gauge; bait type; gangion length and gauge; mainline length and gauge;
soak time; setting and haulback speed; habitat/substrate; fishing depth; oceanographic and
atmospheric conditions, etc)
 We set the cap at eight vessels because this represents approximately 12% to 15% of the active
reef fish bottom longline fleet in the Gulf of Mexico. Working with fewer vessels would diminish
the robustness of our dataset, while working with more vessels may push the definition of
“limited testing” – a qualifying criteria for any EFP. Hardware limitations would present an
additional problem. Finally, it’s critically important to the success of this EFP to be able to work
with a small but dedicated group of captains that are committed to its success. If this manageable
group of captains can help build a viable program that works, then there’s no reason why this
program shouldn’t then be available to qualifying and committed fishermen in the future.
 Up to four cameras are installed onboard these vessels – one at the hauling station and up to three
others on deck. Anything brought up in the gear will be viewed and accounted for, as will
anything removed from the gear and brought on deck. Camera installation is vessel-specific, but
done in a way where there are no blind spots where catch can go unaccounted for. The Shareholders’ Alliance supports the development of a voluntary camera/EM program that is
approved by NMFS and allows fishermen to use camera if they so choose. We understand how
this technology is working for commercial fishermen in Alaska, California, and New England
and we believe that fishermen in the Gulf deserve this opportunity as well. We do not support
blanked fleet-wide mandatory camera requirements.
We hope that you will provide NMFS the opportunity to address and approve this EFP in time for data
collection to begin June 1 of this year..
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02/02/2017Karen Bellkljbell@gmail.comA.P. Bell Fish Company, Inc.EFP request for GOMGood afternoon Council Members, yesterday I learned that there is a request before you today to
allow eight long line boats to fish inside the 30-fathom line during the summer closure.
I am very much opposed to such an exemption. First of all, as far as I know, there was no notice of such a proposal. It would unfairly benefit a
few select boats without allowing the same opportunity to the rest of the fleet.
If an application has been submitted, as required for an EFP to be considered, I'm curious why
only a few members of industry seem to be aware of it. Literally I have gotten five calls from
other boat owners and seafood dealers telling me about this request. They all learned about it at
this Council meeting. Myself and the others would like to read the justification for such an
allowance which would need to be outlined in an application. My initial thought is that the sole
purpose of such a plan would be to economically benefit those eight boats. That in itself does not
support issuing an EFP. If this is actually going to a vote, I respectfully request that an EFP be denied at this time.
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02/03/2017Jack Goldenjgolden535@yahoo.comSouthern Offshore Fishing AssociationEFP request for GOMCouncil Members, Today I learned that there was a request before you to allow eight longline boats,I must say that I am opposed to such an exemption. As far as I know there was no notice of sucha proposal. It would only benefit a few select boats without allowing the same chance to the rest of the
fleet. I am curious as why only a few boat owners seem to be aware of this proposal. Everyone first
learned of this during the council meeting on February 2nd. The Gulf Council should not allow an unfair exemption.
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03/22/2017Dale Perkinsdaleperk@aol.comRecreational FishermanPensacola, FL 32503Racial BiasMy name is Dale Perkins and I live in Pensacola Florida. I am recreational fisherman. For years I have been dismayed over federal mismanagement and special interest privatization of the Gulf of Mexico by the Gulf Council, Roy Crabtree and the National Marine Fisheries Service. I served briefly on the Gulf Council Red Snapper Advisory Committee and was so dismayed by what I saw that I made a motion for a congressional investigation into the gulf council. After that motion received no second, I resigned from the committee, released a press statement, got some attention briefly, but no change ever resulted from it. The mismanagement is not only red snapper but also many other species. Currently trigger fish have become a real nuisance and are damaging recreational fishing opportunities for other species due to federal incompetence.

To me what is most appalling is the gifting of a formerly public resource to a few well connected good ole boys. Many of the people who have red snapper IFQ's or special charter permits were in fact on gulf council committees and took part in the recommendations that resulted in their enrichment. Now these individuals do not even have to fish to earn a living they just sell the right to fish (given to them by the government) to others who do the work.

I have heard that your House Resolution 3094 proposes returning fisheries management of red snapper to the states. I would encourage that we do this not only for red snapper but for all gulf species. Some of the commercial fisherman over here in the Florida Panhandle are saying that Florida gets treated unfairly by your bill and will use that to wedge our delegation away from it. Please adjust the bill if possible.

To me one of the most blatant (and heretofore unaddressed) problems with the Gulf Council is the inherent racial bias in all of their decisions. Their IFQ giveaway of billions of US dollars in a no-bid deal with no royalties for the public resource appears to have gone almost exclusively to white people. I know of no African American IFQ holder or Charter Boat permittee and certainly no special exemption permittee. I come from a large multi-racial family and was forced out of the charter boat business by excessive governmental regulation by the gulf council. I would love to get back into it but am excluded because my permit was not renewed in a timely manner and I was told it could not be renewed. My minority family members were able to enjoy this public resource before it was privatized by the Gulf Council. I ask you and your fellow members of congress to consider the inherent racial bias as just one element of mismanagement by the Gulf Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service, but as a very problematic one that need to be addressed and could be better addressed by the states rather than the federal government.

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03/24/2017Alan M.amarcafina@aol.comRed SnapperSnapper season just got shorter (AGAIN) due to actions by Buddy Guindon and Co.

https://docs.justia.com/cases/federa...2256/176077/30

The judge reversed the reallocation back to the commercial IFQ shareholders so now we are back at the 51% commercial and 49% recreational.

Apparently greed has no bounds. The small pittance of fish that the Gulf Council reallocated to the recreational side is too much for the Sea Lords? This will come back to bite them on their backside I believe.

Consider that commercial IFQ shareholders enjoy harvesting 130% of pre-IFQ levels (6.0 mp now vs 4.65 mp in 2006) and commercial IFQ shareholders enjoy 300% of pre-IFQ access (365 days now vs 120 days 2006).

Also consider that recreational fishermen enjoy just 3% of pre-IFQ levels in 2016 (11 days / 2 fish bag limits in 2016 vs 194 days / 4 fish bag limits in 2006). This will probably drop to the 1% to 2% range this year with the payback provision for supposed overages as well as the reduction in our allocation due to the reallocation being taken away. This ridiculous situation is nearing its tipping point.

Obviously the system has been hijacked by the introduction of Catch Shares in 2007 to benefit commercial corporations at the direct expense of all recreational fishermen and the nation itself.

This requires immediate drastic action to correct this severe imbalance in our fisheries "management".
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04/04/2017Bill Gouldingsgoulding6@comcast.netCharter Permit Moratorium
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04/05/2017Jim Levinsonjhlevinson@bellsouth.netGulf Regulations
Dear Gulf Coast Council,

I am writing this letter to you in concern for many of the regulations taking place within the Gulf Coast fishing industry. Growing up in Alabama and being taught to fish is not only part of my childhood but it is also part of the culture that resonates with this area. I have always enjoyed the beautiful gulf coast for many reasons, but fishing is what continues to bring me back.

I moved to the state of New Mexico, where I spent 25 years in the ski business. While my wife and I raised our family there, we continued to vacation every year to the Gulf Coast area. I taught my son how to love and respect fishing, so that he too, would not miss out on the inspirations that captured me when I was his age. We would come to the Orange Beach area, charter a boat and go out for an always unforgettable trip. As I was being taught about the different cultures of the west from the friends I had acquired, I found the need to share my experiences, specifically the Gulf, with these friends as well. What started as a simple yearly trip with a few friends has evolved into a group of people coming from all over the country to experience the fishing and the Gulf Coast. We have anglers from Seattle, WA, Albuquerque, Ruidoso & Mescalero, NM, Charleston & Aiken, SC, and Dallas, TX, to name a few areas. We all love to fish and the Gulf Coast, and we love being able to catch different varieties of fish.

Due to our many professional obligations, the window of opportunity for our group to get together is now the early spring. When learning we may not get to fish for variety, my friends suggested to charter our annual trip to another area. I do not want to do this as the Gulf Coast is where the heart of our experience lies. This year's tour has already seen two cancellations due to the unavailability to fish Amber Jack and other species. Fishing is an expensive sport. We charter a boat, have plane fairs, hotel accommodations and not to mention the food. Please reconsider placing limitations on fishing. We believe in sustainable and healthy fishing environments and have no problems with limits on the amount of fish we catch, but let us enjoy the sport that brought us all together.

I hope my concerns help make a decision that is fair for everyone who enjoys the Gulf Coast area.

Thank you,


Jim Levinson
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04/18/2017Guy Wardguy19481@hotmail.comPanama City Beach, FLCobia Im Guy ward 28, of Panama City Beach Florida. Im a local commercial fisherman and I need to know who to get in contact with to help us get the over fished cobia back on track.
Here in the Panhandle of Florida the cobia fishing has gotten worse every year since 2010. This year being the worst of all. Whether its from the oil spill or over fishing something has to be done soon. This is the peak of our migration and the numbers of fish are no more. See big fish being caught 80lbs or bigger which are the big females, but hardly any small fish. As a commercial fisherman, I hate to complain about a closure of my most targetted fish but if I want my kids someday to catch em, we need a closure or something to help these fish reproduce and come back again. 2010, my boat caught 87 cobia in one month. This year so far we have fished every day and only caught 3 thats a huge difference. It cannoy be a state closure due to the migration of cobia to the Mississippi and oil platforms of Louisiana, it must be a complete Gulf Closure for at least 2-3 yrs. please get me in contact with someone to help us. Thanks again, -Guy
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04/25/2017George Baquetgbaquet@hargrove-epc.comRed Snapper SeasonTo whom it may concer,

I am a recreational fisherman in the state of Louisiana, along with several other family members – one of us has a small off-shore boat. We wait all year for the federal red snapper season and generally get to make a few trips per year.

While I know louisiana has a “state” season, we haven’t participated in that yet as the 9 mile limit doesn’t offer much for us.

Main point is there are many other folks like myself who wait all year for the federal snapper season, which is the only time we take red snapper. Please keep us little guys with private boats in mind, too.

Please consider that not everyone, and possibly a larger percentage of people than may be thought, actually only catch red snapper during the federal season. A few seasons back the weather was so bad we didn’t even get to make one trip, and had to wait a year to get a chance again.

Please try to also consider us those who do only fish the federal season, in their personal boats.

Thank your for all you do to help preserve our resources, which are not only fish,


Regards, George Baquet
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05/03/2017Thomas Webertuna.2000@live.comRed SnapperSeason is a travesty…..
Based on “science”????? What an embarrassment. Can’t fish for anything out of Galveston to keep any more except kings and mahi if the weedlines come back. I have been fishing offshore since 89. Snapper and Amberjack have never been easier to catch or more plentiful. My science is just as valid as yours. Thanks from my kids. Tom Weber
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05/04/2017Bob Bryantbob.bryant@subocorp.comRed SnapperIt is obvious that NMFS nor the Council has a clue as to how many snapper there really are, how many are fishing for them, or how many are being caught.
This lack of any real science or data has lead them down a path of crony capitalism and completely destroyed the FMP that was actually working long before they began the current Gestapo style tactics.

I ask congress in the name of 3.5 million Gulf anglers to compel NMFS and the Council to Stop all fishing for red snapper by ANYONE.

A40 was passed with a lie and a slight of hand….5 years in and there is no accountability for the for hire sector…..
NMFS says that the quota was exceeded in 2016, yet for hire days were increased while private days were decreased. This violated NS 4 (distribution equally) and 407(b). The number of days should have been decreased for both sectors on a prorate basis.

The red snapper management has devolved into a complete quagmire, and the only ones to blame are the council and NMFS. So we implore congress to take action and take legislative action to SHUT DOWN the fishery until investigation of corruption, conflicts of interest, and mismanagement can be completed.

In fact, all federal fisheries should be shut down, until we can get to the bottom of exactly what is WRONG with this council and the South East Region Office of NMFS and the directorship of Dr. Roy Crabtree.


We need to have either congress or the courts, place an immediate stay on the 2017 red snapper season.
It just needs to be stopped; and there should be no further fishing of the resource by ANYONE, until there is a full investigation of the management plans (assuming there is one). We should demand that all fishing cease immediately until a benchmark assessment is made and NOAA is called to account as to why:
If recreational anglers exceeded the 2016 quota why were the private anglers days cut, but for hire increased, we are still a single quota "recreational;" so if the quota was exceeded, then both sectors should have been cut.

We need to get control of this fishery and to do so...ALL FISHING for red snapper must stop.

Do we have any lawyer who want to bite at this one?

Sincerely,


Bob Bryant-Senior Analyst - President
Actuarial Systems Group – SUBO CORP
(727) 420 – 0722
Bob.bryant@subocorp.com
www.subocorp.com
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05/04/2017Matt an Marty Basnightmandmbasnight@mindspring.comRed Snapper SeasonWhat are yall thinking? Last year you allowed the Commercial for hire fleet to claim resources from recreational (NO $) fishermen instead of taking it out the commercial sector ("For Hire" guides are the same as Commercial - ie they make money off a public resource). This group of fishermen now can take a charterer fishing utilizing the recreational limit and then turn around go work for the fish mongers. You have basically given the commercial sector ~75% not the 51/49 split you are claiming. Then you turn around and say that the recreational fishermen over harvested there limits last year and we have to make it up......again.

Wait, how many years now has the recreational season been less than 10 days. And now for 2017 you are allowing us 3 days, the smallest season yet!!!!

The purpose of restricting the fishery is to allow it time to build a larger healthier population that is sustainable. Now you say there so many of them and they are so big that we are over harvesting because the are easy to catch because there are too many artificial reefs.

For starters Red Snapper are an invasive species on the mud flats offshore the Texas coast. Only with the development of the oil and gas fields have they become dominant. Fact there are too many Red Snapper now and that is ALL you can catch. Try to go grouper fishing and see what I mean. Cant remember the last time I actually saw a Pink, Vermilion,Grey or Mutton Snapper offshore.

If you want to regulate the fishery, use real world information not the made up crap you are using now. Go offshore and see for yourself!!
Have you considered issuing Tags like they door for Deer. Better data! Real Data! not made up crap that you quote.

Your surveys are a joke. "Did you catch any fish today? NO its a hurricane and not safe to go offshore. Humm NO Fish. Must be Over fished. ( Actually no it was the weather I didnt fish today). Yes this happens all the time!

Guess I will have to SELL my boat now but I think that is your and NMFS plan all along. Deny access to everybody but the commercials as it cost too much to keep for 1 to 3 days a year with no guarantee the weather will cooperate.

You are not doing your jobs. You are NOT protecting the resource. You are making it worse!
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05/05/2017Jeff Martinezjeffbuck147@gmail.comRed Snapper Season
Well once again the people of this great nation that work hard all year long for a chance to fish when vacation time rolls around get abused by incompetent governing. Any person who has spent any amount of time fishing the Gulf waters knows these bozo's making the decision's have absolutely no regard for anyone other then lining their pockets by by lobbyists they sleep with. This message is for those entangled in their own mess. Competence is easy to spot and incompetence is virtually impossible to hide. Gulf council your incompetence is shining brightly.
~Jeff
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05/05/2017Jeff Martinezjeffbuck147@gmail.comRed Snapper Wake up please! If you got up out of your easy chairs and actually listened to the folks who know what's going on out there you would know all we keep reeling up is red snappers and large ones at that. So thanks again for feeding the dolphin and sharks who know more then your council does.

~Jeff
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05/05/2017Sam Bowenbbowen@bnspc.comRed Snapper SeasonI understand there is a lot of discussion regarding the recreational season this year, and I can only hope that you are trying to find a way to give us more days on the water to catch snapper, and now trigger fish because that is all I can catch on any of the reefs I have bought. Every year I take off time for work to spend the first week of federal season with my father, brothers and my two sons and I need to put in for vacation time soon or I will not be able to be off for the few days we are allowed this year. If there is any way I can know the exact days soon it would be greatly appreciated and I hope I don’t miss this season all together.
Thanks,
Sam Bowen
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05/05/2017Van Goergervkgoerger@hydraulicworks.comRed Snapper SeasonTo whom it may concern

Well I thought last year was a disaster for all the recreational fisherman with having only a nine day season, that included only one weekend, and sea conditions that were terrible the whole time. The season was extended three days and my family was able to get in one trip. Who would have guessed that you were going to find a way to punish us even further. THREE DAYS STARTING ON THURSDAY!!!

It would seem that whoever is making up these regulations has not been out there fishing. You cannot bottom fish for any other species due to the snapper always getting to the lure or bait first. Their like wolves out there.

Well I am at a loss for what to write without getting ugly and mean spirited.

Van K. Goerger
President
Hydraulic Works, Inc.
1823 Shiloh Ave.
Bryan, TX 77803
979-779-6195
979-822-0813 fax
TAMU B.S.C.E. “79”
vkgoerger@hydraulicworks.com
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05/05/2017Jeffrey Martinezjeffbuck147@gmail.comRed SnapperWake up please! If you got up out of your easy chairs and actually listened to the folks who know what's going on out there you would know all we keep reeling up is red snappers and large ones at that. So thanks again for feeding the dolphin and sharks who know more then your council does.

~Jeff
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05/08/2017Joe Matthewsjoe@vistaairservices.comRed Snapper SeasonWhy even give us that much time? All this schedule shows me is that this council is more interested in funneling the resources to themselves and penalizing the ones that don’t pay into the racket. Four whole days, WOW! Why not just issue temporary permits for that allotted timeframe (4 days) to the Recreational Anglers within the same calendar days that you give to the “FOR HIRE”? This way there is some additional control of the fishery and at the same time allows us recreational guys some leeway in our schedules. JUST A THOUGHT….. Thanks

Joe
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05/08/2017Thomas H Fraser, PhDtfraser15@comcast.netRed Snapper SeasonAS a former Marine Fisheries Commissioner (Florida) for 8 years, I agree with David Butcher about the fishing shaft for SW Florida recreational fishers of red snapper in the Federal Zone (3 days in June).
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05/08/2017David R. Butcherdrbutcher@embarqmail.comFort Myers, FLRed Snapper SeasonSirs:
I am sorry to see that your turf war with the State has further restricted the Recreational Red Snapper fishery in our area. You may or may not be aware that small Red Snapper are now appearing off of our area in 100ft of water and are ubiquitous beyond 120ft.along with much larger fish. At 200 ft they are by far the most numerous species we encounter and at that depth usually 8 to 17#. Unfortunately at that depth many of the larger fish don’t survive being caught even with care. Usually if we start catching these truly beautiful fish, we move. However, they have become sufficiently numerous to make fishing for several other species difficult.
Regarding your pending season as it applies to SW Florida. If we were to fish solely for Red Snapper, we have a 60 mile run to 120 Ft. (95 miles to 200 ft.). As the fish are plentiful, it should take 5 to 15 minutes to limit out. We can do this on 3 successive days if the weather is good which is not common. If we continue to fish for other species, the red trail of death behind the boat of the larger fish will likely ensue.
If I actually thought that Red Snapper were over fished in our area sufficiently to limit our season to 3 days, I would suggest that all red snapper fishing, recreational and commercial be closed. On the other hand as the season continues to contract with obvious increasing abundance, Is there any reason for us to care about the fishery? Should we worry about the by-catch that we encounter as we have really no share of the Red Snapper fishery?

David R Butcher
Fort Myers, Fl
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05/08/2017Steph Rimesstephrimes@comcast.netRed Snapper SeasonFor those of us living on the west coast of Florida we have a 50 +mile trip to get to deep enough water to catch red snapper. If you are going to limit us so severely, we should at least be able to catch more than 1 days quota if we stay out overnight or for the weekend.. day 1, should be full weekend quota per person or higher limit per boat (6fish), day 2 (4 fish) day 3 (2 fish).... if we can prove we've been on the water for 3 days we should be able to have 3 days total quota max...
It is the commercial fishermen, not the recreational fishermen that are the problem.
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05/10/2017Alex Robertsonrobertsonalex@hotmail.comMeetingsDear gulf council,

Unsure why these meetings are even held, as a recreational fisherman it's very upsetting to continue to hear that you are unable to help towards a solution.
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05/12/2017Capt. Joe Nashcaptjoenash@gmail.comCool Change Charters, Inc.Orange Beach, ALTurtle Laws for Federally Permitted VesselsHi, Capt Joe Nash Cool Change Charters out of Orange Beach, AL. I would like to express my concern with the Turtle regulation that Involves the Charter for Hire federally permitted vessels. I believe that ALL VESSELS engaged in fishing should be under the same laws as Charter for hire. We all know that this law was basically to save turtles and now that the Red Snapper fishery is open for so long in the state waters, where the sea turtles are generally heading to lay eggs during the fishing season, I feel ALL vessels fishing should have the same equipment on board as us. We are all using the same tackle and have the same opportunity to hook a sea turtle. I am concerned for the safety of the Sea Turtle and is the Federal Gov't going to do anything about this great injustice to the majestic sea turtle? I would like to see this get a fire under it and get into law as soon as possible before another sea turtle is hooked by an angler that does not know how to handle the situation.
Thank you,
Capt. Joe Nash
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05/13/2017Robert Billickgatorreel@yahoo.comRed Snapper SeasonHi, I was just made of aware of the ridiculous 3 day Red Snapper season, that Dr Crabtree and the Gulf council arbitrarily approved, while favoring the Commercial interests. Dr Crabtree and the council is fully aware that in many areas in the gulf, anglers can not catch Red Snapper, but they use the state regulations to punish recreational anglers for political purposes.

It is an abuse of power to make such arbitrary and and grossly uneven regulations and I sincerely hope you will make a more fair adjustment to the current draconian rule that recreational fisherman are subject to for Red Snapper.


Robert Billick
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05/19/2017John L. Gatesgatesjl@gityofgainesville.orgGainesville, FLRed SnapperTo whom it may concern,

Thanks so much for making a short Red Snapper season. Just happens to be on the weekend I have to work. So let me see. The logic is shorter seasons means more fish later right. So the rest of the year when I go grouper fishing and can’t get through the Red Snapper to catch one (Just like last year) I am supposed to feed them to the barracuda. Because that is what happens. I’ll put bait down for a grouper, almost immediately catch a Snapper, unhook it even though it may be 15 or 20 lbs drop it overboard and watch 6 Barracuda tear it apart in seconds. Or un-hook it and watch it die on the surface. That is the worst part. I’m watching a beautiful Red Snapper die but if I pick it up after it dies and bring it in I’m a criminal!

Meanwhile trawlers dragging nets are decimating numerous species. They get to keep tons of snapper and then by the time they get to where we can actually legally purchase one its days if not weeks old and the price is completely outrageous! So I decide why don’t I do some commercial fishing (Which me being a disabled veteran ) I’m allowed some less restrictive rules in obtaining a license. But alas can I get a restricted species license? Of course not because no more are being issued unless someone dies and their family is willing to sell one for an astronomical amount of money.

So how in the world can we get access to a natural resource to feed our families? By , even though I’m a disabled Veteran and medically retired Police Officer on the verge of losing my right leg, I continue to work so I can try to feed my family healthy food instead of frozen processed garbage that will kill us. I’m not one of those people who go out and purchase some fancy boat and go out once in a while to murder some marine life. I have a 12 year old paid off boat that is just barely big enough to get out to where the fish are so we can feed ourselves and three elderly couples all of whom are over 80 years old.

So what is this all about? Helping rebuild a fish stock (That recreational anglers won’t have access to) or money!

If the true purpose of the regulations is to rebuild the fish stock stop Commercial fishing of Red Snapper for one season. It is only one of the many species they sell. Of course they will complain they are feeding their family but so am I. Rest assured they would not quit fishing for them illegal or not. Who is the real criminal here? Maybe I want to feed my family by being a commercial fisherman. But I can’t because no one will issue me a permit to do so.

So where is the logic. The people who take the most keep getting the most while the rest of us get to sit idly by and helplessly watch. These folks get away with killing tons of fish while if a recreational fisherman brings in one, just one illegal fish his life may be ruined by a criminal record. Now he can’t find work . Guess another person will be on welfare or sitting in prison sucking up tax dollars the rest of us work hard to pay! So I guess in the end it is just about the federal government taking more money. Which has created the current political climate we live in today.

So again, thanks so very much for ensuring I won’t be able to keep one snapper while I watch trawlers killing them. Great work you’re doing there. I would be fired using similar logic in my profession.

John L. Gates
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05/30/2017Jeremy MayerSabine Pass, TXRed Snapper Season49 day season commercial and 3 days noncommercial how do thank that is fair and the 3 day season is going to be a wash out I have lost all faith in my crooked federal government

Looks like texas federal unbelievable 3 day season will be a wash out im very upset about this we spend thousands of dollars to fish and just 3 days is all we are allowed is ridiculous you will have a hard time finding a 1 day weather window in 7 day span much less 3 day span
33
05/31/2017Will Browngwbrown@gmail.comRecreational anglerDallas, TXLA EFPPlease support the Louisiana EFP pilot program. I'm a rec angler in Texas, and this EFP addresses three of the main concerns that rec anglers have expressed for years: more flexible access, better data collection, and better coordination between state and federal management. The griping is tedious. This is exactly the kind of outside-the-box thinking that has been missing from this process for a long time. I hope it carries the ball forward towards a sustainable solution. For that to happen, it needs approval.
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6/1/2017 7:53:01Will Brownfrwillbrown@gmail.comDallas, Texas 35219Private Recreational AnglerLouisiana EFPPlease support the Louisiana EFP pilot program. I'm a rec angler in Texas, and this EFP addresses three of the main concerns that rec anglers have expressed for years: more flexible access, better data collection, and better coordination between state and federal management. The griping is tedious. This is exactly the kind of outside-the-box thinking that has been missing from this process for a long time. I hope it carries the ball forward towards a sustainable solution. For that to happen, it needs approval.

Thanks for your time, and for your work on behalf of gulf fishermen.

Pax,
Will Brown
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06/01/2017Bob Zales IIbobzales2@gmail.comPanama City Boatman AssociationPanama City, FLLA EFPAll,
On behalf of the members of the Panama City Boatmen Association (PCBA) and the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) I want to express our extreme opposition to the proposed EFP presented by the State of Louisiana. This proposal is an effort to explore a recreational catch share system, which the vast majority of all recreational anglers are adamantly opposed. This proposed EFP does not even attempt to properly address a true catch share system.

This proposal provides for a lottery to select 150 private recreational boat owners to participate in the program which will provide 25,000 pounds of the LA recreational projected annual harvest of 14% (1.098 million pounds) of the total Gulf recreational harvest. The 14% number was developed in the Council rejected proposed amendment 39. A key problem with LA using this number for the EFP that is restricted to private recreational anglers is the 14% includes all recreational anglers which includes charter/headboat for hire recreational anglers. The 25,000 pounds projected to be gifted to the 150 lottery winners will come out of the total recreational fishery. The charter/headboat for hire fishermen will not be eligible to participate but will lose access to 25,000 pounds of available red snapper. This proposal discriminates against LA charter/headboat for hire vessel owners.

In addition, the proposal will allow the 150 participants to fish under the LA state recreational red snapper season and be gifted approximately 20 red snapper +/- outside the state season. Other than gifting 20 red snapper +/- how will this EFP prove that anglers will support and the fishery can be better managed under the proposal? Frankly, anyone would support being able to land more fish than allowed under a state season, an EFP is not necessary to prove such a concept.

The use of a lottery to select 150 lucky participants only differs from having to pay for the right to have red snapper gifted exclusively by the fact the fish are provided without compensation. Use of a lottery, by definition, allows only those individuals fortunate enough to win. If such a system were to ultimately be the mechanism to select the lucky individuals those who are not selected will lose access to the fishery and have no opportunity to harvest red snapper. This type of management is only to reduce fishing capacity and will cause much social and economic harm to the many small family businesses who support recreational fishing activities. In addition it will be socially and economically destructive to the small local fishing communities in LA and eventually to the rest of the Gulf and the Nation. This proposal is contrary to the current goals of the Trump Administration which is to promote business opportunities and to eliminate regulatory restrictions.

Another reason this proposal is unrealistic and should be denied is the math of the fishery. LA proposes to provide 20 +/- red snapper to each of the 150 participants using only 25,000 pounds. This equates to an average size of 8 + pounds per red snapper. According to LA officials I have spoken to there are 15,000 to 20,000 LA offshore anglers licensed to fish off LA. Using the 1,098,000 million pounds that are projected for the LA allocation under A39 and should the proposed EFP become the program for LA anglers and assuming the number is 17,500 (the middle of 15,000 to 20,000), and all anglers would be provided a share, it would amount to approximately 8 red snapper per angler, less than half of those provided for in the EFP. Under a lottery system, in order to increase the number of red snapper to be close to 20 per angler, more than half of all LA offshore anglers would be eliminated from the fishery. While this may be the ultimate goal of the proposed EFP to reduce the number of anglers able to fish, it is not fair and will work to destroy the recreational fishery in LA, the Gulf, and eventually the Nation.

This proposal is not necessary to achieve the stated goals of the plan. There are many other less destructive ways to improve real time data collection without eliminating participants. Flexibility for anglers fishing time is restricted to a predetermined number of anglers selected by state managers. The rest of the anglers are eliminated. The simple fact is if you want to provide more flexibility to anglers in order to fish whenever they want, eliminate more than half and the rest will certainly be able to fish whenever. There are also other, less destructive means to provide fishery managers with real time harvest data.

This proposed EFP is ill-conceived and only serves to prove what is known, eliminate anglers and those few that are left will have unlimited access to the fishery. This proposed EFP must be rejected.

Sincerely,

Capt. Bob Zales, II
President
NACO and PCBA
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6/1/2017 8:00:21Bob Zales IIbobzales2@gmail.comPanama City, FLLouisiana EFPAll,
On behalf of the members of the Panama City Boatmen Association (PCBA) and the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) I want to express our extreme opposition to the proposed EFP presented by the State of Louisiana. This proposal is an effort to explore a recreational catch share system, which the vast majority of all recreational anglers are adamantly opposed. This proposed EFP does not even attempt to properly address a true catch share system.

This proposal provides for a lottery to select 150 private recreational boat owners to participate in the program which will provide 25,000 pounds of the LA recreational projected annual harvest of 14% (1.098 million pounds) of the total Gulf recreational harvest. The 14% number was developed in the Council rejected proposed amendment 39. A key problem with LA using this number for the EFP that is restricted to private recreational anglers is the 14% includes all recreational anglers which includes charter/headboat for hire recreational anglers. The 25,000 pounds projected to be gifted to the 150 lottery winners will come out of the total recreational fishery. The charter/headboat for hire fishermen will not be eligible to participate but will lose access to 25,000 pounds of available red snapper. This proposal discriminates against LA charter/headboat for hire vessel owners.

In addition, the proposal will allow the 150 participants to fish under the LA state recreational red snapper season and be gifted approximately 20 red snapper +/- outside the state season. Other than gifting 20 red snapper +/- how will this EFP prove that anglers will support and the fishery can be better managed under the proposal? Frankly, anyone would support being able to land more fish than allowed under a state season, an EFP is not necessary to prove such a concept.

The use of a lottery to select 150 lucky participants only differs from having to pay for the right to have red snapper gifted exclusively by the fact the fish are provided without compensation. Use of a lottery, by definition, allows only those individuals fortunate enough to win. If such a system were to ultimately be the mechanism to select the lucky individuals those who are not selected will lose access to the fishery and have no opportunity to harvest red snapper. This type of management is only to reduce fishing capacity and will cause much social and economic harm to the many small family businesses who support recreational fishing activities. In addition it will be socially and economically destructive to the small local fishing communities in LA and eventually to the rest of the Gulf and the Nation. This proposal is contrary to the current goals of the Trump Administration which is to promote business opportunities and to eliminate regulatory restrictions.

Another reason this proposal is unrealistic and should be denied is the math of the fishery. LA proposes to provide 20 +/- red snapper to each of the 150 participants using only 25,000 pounds. This equates to an average size of 8 + pounds per red snapper. According to LA officials I have spoken to there are 15,000 to 20,000 LA offshore anglers licensed to fish off LA. Using the 1,098,000 million pounds that are projected for the LA allocation under A39 and should the proposed EFP become the program for LA anglers and assuming the number is 17,500 (the middle of 15,000 to 20,000), and all anglers would be provided a share, it would amount to approximately 8 red snapper per angler, less than half of those provided for in the EFP. Under a lottery system, in order to increase the number of red snapper to be close to 20 per angler, more than half of all LA offshore anglers would be eliminated from the fishery. While this may be the ultimate goal of the proposed EFP to reduce the number of anglers able to fish, it is not fair and will work to destroy the recreational fishery in LA, the Gulf, and eventually the Nation.

This proposal is not necessary to achieve the stated goals of the plan. There are many other less destructive ways to improve real time data collection without eliminating participants. Flexibility for anglers fishing time is restricted to a predetermined number of anglers selected by state managers. The rest of the anglers are eliminated. The simple fact is if you want to provide more flexibility to anglers in order to fish whenever they want, eliminate more than half and the rest will certainly be able to fish whenever. There are also other, less destructive means to provide fishery managers with real time harvest data.

This proposed EFP is ill-conceived and only serves to prove what is known, eliminate anglers and those few that are left will have unlimited access to the fishery. This proposed EFP must be rejected.

Sincerely,

Capt. Bob Zales, II
President
NACO and PCBA

I and many others will not be in attendance for the Council meeting beginning on Monday since we will be fishing for red snapper for the short 49 day season. The above is my testimony that would be stated if I was there.
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06/02/2017Ryan Bradleymscfuwebs@gmail.comMississippi Commercial Fisheries United, Inc.Long Beach, MississippiWrittenCarryover of unharvested quota and fisheries fincance program
38
6/3/2017 14:20:03Paul GastonPaul@goramair.comGrand Bay AL 36541Private Recreational AnglerRed SnapperThanks for the 3 day Snapper Season of course it had to be terrible tidal movment ,poor fishing days, and horrible weather for fishing. I think this is the most ignorant management if a fishery around. Had no problem catching Snapper at all. We must have been lucky to catch so many endangered fish. However we were not able to catch anything else but Snapper everywhere we went. You have destroyed the entire balance of Alabama waters with the overpopulation of red Snapper. Can someone please do some actual research and fix this before all we have in the gulf is red snapper!!!!!
39
06/04/2017Jon Paul Brookerjbrooker@oceanconservancy.orgOcean ConservancySt.Petersburg, FLLA EFPWe recommend that the Council votes in favor of recommending the State of Louisiana’s innovative Exempted Fishing Permit to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for approval. Thanks for your time, and for your work on behalf of gulf fishermen.
40
06/05/2017William T. Blackistontreyblackiston@yahoo.comLA EFPTo whom it may concern,

As an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, I am in full support of the smartphone data collection for red snapper proposed by Patrick Banks.

William T. Blackiston III
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6/5/2017 8:22:18Ryan BradleyMscfuwebs@gmail.comLong Beach. MississippiCommercial Fisher1.) Options Paper – Carryover of Unharvested Quota (Tab E, No. 6) – Rindone
- MSCFU currently supports the following alternatives :
(a) Action 1: Alternative 6 because this alternative gives the most realistic opportunity for the fishery to utilize a carryover of unharvested quota for the most sought after species. This potential amendment is critical to the commercial fishery because the current “use it or lose it” provision for annual quotas in Individual Fishing Quota programs have put fishermen whom predominately “lease” shares at an unfair advantage. For example: fishermen whom lease shares early in the year are finding out that the dockside value of landed fish plummets in the late fall as fishers rush to fill out any remaining quota before the end of the year as a slight glut of the market occurs annually and a significant decrease in ex-vessel prices is observed.
(b) Action 2: Alternative 4 because this alternative gives sufficient justification for such a carryover provision by allowing unused portions of quota amounting to less than 10 % to be carried over. Language should be modified to state “no more than 10 % of the unused quota can be carried over to (1.) Allow for a minimal carryover in species that exceed 10 % underharvested quota and (2.) promote conservation by leaving any percentage over 10 % of the underhavested quota in the water.
(c) Action 3: Alternative 1 because additional regulatory mechanisms (buffers) may not be necessary at this time and may have unintended consequences not fully discussed.
(d) Action 4: Currently, we do not support any of the listed proposed alternatives. Similar to Action 2; an additional alternative could be developed to prevent no more than 10 % of underharvested quota to carry over to the following year. This achieves both economic and conservation objectives.
3.) Fishery Finance Program Presentation (Tab B, No. 11b) – Stephen (NMFS)

- MSCFU currently opposes the creation of a loan program for the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish fishery. Our constituency has indicated that sufficient private capital and private investment exists for small-shareholders and new entrants. Several potential new entrants sit by idly waiting to invest in catch shares/ permits should the proper modifications to IFQ programs be fully implemented. The current regulatory scheme in regards to the IFQ programs is largely unprofitable and inequitable for new entrants and small-
shareholders that are forced to lease shares indefinitely. Additionally, concerns have been expressed that a loan program could artificially drive up the prices of shares, permits, and vessels; further increasing barriers to entry. MSCFU currently favors the set aside of quota for each species managed under IFQ for small-shareholders and new entrants to access directly from NMFS over any kind of loan program.
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6/5/2017 8:27:25Jon Paul BrookerJbrooker@oceanconservancy.orgSt.Petersburg, FLNGOLA EFPIn anticipation of this week’s Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) meeting in Naples, Florida, Ocean Conservancy1 would like to provide comments on the following three issues:
State of Louisiana’s Exempted Fishing Permit Application
We recommend that the Council votes in favor of recommending the State of Louisiana’s innovative Exempted Fishing Permit to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for approval.
43
6/5/17Joe Nashcaptjoenash@gmail.comOrange Beach, ALRed Snapper SeasonTo the council, I am a full time charter operater, owner. Food for thought Brian Lynch had a very good point while talking about the seasons. recreational boat owners have 3 opportunities to fish while our anglers only go once during the season so they get their 1 day of snapper fishing. A different point of view.
The other way to look at it is very few recreational anglers show up to the meetings even when the times and places are changed for their benifit and they expect someone else to fight their battles, kinda like don't show up for class but expect a passing grade. The protest was extremely WEAK at best 20 boats, they wouldn't even show up for that.
News is full of talk about opening more days to recreational season this year, those days are going to have to come from somewhere. I think that would be a bad idea.
My thoughts,
Thank you,
Capt Joe Nash
Cool change Charters orange Beach
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06/06/2017Steve Silveriosteve@fishingmatters.bizLA EFPDear Sir or Madam,
I remember the days when there weren't any red snapper to catch. Now, they are coming back and we should all be proud of that. For that reason, I fully support LDWF and the EFP for red snapper data collection. Let's all stick together and ensure a viable future for snapper.
45
06/06/2017Eric Brazereric@shareholdersalliance.orgshareholders allianceLA EFPOn behalf of the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance (Shareholders’ Alliance), please accept these comments on the following issues to be discussed at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) meeting in Naples, Florida this week. Exempted Fishing Permit Application for State Management Pilot Project.
The current management system for private anglers in federal waters is clearly not working, as evidenced by the 3-day federal season. More needs to be done to examine alternatives to that system. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ proposal for an experimental fishing permit is a good faith effort to explore such alternatives to get the angler community more days on the water, while attempting to maintain the health of the red snapper fishery and ensure the continued viability of the commercial and charter/for-hire sectors.
46
06/06/2017Eric Brazereric@shareholdersalliance.orgshareholders allianceReallocation Reallocation.
It should come as no surprise that we have strong concerns with rehashing this controversial and divisive issue. We’ve already seen how taking allocation from commercial fishermen and taking red snapper off the plates of American seafood consumers won’t fix the problem of a shrinking federal red snapper angler season. We strongly advise the Gulf Council to acknowledge the Court’s recent ruling and refocus its valuable time and resources on coming up with real solutions that allow for more sustainable private angler access and improved recreational data collection.
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06/06/2017Phil Chorneypchorney@gmail.comLALA EFP
Dear Sir or Madam,
I frequently visit the Sportsman's Paradise and would like to give you my opinion on red snapper. Recreational anglers need to give biologists the best data possible to manage every species. LDWF needs to be allowed to use the smart phone app for data collection on red snapper. We lost them once and we don't want to lose them again.
Thanks,
Phil Chorney
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06/06/2017Mark Eustismark.eustis@greyowlanalytics.comLA EFPTo whom it may concern:

As an avid follower of the US fisheries policies, I am extremely pleased to see Louisiana DWF propose the Exempted Fishing Permit application. The test program proposes to use mobile apps for electronic reporting to improve data on red snapper harvests in the recreational community. This is an excellent idea, and a wise use of state resources. The solution will be an easily-deployed source for robust, statistically-relevant data in near-real time. A phenomenal approach to obtaining good data and the foundation for better science. Kudos to those who originated the idea and the technical developers. Y’all keep up the great work.

I couldn’t agree more with your approach. This program is *exactly* what every fisheries council and technical committee around the USA should be using for better management. As we all know, councils are obliged to obtain and conduct the best-available science to inform our fisheries decisions – and this program can be expected to meet those goals at very low cost with excellent returns.

But regardless of these facts, some disagree. They disagree with the test program out of ignorance, or perhaps worse yet to obtain political advantage and take more fish. Frankly, you may with time be able to educate the former for their lack of understanding, but the latter should be roundly ignored for their willful ability to misrepresent reality. The fact is the red snapper are but a few years removed from extirpation if access isn’t closely managed. So please disregard these naysayers and stay the course, push forward with the program, and let your good data and best-available science prove them wrong.

We are fishing down the coastal food web all around the USA, and not just for red snapper. We can’t afford to keep blindly taking species just as our over-stressed fish stocks begin to show resurgence – we must protect these resources for future generations. The foundation of successful preservation is to build stronger models and better-defined targets based on definitive, unimpeachably accurate data – and compare these data against meaningful baselines, not shifting targets and inaccurate estimates. Without good data, the red snapper will likely go the way of Atlantic Cod, American Shad, Atlantic Salmon, Chesapeake Oysters, Pacific Bluefin Tuna, Summer Flounder…and the list goes on and on. Don’t let Red Snapper become the next fisheries statistic. Don’t yield, go forward.

Use the EFP and the mobile app to help define your stock, set targets to protect it, and enforce the State and Federal laws based on best-available science.

Thank you for your consideration,

Mark Eustis
Managing Partner
Grey Owl Analytics, LLC
mark.eustis@greyowlanalytics.com
703-283-8938
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06/06/2017George Liederhouse45.5656n78.6432w@gmail.comLA EFPI understand y'all may have some problem with doing the LDWF EFP phone test program. Y'all need to get on with the test and start doin' the right thing by the snapper. that program's a good idea. Do it.



Our red snapper are starting to come back, and now everyone and all are yellin' for more. Still time to give them fishes a break, I think, not declare open season all over again. Sure, there’s rich folk what are pushing new laws to to take off the limits so they can go get ‘em. Well, they’re like to take everything they can catch if we don’t limit them, and we’ll be back where we were years ago – or worse. Might be the end of the snapper in my life! Never thought I'd a seen that. Never.



We need to know more on the fish. We need to know sooner. This waiting around for studies and such is lunacy when there’s better ways in everybody’s hands. So this thing’s you announce is a test. Well, then do it. Get the facts. Don’t listen to these “sportsmens” groups that are just pushing for more take. That’s all they do, take until there’s none left to hook and the water’s empty. Us folks have the same rights and and chances as the "sportsmen" - but we don't have the same dollars what walks around politicking like them. So give everyone the same treatment, not giving better for them Texas rich, and less to the citizen.



Get better info, make better laws, and send the cops around to stop the dam poachers and overtakers. Protect our fish. Our fish. Not “their fish” but "all our fish" – they are God’s creatures put here for all of us to enjoy, and that’s not just some of us. If we all have to limit our take so everyone has a chance, that’s fine. But get the facts right and make the laws and enforce ‘em. Do y’alls job for all the people. And do your test soon so we can get on with it.



God Bless



George Liederhouse

Concerned citizen and 3rd Generation fisherman.
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06/07/2017Will Geraghtycaptwill@naplessportfishing.comNaples, FLLA EFPHaving just finished my season as a fly fishing guide in Louisiana, I find myself chasing tarpon here in Southwest Florida. In my spare time while in Louisiana, I recreationally fish for red snapper.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced last week that it has developed an electronic fishing permit (EFP) program designed to test a real-time smartphone app to collect harvest data from recreational anglers on red snapper. This program will see 150 randomly drawn licensed anglers help study this app by catching 25,000 pounds of red snapper in 2018 and again in 2019. This program hopefully will help LDWF prove the state of Louisiana can provide accurate and real-time data to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), thus giving recreational fishermen the access and flexibility to up 200 nautical miles out to catch snapper.

The number of days in the federal snapper season is at a record low. With Louisiana taking action to develop a program that could be replicated throughout the Gulf of Mexico, I encourage the fishermen of Florida to pay close attention to how this develops. We could see states being responsible with their fisheries, using science to make decisions.

I want to commend LDWF and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards for having the forethought to develop a program that creates a potential solution to a quagmire of a situation. This EFP could be the template all the Gulf states use to create a state management system we can all get behind.

Jim Deitz, Estero

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06/07/2017Adam Wilneradamjwilner@mac.comLA EFPI love the water and have spent every available moment enjoying everything it has to offer. When red snapper started to come back a few years ago, it was very promising. We need to manage these fish for tomorrow! No one wants to see them disappear again. Please vote yes on the proposal from LDWF. Let them figure out this smart phone app. It could really revolutionize the way we manage all fish, not just red snapper.

Adam Wilner
(301) 502-5682
adamjwilner@mac.com
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06/07/2017Madison B. Currinmadison.currin@lpl.comRecreational harvest limitsMy proposal would be that the recreational anglers has a 5 fish limit per person consisting of Red Snapper, Grouper and Triggerfish, with no more than 2 Red Snapper or 2 Gag grouper in that 5 fish total. The recreational season should start on April 1 and go through October 31 with fishing days of Friday, Saturday's and Sunday's and national holidays during this time frame. That would be a time frame of approximately 210 total days and approximately 93 total fishing days available. Of these 93 days you would likely reduce that number by 20% due to bad weather which would result in approximately 75 days. Get rid of the state water boundary. Some rec anglers due to vessel size will only fish "state" waters anyway so the real impact in federal waters would again be lower than any number that is currently being thrown around. Most recreational fishermen fish in boats between 17-40 feet. Virtually ALL commercial vessels are well over 50', which leads to my next point of discussion.

We are not asking the commercial fishermen to not make a living catching and selling fish. I propose that the commercial "season" occur from November 1-March31 with no limit to the days they can fish. Their vessels are larger and are more equipped to handle rougher conditions during the winter. Most (likely over 95%) of recreation fishermen do not fish at all during this time.

The size of the Snapper being caught indicates a very healthy and sustainable resource for ALL to enjoy.

The amount of triggerfish available that are not allowed to be retained is as numerous as I have ever seen. The other day we were catching them on non bated sabiki rigs at every location we fished.

We should also be allowed to harvest one amberjack of substantial size 34-36" fork length minimum per angler during the rec season I have proposed.
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06/07/2017Adam Kirradam.kirr@gmail.comLA EFPHi Gulf Council-

I've enjoyed catching red snapper in the last few years. We should give the data collection plan from LDWF a chance. Let's focus on keeping red snapper around for future generations. Please vote "yes" on the proposed EFP. It just makes sense and frankly, things can't get much worse.

Sincerely,
--
Adam Kirr
C:443-838-5066
adam.kirr@gmail.com
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06/07/2017Dylan Hubbarddhubbard@hubbardsmarina.comCharter/HeadboatFLBudget, decending devices, ACL carryover, Recreaitonal ACT red snapper modifications, LA EFPTo start, a little background on us and our company. At Hubbard’s Marina, we operate two federally permitted head boats with 50+ passengers and four charter boats all with federal permits, two of those are multi passenger USCG inspected charter vessels. Hubbard’s Marina carries around 60,000 anglers on average per year for near shore and offshore deep sea vertical line fishing. Typically fishing depths of 10-1,000 foot off the central west coast of Florida as a family owned and operated business since 1928.

The following are our recommendations to the council regarding what has been discussed this far at the meeting.

2017 Budget (Tab G)
If successful, Senator Shelby of AL, will be receiving a large amount of possible future budget in the amount of $10,000,000 we would like to see this utilized for new science.

(Tab E – 5) Options Paper – Framework action to require possession of descending devices or venting tools on board vessels possessing reef fish
Chapter 2.1 - Action 1 – we suggest alternative 3a in conjunction with alternative 4 to increase the survival of released fish, thereby minimizing the mortality of bycatch when barotrauma is present. Also, the development of an outreach program would be a great addition to the requirement of having a venting tool on board because many anglers will need to learn how and when to vent a fish properly. Finally, we strongly encourage you to consider removing the possibility of making a descending device required as they are not realistic to be used offshore, especially in the charter or head boat setting. You would need to hire a specific mate to man the descending device and it would end up causing the fish your releasing to spend more time above the water then simply venting and dehooking. Also, a descending device would quickly turn into a shark feeder in our opinion especially during the warmer months when these predators are always around our fishing vessels waiting for a slow-moving target which we would be providing to them. On top of this, you would need to designate a specific area on the boat to allow your newly hired mate operating your descending device enough area to have a rod rigged or weighted basket rigged to descend your reef fish.

(Tab E – 6) Options Paper – Carryover of Unharvested Quota and SSC Recommendations
Chapter 2.1 – Action 1 – We proposed adding a 7th alternative that would apply a carry-over provision to harvest the unused portion of the ACL for any managed finish species in the gulf with no criterion added.

(Tab N – 4) Options Paper – Coral Amendment 9
Chapter 2.1 – Action 1 – We suggest Alternative 1 no action, as to not conflict with the current rules set forth by Florida allowing these octocorals to remain under Florida’s state management.
Chapter 2.3 – Action 3 – We suggest alternative 1 no action, not increasing the Pulley ridge south HAPC with regulations.
Chapter 2.4 – Action 4 – We suggest alternative 1 no action, do not establish any HAPCs on West Florida Shelf
Chapter 2.5 – Action 5 – we suggest alternative 1 no action, do not establish any HAPCs in the Northeastern region
Chapter 2.6 – Action 6 – We suggest alternative 1 no action, do not establish any new HAPCs in the Northwestern Gulf Region
Chapter 2.7 – Action 7 – We suggest alternative 1 no action, do not establish any new HAPCs in Southwest region
Chapter 2.8 – Action 8 – We suggest alternative 1 no action, do not establish any deep-water coral HPACs

(Tab B – 4a) Final action – Amendment 33
Chapter 2.1 – Action 1 – We suggest alternative 1 no action, Minimum stock size threshold (MSST) for the reef fish stocks listed would not be changed. We feel the preferred alternative 3 is a moving target, and would further complicate and already complex system.

(Tab B – 5a) Final action – Amendment 47
Chapter 2.1 – Action 1 – We suggest Alternative 1 no action, a proxy is not needed as this is a healthy stock that is not being overfished
Chapter 2.2 – Action 2 – We suggest again alternative 1 no action, the ACL for vermillion snapper will remain 3.42mp as we currently have a healthy fishery. If the ACL is adjusted down around the border of current catch landings and it happens to be hit once or twice we do not want to see vermillion have the over fished designation as they are again, a healthy stock

(Tab B – 7) Draft – framework action to modify the ACT for red snapper federal for-hire and private angler components.
Comment: The red snapper fishery is very robust and has really recovered in the eastern gulf and remains strong in the northern and western gulf. We feel that red snapper is a species that has been a conservation champion recovering quickly and dramatically to the point that we are forced to run away from the huge areas of red snapper we find closer and closer to shore in the central west coast of Florida. Due to this, we feel the ACL for red snapper in the rec and for hire sectors should be increased by a minimum of 10%. The larger ACL would allow for the bigger 25% buffer for the rec sector while still allowing the possibility of more fishing days if the ACT is not exceeded at the end of 2017 for the rec sector. We feel the for-hire component has not hit its ACT or ACL so the buffer for this sector should be decreased again allowing more possible fishing days.
Chapter 2.1 – Action 1 – We suggest Alternative 3a increasing the rec sector ACT buffer to 25% in conjunction with alternative 4c decreasing the for-hire sector ACT buffer by 10%
If the ACL for both sectors combined was increased by 10% than the above alternatives would both increase the possibility of more fishing time while ensuring the ACTs are not exceeded, which triggers the payback in the following fishing year like we have seen in the rec sector during 2017.

(Tab B – 8) Draft – Framework action – Greater Amberjack ACL and management measures
Comment: We feel that this major issue has been brought about by a spike in the phone surveys for the rec sector that occurred around the panhandle of Florida. You can see this data spike clearly in Table 1.1.4 showing a 135.5% increase in the private catch landings for 2016! While in the same year the headboat, charter and commercial landings all decreased by 18,000-38,000 lbs. To us, this is a clear indication of data issue and we appeal to the council this data spike be reviewed and if found to be a false spike then these actions be reevaluated completely since the issue calling for ACL adjustment would be no more.
Chapter 2.1 – Action 1 – We suggest Alternative 2 with option A which would set the ACL equal to the ABC recommended by the Science and Statistical Committee (SSC) while establishing a buffer to ensure ACL isn’t passed triggering payback
Chapter 2.2 – Action 2 – With a heavy heart we suggest Alternative 4 to ensure no more mid-season closures which are detrimental to our tourism across the gulf states as people plan fishing adventures based on what is expected to be open and the opportunity to catch these fish. Mid-season closures really can get messy and cause fishing trip cancelations and entire vacations to be canceled which again is a hardship of the gulf state economies.
Chapter 2.3 – Action 3 – We suggest Alternative 1 no action, do not modify the current recreational minimum size limit. This 34-inch minimum length is only 2 years old, we need data to see its effect on the stock’s spawning potential as 85% of females reach maturity at this length. Also, the Upper confidence level (UCL) is at a 100% at this current size limit.

(Tab B – 12b) Revised draft amendment 31 – Allocation-based management for federal permitted charter vessels
Chapter 2.1 – Action 1 – We propose Alternative 1 no action with an added option A that would make log book reporting mandatory like it is in the headboat industry. After a set amount of time like 3,5 or 7 years this could be reevaluated and by then there would be historical catch data to work from.
If alternative 2 is pursued, against our recommendation, we would highly recommend to the council that they utilize the headboat historical catch data to evaluated the geographic of the reported catch data because we feel there are many amberjack, red snapper, and trigger fish in the peninsula area of Florida they are not so concentrated in the northern gulf as we have heard discussed by the council. Working with the geographic data from the reported headboat landings before the initial distribution of PFQ or IFQ in the charter for hire sector would allow a more accurate distribution from the start, but allowing Alternative 1 no action then requiring reporting in our opinion is still the best course of action eliminating the guesswork completely once catch history can be established for this sector.
Chapter 2.2 – Action 2 – We suggest alternative 1 no action, if you are going to work through a complicated system such as this we feel it would need to be mandatory for the entire sector
Chapter 2.3 – Action 3 – We suggest alternative 2 with 2a-2e included if this type of management is going to be mandatory it should include all species listed. Also, it must follow the progression of Amendment 42 so they mirror each other per the Ad Hoc committee’s suggestions. If they don’t include the same species the public confusion will be insurmountable, and only make this a harder sell.
Chapter 2.5 – Action 5 – We suggest alternative 4 with option C we feel this would take into consideration historical landings by region while still distributing the quota equaling and all while weighing passenger capacity as main variable.
Chapter 2.6.1 – Adaptive management cycle we suggest alternative 2 with option b allowing a shorter cycle in the beginning spreading shares appropriately then it moves toward a more stable long-term system
Chapter 2.6.2 – Reclamation of shares we suggest alternative 3 with option A if the reclaimed shares are only those which are not being used
Chapter 2.6.3 – Redistribution of Reclaimed shares we suggest alternative 3 ensuring the unused shares are not given to someone while will once again not use them
Chapter 2.7 – action 7 – We suggest alternative 2 keeping the fishery for those are actively fishing it
Chapter 2.8 – action 8 – we suggest alternative 2 with added option A allowing a family to pass down their permit/endorsement with shares to a family member with federal permit
Chapter 2.9 – action 9 – We suggest alternative 2 ensuring active fisherman are the only ones eligible to receive the tags
Chapter 2.10 – action 10 – a cap is needed, but need more data specifically whether PFQ vs. IFQ because a PFQ cap could be much lower while an IFQ cap would need to be higher to accommodate a participant with multiple permitted vessels

(Tab B – 13) Draft Amendment 42 – federal reef fish headboat management
Not discussed during this meeting, allowing time for Amendment 41 to catch up. However, we again urge the council to ensure Amendments 41 and 42 move together and mirror one another not only in the timeline but also by allocation and species included.

(Tab S – 1) Review of exempted fishing permit (EFP) applications
We urge the council not to allow this exempted fishing permit to proceed to ensure this type of allocation based management doesn’t move into the recreational sector that is all based on opportunity to fish and the ability to have open access to that fishery opportunity. Additionally, Louisiana citizens and legislation overwhelmingly oppose this suggested EFP.
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6/7/2017 12:43:13John Dillashawdillashawjo@gmail.comTampaPrivate Recreational AnglerAllocation IFQ for reef fishThis is nothing more than privatization of a public resource. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. Give the management of the gulf species back to the states and let the people who actually fish and enjoy the sport decide. This is nothing more than a way for the federal government and those making decisions to make extra side cash. Your data is skewed and your "average catch" numbers make no sense. Just STOP
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6/7/2017 12:45:00Mitchell Carmack Mitchellcarmack@ymail.com Mulberry FL 33860Private Recreational AnglerGeneral FishingI feel we should have more rights to the same fish as everyone else. We spend millions of dollars as a recreational fishermen yet we are restricted in what and how many but the commercial can take the same resources and make a profit.
This whole system is messed up.
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6/7/2017 12:50:13Brandon Alleman brndnalleman@yahoo.comPierre part , la 70339Private Recreational AnglerLA. EFPI am 110% against the EFP pilot program.
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6/7/2017 12:51:12MatthewMatthewdillahunty@gmail.com St petersburg, fl 33709Private Recreational AnglerLA pilot quota systermThis system appears to be giving an unrealistic amount of quota to a small group of fishermen. If this were extrapolated across the gulf, how much over the TAC would the recreational sector Be?
This pilot has no chance to provide any useful data due to its design, among other reasons.
Catch shares have no place in the recreational fishery, which, by the way, includes for-hire.
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6/7/2017 12:51:14Brian burghardt Brianb@rgcjax.com Atlantic beach, FL 32233Private Recreational AnglerCatch shares IFQI would like to give my concern with the allocation type management of our fisheries moving into the recreational sector both for hire and private. I believe it will limit access to our fisheries. Drive cost up and create fish lord type practises like it has done with the commercial sector. In the commercial sector people that do not actively fish control quotas and sell them...pass them down to relatives and make money with no actual hand in the fishery. I want my son's to have access to our great fisheries here in florida both in the Gulf and atlantic. I am dismayed at the closed and short seasons in some fisheries. Anecdotal evidence shows us the red snapper stocks are bigger than they have been in years. On a party boat trip in February we caught and release so many legal red snapper. In the atlantic when I started fishing out of Mayport in 04. A party boat would ca5xh maybe a handful of red snapper. By the closure in 2010...the boat would li m it out. And since the closure you must actively looking for spots that don't hold an abundance of red snapper.
IFQS will only limit the access to the recreational angler and drive costs up
I am against this.
We need more access to these resources not limited access.
I want sustainable fisheries. But the key words are sustainable and fisheries...meaning the allowable catch should be reflective of the common knowledge abundance of said fisheries. Having talked to captains in the Gulf....red snapper are everywhere
Have you been on a headboard trip lately? Or a charter...take a field trip and tell me there aren't lots of red snapper in the gulf....check out the reports on florida sportsman. During the asinine 3 day season people limited out in an hour...

Just say no to IFQ
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6/7/2017 12:53:35Matthew c kaczmarek Saltlife2003@gmail.com Riverview fl 33578Private Recreational AnglerIfqThe ifq system you forced down the throats of the commercial sector has ZERO place in the for hire or recreational sector. To force us the buy are right to catch and harvest any fish is unconstitutional. It is nothing more then a means to have more Financial gain on a PUBLIC Resource . And is another example of the Flawed system that is in place.
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6/7/2017 12:57:51Marissa MortonMarissa8989@gmail.comSeminole, FL, 33776Private Recreational AnglerFeedbackWe can all agree that there needs to be safeguards in place to protect our fishery. However, recreational fisherman are being shafted in each and every closure and season. Red snapper for example. These fish are everywhere. Every time we go fishing we catch so many and we have to let them go every time. We have to take off work if we want the ability to keep our catch because the recreational season is on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You create mass chaos. Think about all of the implications that go along with a 3 day season. Boat ramps packed to the hilt, tiny boats making the voyage out to Federal waters to try and get their take of snapper for the year. You've put people in a dangerous place. Your guidelines and reasons for closing a season are not clear and your evidence is mediocre at best. You set these meetings when recreational fisherman are at work. We have to work so we can fish. We just want the opportunity to keep what we catch without harsh timelines and timeframes. Provide us with solid evidence of the need for a shortened season or an early closure and we will be happy. We want a healthy fishery just like everyone else. Gou are out of control with your regulations and someone has to stand up for the recreational angler.

Marissa
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6/7/2017 13:10:43Jason Descantjdescant@gmail.comPalm HarborPrivate Recreational AnglerLA EFPI am apposed to the LA EFP Pilot Program. Catch shares / IFQ systems have no business in the recreational sector!
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6/7/2017 13:16:10Jason Descantjdescant@gmail.comPalm HarborPrivate Recreational AnglerFix Your Science on Red Snapper!I am a Private Recreational Angler and an Offshore Boat owner. In 2016 I kept ZERO Red Snapper in 2017 I kept TWO Red Snapper. The presentation from Mississippi showed the the MRIP information grossly over estimates landings, I believe this would be true across all states. Fix the data use and I believe the "days" will increase for recreational anglers. I just want the opportunity to fish when I can.
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6/7/2017 13:24:53Robert GillisRobertgillis11@gmail.comMulberry,FL,33860Private Recreational AnglerManaging our fisheriesI have started to follow this work of managing our fisheries very closely now, from the recent AJ closure. Mr.Dylan Hubbard has been a great mentor on educating the typical fisherman like myself. I know now managing our fisheries is no easy task but this task is being run like a business coupled with opinionated science not trie hard data or facts and frankly this cannot sustain our fisheries or businesses. You need to do a better job working with all 3 sectors and maintain a healthy season for all involved by hiring real people for these studies. If you truely care what you are doing for the gulf then you know you are doing a horrible job rightnow managing yourselves. How can you put extreme limits and days on fisheries based on unknowns, you are the ones creating an unbalance gulf for profits of others. Please continue to work on these issues and jist frankly do a better job for all of us depend on you. Thank you
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6/7/2017 13:26:27Sonny Gloverdeepseatunachaser@gmail.comDade City Fl, 33525Private Recreational AnglerMake it fairAs we continue to see increase in regulations in areas that DOES NOT make any sense (example American Red Snapper) it makes you wonder why are you doing this to all the private anglers? We spend a lot of money on bots and vacation condos to enjoy the water to only have it taken away from us for the commercial guys to profit on. There is to much greed and I hope with all the unity of everyone shedding light on how corrupt your system is that change will come.
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6/7/2017 13:34:34Joseph Rainesheadfirstfishing@gmail.comSaint Petersburg, Florida 33712Private Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-HireRecreational and Charter AccessWe should not create any opportunity for individuals and companies to buy up fishing quota and shut out the private recreational angler from the gulf of mexico fish stocks. We need a realistic and uncomplicated system that continues to allow the charter and recreational sector to thrive and enjoy the Gulf of Mexico just as much as anybody else.


Red Snapper are in perfectly good shape as nobody anywhere is having a hard time catching them. Red snapper are artificially inflated in number due the oil and gas industry platforms and pipelines, and artificial reef building that has occured throughout the northern gulf. Red snapper only occured in certain natural locations before all of the platforms and reef building occured. Big red snapper are not hard to find. Red snapper seasons and limits should be increased.
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6/7/2017 13:40:08Chris SmalleyCsmalley@bluegracegroup.com34695Private Recreational AnglerFederal Red Snapper RegulationsI'm writing to ask that you lengthen the recreational red snapper season from the three days we got this year. I have been fishing the Gulf of Mexico for the past twelve years and I can tell you from personal experience, there are plenty of red snapper to go around, there are so many that sometimes I can't get passed them to get to my target species. I am not alone, the people that are out there fishing all the time know the ARS stocks are great! Do the right thing and increase the season. In west central Florida we don't catch them in state waters so only extending the federal season will help.

Chris Smalley
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6/7/2017 13:45:03Jerry Gutzkejerrygutzke@yahoo.comPrivate Recreational AnglerFisheries ManagementThe way the fishery (everyones resource) is being managed is a joke! All about politics and money. Plain disgusting.
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6/7/2017 13:46:05Michael McDuffmikemcduff@gmail.comPensacola, FL 32504Private Recreational AnglerEFPI am very strongly opposed to tags or allocations of a public resource going to select individuals. People are greedy... they will buy up as many as possible and turn around and sell for a profit. And that's just the one that jumps out at me... there will be SOOOO many issues with this if it is implemented.

A reporting system is needed for the rec anglers (look to all 5 states getting behind the Alabama mobile app reporting system... and SHOULD BE ACCEPTED as data). As long as there is no accepted data other than the small survey samples extrapolated to the entire fishing community... money will always guide the guesses. I have not caught and kept an ARS in OVER 2 YEARS.... and I (as a permanent Florida resident who fishes often) am not alone - does that play into the guessing game? Many rec anglers have stopped fishing deep... we can't keep ARS, trigger, grouper, or AJ... the 4 most common fish in our area. Good luck catching anything else! You can't keep them off your baits to catch anything legal.

Also, the stock assessment MUST include artificial reefs!!!! That is the dumbest part of the whole management process to me. We have some of the largest artificial reef systems in the WORLD! The reef fish prefer structure.... how can you not include them in your assessments?? It's like taking a census of the desert!

Please stop this madness and let us go offshore fishing! You are hurting the tourism industry, the marine industry, and the people that pay YOUR salary (unless you're already on the take from EDF).

Just STOP IT ALREADY. This is insane....
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6/7/2017 13:48:30Timothy W Jensen grouperman68@gmail.com Valrico, Florida, 33594Private Recreational AnglerLimit and seasonGreetings,

I have fished the Western Gulf of Mexico and other deep sea spots all my life. I am amazed at how many red snapper are out in the depths that my friends and I commonly fish. Some trips we have had to relocate due to their aggressive behavior and sheer numbers. I am not sure that the affected organizations really know the best way to proceed, but what you are doing as of late simply put, isn't working. We cannot really fish state waters for certain species, because they are not present in the shallow water of the mid gulf. Red snapper should be regulated and protected, but a more localized and specific approach needs to be implemented to get to the goal. Recreational fishing now must squeeze time off from work to enjoy our own natural resources. This is NOT our occupation but a healthy pastime and supplemental food source, this is a state issue at heart. Commercial interests and large fishery professionals have bought into the mistaken idea that the charter boat is living in both worlds. They take recreational fishermen out on the Gulf and make a commercial profit from it. This is a real concern for those that have a huge impact on the total allowable catch under the IFQ. I think that they are great guys and also want to preserve a healthy fishery. To this end the least restrictions fall on the commercial ventures that have lower size limits and make tons of money by simply cheating a system for personal profit by the shares system in place. There has to be better answers to the problem than the current 3 day season. It defies logic and creates the very "derby fishing" that you seek to avoid in commercial interests. Safety, fairness, logic should be the guide posts used to rectify the situation in the upcoming season. I want a future with the help of common sense laws and regulations that require constant micromanagement. This is best done on the local level. Thank you for your time.
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6/7/2017 14:12:31Sean M. Blanchard S_blanchard@outlook.comPierre Part,LA 70339 Private Recreational AnglerI oppose the Louisiana EFP pilot program
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6/7/2017 14:23:08Matt Manningmatthmanning@yahoo.com33596Private Recreational Angler3 Day ARS for Rec FishermenDear Gulf Council,

We the recreational fishermen of the Gulf are unbelievably disappointed in the three-day rec ARS season. We have seen over and over the commercial fishing boats who work for the fish houses with the quotas that they voted themselves into - yes the fish house and commercial people are ON the Council and vote the quotas to themselves. This is becoming common knowledge. We see the commercial guys pulling 8000 lb of Snapper a day out over and over. The real problem is it a lot of these boats pulling out 8000 lb of Snapper a day are owned and run by the same members of the gulf Council that keep voting for the privilege to do that for themselves. It is very plain to see and there is no way around that this is an extreme circle of corruption. We the recreational Anglers are not going to sit by and watch this happen anymore.



We know that the FWS and all the commercial for hire Captain's we talk to are vehemently opposed to the severe ridiculous three-day season imposed on the Rec fisherman. So this can only mean that the same people are only protecting their multimillion-dollar annual profits from pulling in boatloads of ARS everyday. That good old boy Circle of people needs to get the heck out of the decision-making process and stop interacting with NOAA to skew and misinterpret the science and the facts that the FWS and all the for hire Captain's report. The stats that The FWS and all the local Captain's give are in great contrast to the NOAA and Gulf Council stats. Let the state Fishery decide its own rights or only let state fishery Personnel from each state to be involved. The individuals on the gulf Council way too many of them have direct multimillion-dollar bank accounts as a result of the decisions they have made year after year.


With utmost sincerity,

Matthew Hampton Manning
Tampa recreational fisherman
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6/7/2017 15:11:13Todd grilleyTodd0872@hotmail.comEdgewater, FL, 32141Private Recreational AnglerRed snapperThese fish need to be open to all recreational fisherman with slot sizes similar to red fish and snook on both gulf and Atlantic waters. You have no right to take a natural resource from the citizens that pay for the license to have the opportunity to fish.
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6/7/2017 15:25:50Todd GrilleyTodd0872@hotmail.comEdgewater fl 32141Private Recreational AnglerNo recreational over regulationsStop over regulating the recreational sector. We need to be able to have our share, not 3 days while the commercial sector fishes every day. Also I should not have to be rich to buy the right to fish for this public resource.
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6/7/2017 15:18:34Todd GrilleyTodd0872@hotmail.comEdgewater Florida 32141Private Recreational AnglerNo rec quotas"We should not create any opportunity for individuals and companies to buy up fishing quota and shut out the private recreational angler from the gulf of mexico fish stocks. We need a realistic and uncomplicated system that continues to allow the charter and recreational sector to thrive and enjoy the Gulf of Mexico just as much as anybody else.


Red Snapper are in perfectly good shape as nobody anywhere is having a hard time catching them. Red snapper are artificially inflated in number due the oil and gas industry platforms and pipelines, and artificial reef building that has occured throughout the northern gulf. Red snapper only occured in certain natural locations before all of the platforms and reef building occured. To be honest I get tired of catching red snapper when fishing for other species. Red snapper seasons and limits should be increased. "
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6/7/2017 16:00:03James Meadowsslimj10@aol.comLynn Haven, FL 32444Private Recreational AnglerIFQI am vehemently opposed to IFQ because it would
further reduce recreational access to the fishery.
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6/7/2017 16:37:49Orlandoorlandovalentin2004@yahoo.comPanama City beach, Florida 32408Private Recreational Angler, NGORed snapper allocationAs recreational fisherman I would like to reconsider the allocation of the red snapper. The abundance of the species is not properly account for it.
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6/7/2017 16:48:13Stephen Brown Sbrown3313@gmail.co.Private Recreational AnglerLA EFPStrongly against
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6/7/2017 16:49:16Stephen Brown Sbrown3313@gmail.comLake Charles, LA 70605Private Recreational AnglerLA EFPStrongly against
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6/7/17Adam Wilneradamjwilner@mac.com
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6/7/2017 19:11:37Gary Hileslhiles3598@verizon.netSan Leon Texas. 77539Private Recreational AnglerLet me fishI am 70 years old and the only time in the summer I can go out is when the seas are COM with the three days you gave us I was unable to go to fish open it up for us
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6/7/2017 21:38:48David FrayFraydavid@live.comWaldorf, Maryland , 20693Private Recreational AnglerOpen American red snapper in Atlantic waters from nc to floridaI am against catch shares
also it time the Atlantic red snapper was open. For far to long we been unable to keep red snapper in our great water of the great Atlantic and while Gulf get a season that favor commercial side then us Rec who love to fish like our comm.
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06/08/2017Joe Nashcaptjoenash@gmail.comCharter/For-HireOrange Beach, ALred snapper, amberjack, triggerfish, vermillion snapper, turtle gear on recreational vesselsHello, Joe Nash, owner operator Cool Change Charters orange Beach, sorry couldn't be in Naples this week.
I believe red snapper stocks are in fair condition, but recreational season needs to stand at closed for simple reason of non compliant state waters open, why reward those who blatantly disregard the federal laws(the state government should have been stopped by the federal government before it got this bad the angler is not at fualt). They are on payback from last year. Triggerfish are rebounding quickly a 1 fish 14 inch would be fair.spring season
Amberjacks should be back to 30 inches
May, aug,sept and oct.
No change for vermillion snapper.
All recreational vessels should be required to have turtle gear on board, we all fish the same waters with the same gear, they have a greater chance of hooking a turtle fishing state waters where the turtle is going to be going to beach to lay eggs.
Keep charter for hire seperation from recreational permanently.
Thank you for your time
Capt Joe Nash
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6/8/2017 13:46:38Matt Manningmatthmanning@yahoo.comValrico, Fl 33596Private Recreational AnglerRec Anglers against IFQ and not represented and comments being ignored.I have sent in 3 emails to council@gulfcouncil.ord and meetings at gulfcouncil.org. We Rec anglers are vehemently opposed to the IFQ system and think the council needs to eject the officers who are commercial fisherman but are really commercial fisherman. Directly talking about Mrs. Dana and Mr. Greene who BOTH are IN the commercial industry and have NO place representing the Rec Anglers. We are offended by the tone and content of discussion against rec anglers in the meetings yesterday. The system as is cyclic corruption. We propose a 5yr commercial Ban (not to include For Hire vessels) and an all species 9 month season for rec anglers. We outnumber the commercial ops 100,000 to 1 in numbers and 10,000 to 1 in $ spent on local economies gathering the same fish. It is time NOAA and the GC look at US and realize WE are the solution to the long-term management of the resource. Like Ducks, Moose, and Deer: the recreational dollar is what can protect and sustain the gulf fishery resources. No commercial management of any wildlife resource that was in competition with recreational every managed the resource properly long term. 3 days for the people with all the numbers and money is NOT managing the resource properly! By doing this you have started a war with us over our rights and these resources. We are determined now to be heard and for change to your org to happen, Like the Duck and Deer Hunters We WILL WIN. The For Hire boats are our Friends and often sympathetic to us. We Applaud the few of them that have stood up for us. to the GC and NOAA: Follow the FWC's lead : as much as some of their regs and seasons sometimes are not what we want.. THEY tend to be somewhat fair and put the fishery first. We can live with and will continue to support the FWC. We are being ignored and shut out and it WILL CHANGE. Too many people now know who is on this council and how you make a living. I listened to the whole Day Wednesday: I challenge Mr. Ross to listen to the recording that was made of the whole day. It was really gross how the rec angler is talked about. You might want to change your tone at us before we start voting for someone who will replace your IFQs with a total commercial fishing BAN in the Gulf and allot the rec anglers a 6-9 month season on all species and let all the cities roll in our money. What you saw in Orange beach at that protest was a tiny single drop of a HUGE RIVER ABOUT TO FLOW for our rights. Shameful how you shamed us and the # that that showed up to stand for their rights. As far as your meeting this week - We are AT WORK on weekdays and cant make it to resorts in resort towns by the way. But we are listening watching and now ACTING! Expect oversight to see the $ and numbers power we have and demand we are treated fair by you or push you aside if you do not.
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06/08/2017Matt Manningmatthmanning@yahoo.comRecretionalGulf Council Composition, recreational anglingThe Gulf Council is legislating our rights without providing us any representation. This is unjust and must be corrected. We the rec anglers currently have no voice with the GC and NOAA. The one true rec only angler in the room in Sarasota Wednesday was Milo; He did a great job in a statement on how ARS overrun all his Federal fishing spots currently. That was IT as a voice for the Rec angler for the day. We outnumber and outspend the commercial fishing industry exponentially yet we have almost ZERO voice with those who decide what we can do in Federal Waters. You let the Destin Fish House Owner SLAM the rec section of the board and rec fishermen for not having a solution; then he got applauded. The issue with that is that mostly there IS NO REAL REC portion of the board if you look at who they are... That IS WHY NO SOLUTIONS FOR US are OFFERED UP. This is just one example of Gulf Council ongoing systemic corruption: These commercial fishing owners should NOT be allowed to represent the rec anglers on the GC. These 2 voting as rec anglers is a sign of how shut out we are and how we have been intentionally shut out. Choose your comparison here as to how irrational it is that Pamela Dana and John Greene are voting and serving as Recreational anglers, but they make a living via THEIR OWN COMMERCIAL FISHING OPERATIONS per their own financial disclosure statements! That is like having 2 party Y reps on a floor full of 50+ political party X. But the Party Y reps are actually party X members who are "supposed" to vote and represent party Y. No suprise they stay quiet. Now make party Y outnumber X by 500,000 to 1 real population and 10,000 to 1 in taxes paid. THAT is what you are talking about with the GC / NOAA / Commercial Fishermen vs the Rec Anglers. We are the silenced party Y who has no real reps of our own that speak for us.

We the rec anglers outnumber the commercial people taking in $ off of ARS and other Gulf Fish 500,000 to 1 in number and in income we generate by 10.000 to 1 at least. It is time NOAA and the GC look at US and realize WE are the solution to the long-term management of the resource. Like Ducks, Moose, and Deer: the recreational dollar is what can protect and sustain the gulf fishery resources. No commercial management of any wildlife resource that was in competition with recreational every managed the resource properly long term. 3 days for the people with all the numbers and money is NOT managing the resource properly! By doing this you have started a war with us over our rights and these resources. We are determined now to be heard and for change to your org to happen, Like the Duck and Deer Hunters We WILL WIN. The For Hire boats are our Friends and often sympathetic to us. We Applaud the few of them that have stood up for us. to the GC and NOAA: Follow the FWC's lead : as much as some of their regs and seasons sometimes are not what we want.. THEY tend to be somewhat fair and put the fishery first. We can live with and will continue to support the FWC. We are being ignored and shut out and it WILL CHANGE. Too many people now know who is on this council and how you make a living. I listened to the whole Day Wednesday: I challenge Mr. Ross to listen to the recording that was made of the whole day. It was really gross how the rec angler is talked about. You might want to change your tone at us before we start voting for someone who will replace your IFQs with a total commercial fishing BAN in the Gulf and allot the rec anglers a 6-9 month season on all species and let all the cities roll in our money. What you saw in Orange beach at that protest was a tiny single drop of a HUGE RIVER ABOUT TO FLOW for our rights. Shameful how you shamed us and the # that that showed up to stand for their rights. As far as your meeting this week - We are AT WORK on weekdays and cant make it to resorts in resort towns by the way. But we are listening watching and now ACTING!

There is a storm that is fast brewing: We the rec anglers with no voice in all this have the numbers and exponentially more $ than all the commercial ops combined. We generate and spend in the area rec fishing EXPONENTIALLY more than what selling snapper generates. I will give you a real example: I vacationed in Destin 2 times a year for 20 + years. We had burgers or Prime Rib at McGuire's or Oysters at AJ's and are happy like everyone else. No one in my family has ever eaten ARS in a restaurant in my 40+ vacas to Destin. Grouper yes and I am all for a fair season to all on Grouper. We went on great for hire boats and fished for ARS. Even then it was very difficult to plan the vaca around the ever-changing ARS regs. It was as if those in charge were moving a target around so that only the commercial ops could hit it. So, we won't miss ARS not being in restaurants a bit and neither will the local economy other than the fish house owner who slandered the rec fishermen and the rec reps on the GC today to commercial operators and their lawyer’s applause. To those that would ignore and insult us more I say: We will all be happy to eat cows and corn: no conflict with hunters wanting to hunt cows. These commercial Op owners are not going to hurt their incomes by doing right by the rec anglers and the real BIG $ we rec anglers have to spend with our numbers. When we do track the real money, we have to offer the Gulf all elected officials will demand that you GIVE THE FISH TO THE REC ANGLERS! That is how to fund and care for the fishery long term and to put huge $ into these Gulf Cities and States. It would be 1000 to 1 better for Destin, PCB, Mobile, Tampa, Naples, Jupiter, Marathon and the whole area for the rec dollars to FLOOD these areas vs. a few rich fish house owners with stockpiled IFQs getting richer every year and voting to protect themselves at all costs.


Why should She not be voted OFF today and replaced with a Genuine Rec Angler? I will find 50 volunteers to be a rec rep in an hour.
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With John Greene: another GC Officer IN the industry and making $ with ties to Commercial Fishing supposedly serving as a rec rep - his financial statement says "Yes" that
he or a family member make $ from Commercial Fishing. Vote HIM OFF today and let's get a true Rec representative in this spot as well.
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With Great Sincerity,

Matthew Hampton Manning
US Marine and Recreational Angler
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6/8/2017 15:06:46Kenneth CaryerKen.caryer@gmail.comWesley Chapel, FL 33643Private Recreational AnglerAgainst rec IfqI am against the proposed Louisiana recreational allocation program. I have have written my congressman to protest NMFS Mgt ARS policies that are abslutely unfair to recreational anglers.
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6/8/2017 20:16:41Jim KelleyJimbobards@aol.comBardstown, Ky, 40004Private Recreational AnglerQuotasI am totally against quotas for Red Snapper. It would be another restriction on recreational fisherman. Remember there are more of us than the rest of the interested parties. We will unite and fight further regulation of our outdoor sports.
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6/12/2017 11:06:03Scott OsbornDrscott1261@gmail.com32405Private Recreational AnglerGreater Amberjack Gray Gulf Trigger fishThe Amberjacks and Gray Triggers dominat the reefs and wrecks in the gulf of mexico, so much so they protect and stop all other species from being caught, to say they are in danger is a grossly misinformed NOAA on information that can not be validated and backed up by any recent data documentation .
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6/20/2017 9:53:26Jeff Senarighijpsenarighi@gmail.comGulf Shores, ALPrivate Recreational AnglerRed Snapper and Triggerfish
I and many of my fellow Seniors winter in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach and the surrounding area and we enjoy the variety of opportunities the area offers. We also return a lot to the communities in volunteering and fund raisers along with pumping $135,000,000 into the local economy during our stay. One of the opportunities we've missed in the recent years is being able to fish for, keep, and eat Red Snapper and Triggerfish. We'd like to request the council consider a split season for these fish. We ask that you allow us retired snowbirds a portion of this resource during January and/or February when we are making the Gulf Coast our home.

Thank you

Jeff Senarighi
Old Guy Fisherman
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6/22/2017 7:46:31Steve Perkinssteve.perkins1229@yahoo.comPrivate Recreational AnglerRed Snapper and TriggerfishI am writing this in response to the letters you have been getting from my snowbird friends which is a concern of a good portion of all snowbird fishermen who take Charters out like the Reel Surprise who are very frustrated with going out & catch so many Red Snapper & our favorite eating Triggerfish only to release them....but if you do catch a bigger Red Snapper doesn't mean they will survive there bladder being relieved such a terrible waste......I don't know where you get quota data but it can't be over the many reefs out there as we have to chum out in front of the boat to get them away to catch other species we can keep which will probably be the next fish you stop from us catching like the Vermilion snapper...
EHEase tPl I know & realize there has to be limits & quota's but for us senior snowbirds we just is the don't understand why we can't have a split season to give us a chance to catch a few Snapper but really the Triggerfish....now this year you are opening the Trigger in March when most of us will be getting ready to leave...why would the fishery do that to us.. No reason it can't be open January 1st that we can see...please consider all our points and reply to our concerns.. Us snowbirds put a lot of money into the community which accounts for jobs, housing, shopping, & many more ... But the biggest is the condo building to house us all which for summer use too ..so please the fishing is so important to us all I sure hope we can be considered..
In the best Regards Steven Perkins @....steve.perkins1229@yahoo.com
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7/24/2017 13:42:23Wayne W. Noltenone providedKey West, FL 33040Goliath GrouperDear Wildlife Affiliate,

Again it appears you are being pressured to open a season on a species of fish that is of no real economic value to the human population whatsoever, except of course to lovers of nature and to the dive industry. Divers are coming from near and far to swim with the Goliath Groupers (a.k.a. Jewfish), to study them, and to photograph them in their natural environment. They only exist in the waters of South Florida and the Keys and even then, not just everywhere, but mostly about wrecks or structures in the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, these sites are also overfished and exploited by locals who seem to be in a race to see who can catch the last fish on the planet.
It is a common consensus that our F.W.C. is sadly understaffed and underfunded. Any underwater site that supports a Goliath Grouper, as I have seen from thousands of dives sites in sites in my 68 years diving here, is a healthy eco-system with all of the other species of fish necessary in a good, healthy marine environment. In a manner of speaking, we are getting free F.W.C. protection just by their presence. Fisherman are of a mind set that the Goliath Grouper is eating all of these fish so they have slowed down on the amount of trips to these sites. Can you believe that? Free F.W.C.! The various councils and law enforcement organizations have been fed so much misinformation that I am going to furnish you with a list of hard, unbiased facts, mostly substantiated by our marine biology community, scientists, Mote Researchers and at least 90% of our dive community who study and witness the Marine Environment in which the Goliath Grouper lives first hand:

1. Goliath Grouper (G.G.) do not today and never have eaten snapper or grouper as a main food source. Of course, if a fish gets hooked, G.G. may catch it instead. If G.G. does catch it he will have to beat the large number of barracuda and sharks that inhabit some of these sites. That fact is never mentioned to any council or organization, especially the F.W.C.

2. Although we have seen more of these big fish than in the past decades, is it mainly due to protection or other reasons such as water quality or other pollution problems elsewhere? They are primarily a Gulf of Mexico species and scientific evidence shows they are very migratory when threatened by pollution (Deep Water Horizon, sugar plantation runoff, red tides, etc.). Evidence shows they migrated this way just to survive as a species. The real fact is most of the Goliath Grouper we are seeing now migrated here from an area they could not survive in. They were not born and did not grow up here.

3.As regards food value, a scientific sampling study has shown the mercury levels to far exceed the safe level for human consumption. In fact, it was so high they used the term “clear off the chart”. If it is going to poison people or make them sick, why would you open yourselves to a potential law suit (such as Flint Michigan!)?

4. Furthermore, in regard to monetary value, Goliath Grouper were never a source of revenue for fishermen and divers such as Snapper, other Grouper, etc. If I petitioned you and your commission to open a season on Turtles (which was a large industry and a delicacy) what would you say? I know exactly what you would say and so do you. You would think I was the worst person on the planet for even asking. Turtles have made a remarkable comeback and perhaps there could be a managed season. Of course, we would not even consider such a preposterous idea. Then why do we keep going back to this Goliath Grouper issue when so much is at stake? No industry is suffering; no individual is losing revenue; and no food market is losing money (as happened with other species such as turtles, Nassau Groupers, etc), but as we speak the rest of the Grouper species and Snapper species are being decimated.

I am a native and have been in, loved, and understood the marine environment since early childhood. The changes I have witnessed to the reefs and fish population, especially here in the Keys, are downright shameful. In summation, I urge you not to yield to political pressure and plain ignorance. Put a lid on this issue once and for all. We have far more serious issues to manage such as the threatened snapper and grouper populations. We need more restrictions, certainly not less, on a magnificent species that needs our protection.
Sincerely Yours, a Wayne W. Nolte
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7/26/2017 12:25:22Joshua Trejocaptjoshtrejo@gmail.comPort Aransas, TexasCharter/Headboat For-HireRed Snapper and TriggerfishTo whom this may concern my name is captain Josh Trejo. I'm a captain of a federally permitted vessel out of port Aransas TX. vessels name is southern pride company name is jaw Jackers.this letter is to express some of my concerns about our red snapper season in federal waters -none permitted state charter vessels for hire. In my opinion with the new snapper season for the private component is in some ways not at all fair to the federally permitted vessels. for instance why is it ok for none permitted vessels (state for hire vessels)allowed the fish in federal waters every weekend for a total of 49days .when we (federally permitted) can't fish the state season. They get to fish two seasons and we only have one .in my opinion if they can fish federal water for hire then we should be able to fish state water.that way it levels the playing field and allows us to make a decent living just like they do or just STOP!!!!!!!!! Letting them fish in federal water for hire all together .in other words if the are for hire but don't hold a permit for reef fish then only allow them to fish snapper in state water just like we can only fish federal water. ------spread out snapper season for federal for hire vessels. I like the idea of spreading out snapper season for federally permitted for hire vessels like y'all did for the private component. cause as y'all know in the passed years when the private component had bad weather y'all extended there season but for the federally permitted vessels we got no extension we just totally lost them day. which for the headboats that's not an issue because of the size of there vessels but for us small vessels we can't go out on days that are over 4ft .if the season was spread out in stead of consecutive then I believe it would give us more days to actually fish which in turn will help us small business owners out financially. -------- separate federal for hire vessels from head boats. I don't know why smaller federally for hire vessels are in the same category as the head boats . Cause they can go out alot more in the season then we can cause of weather .we also can't take near as many people on each trip like they can we can only take 6 people per trip as a posse to them they take between 20-60 people per trip and weather don't affect they like us. So in my opinion if we to be set apart from head boats. I think the smaller charter business like ours would stand to make a better living at what we love to do.also spread our snapper season out like the private component and STOP!!!!!!! Letting none permitted state for hire vessels fish federal water or allow us the fish state water season would help our business out greatly. Don't get me wrong I think it is great that y'all extended the season for the true private fisherman but I'm against it also applying to none permitted state for hire vessels .we federally permitted vessels payed out alot!!!!! Of money for the permits for reef fish and now the none permitted state for hire vessels have the same amount of day in federal water and in my opinion a better opportunity. When we had to go through all kinds of trouble to get the permits and all they have to do is go buy a state guides licence that's not right.so I hope y'all can find a common ground and let us fish the state snapper season to or don't allow them to fish federal water period as long as there under a charter .just so y'all understand for company's like us snapper season accounts for about 55-60 percent of our annual income. ----------please don't just dismiss this letter and take it in to carefull consideration these are the thoughts and concerns of alot of us federally for hire captains that can make it to these meetings thanks. CAPTAIN ,Joshua Trejo
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7/31/2017 11:09:52Tom Adams4tomadams@gmail.comPort St. Joe, FLCharter/Headboat For-HireCouncil MeetingPleas postpone all actions on headboats and charterboats You do not have data from ALL the states and if you wait a few months You will have much added data and much more complete data. Also most charterfishermen are still very busy and cannot attend. Also it is not being held in a centrally located area. also the main season will be over by the next meeting after august and you can get a lot more input from a lot more permit holders It is an extremely bad idea to vote on any actions or amendmentd that concern charterboats and /or heaboats until later this year.


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.

As an owner of a state permitted boat and a federally permitted boat I am requesting an OPPORTUNITY to be there. It is impossible for MOST charter business owners to attend the August meeting. Thanks
--
Capt. Tom Adams
www.MexicoBeachCharters.com
311 Nutmeg st, Port St Joe, Fl 32456
850-381-1313
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7/31/2017 11:10:57Steve and Anita Rosstiaross60@gmail.comPanama City Beach, FLCharter/Headboat For-HireCouncil MeetingGentlemen,

I stand with Bob Zales II and his comments in his prior email to you. Any and all decisions regarding the Federal CFH group needs to be moved to a more central location to allow us to attend and voice our views! Biloxi Mississippi is that central location and I and many others respectfully ask that your meeting and decision making be moved from San Antonio to Biloxi as there is NO reason why this cannot be done. PLEASE GIVE US A CHANCE AND ALLOW US TO HAVE A VOICE!!!

Again, I stand with Bob Zales II and his following comments to you:

On behalf of the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) Gulf Members and the Membership of the Panama City Boatmen Association I have comments about the serious concerns we have regarding the Greater Amberjack issue on the agenda of the Aug council meeting. I strongly recommend that the issue of “Final Action” listed on the agenda of this meeting be moved to the Oct meeting in Biloxi. This issue is not so important that it is imperative to finalize at the Aug meeting. The NMFS will have plenty of time to establish any new seasonal adjustments to the AJ fishery once finalized in Oct. There are no current proposed actions to start the season before March which provides the NMFS sufficient time to notice the amberjack season will not open in January and implement a new season and bag limits. Emails sent to the council prior to and during the June meeting clearly stated that many of us needed a spring fishery for AJ. Apparently the council completely ignored these requests and only used the incomplete AJ model created by the NMFS to create a preferred action for an Aug thru Dec season. Unlike previous models for other species this incomplete model had no bag limit scenarios in order to determine how a change in a bag limit would affect any chosen season. No one has explained why such a simple addition to the model to consider a wide range of bag limit options was not included and this lack of a complete model to review does not satisfy the NEPA requirement to consider all actions available. Some of us have requested that bag limit analysis to see if different bag limits during certain months could make a difference in what season or seasons could be considered to address the needs of the Eastern Gulf for a spring fishing season while allowing for a fall season as well.
One such proposal has been suggested that the council support a 1 fish bag limit for every 2 anglers with a 6 fish (or some other number) maximum per vessel. According to NMFS staff such a bag and vessel limit may allow for a spring and fall season eliminating a “closed fishery” during prime months. A goal of those who support a spring and fall season is to see the fishery open thru Oct. In order to do so if a 1 fish bag limit with a maximum number per boat allows for less harvest and poundage during a Mar thru May and Aug thru Oct season then we want this seriously considered. If too much harvest is projected by the model then we will give up Mar and if too much harvest is still projected then we will also give up Aug. We feel that the proposed bag and vessel limit will allow for a Api/May and Sept/Oct season. This provides for a spring and fall season which should satisfy everyone across the Gulf.
As all know, without amberjack there is little for anglers who wish to harvest fish to take home and share with others to catch. Due to recent closures of amberjack from June thru Dec the spring fishery has become extremely popular with many for hire trips being booked. The customers who have now gotten used to being able to catch amberjacks in the spring have expressed serious disappointment with many moving away from the fishery. This has caused extreme negative economic impacts on vessel owners, the communities they live and work, and the many small family supporting businesses that provide tackle, fuel, food, parts, and supplies. Allowing a spring season of 2 to 3 months will provide access and opportunity for anglers and greatly improve the social and economic impacts for all.
A bag limit analysis is easy to add to the model and can be discussed at the San Antonio meeting where limited public testimony can be heard and any actions that may become preferred can be further discussed and reviewed by the Gulf wide stakeholders so the central Gulf location of Biloxi where the Oct meeting will be held can provide access to more people being able to attend and provide their testimony on this important issue. At the same time the newly appointed Council members will have sufficient time to study the very important issue and be able to fully participate in the Council discussions. Since there was no fall season and the spring season was seriously cut on amberjack, if a spring season is not implemented then the eastern Gulf will continue to seriously suffer during future spring seasons.
We strongly encourage the NMFS to add a bag limit scenario to the model and for the Council to move the final action to the Biloxi meeting.

Thank you,
Capt. Bob Zales, II
President
NACO & PCBA

AGREEED BY: Captain Steve and Anita Ross – Federal CFH Vessel / Legendary New Beginning, Panama City, FL
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7/31/2017 11:12:46Chad W. Hansonchanson@pewtrusts.orgNGORed Snapper Season ExtensionDear Chairwoman Bosarge,
On behalf of The Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew), please accept these comments on management of and accountability in the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery. The 39-day federal season extension for the private recreational fishery announced by the Secretary of Commerce1 this summer will likely create significant annual catch limit (ACL) overages, and could result in total landings above the overfishing limit (OFL). Thus, we strongly urge the Council to ensure that the next red snapper standard assessment includes 2017 data so that impacts on the population’s status and the rebuilding plan resulting from this season extension are fully evaluated and accounted for in future management decisions.
The Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) requires ACLs to be set such that they do not exceed the fishing level recommendations from the Council’s scientific and statistical committee (SSC) to prevent overfishing.2 The private recreational ACL for 2017 is 3.76 million pounds (mp). According to our analysis, using data from NOAA Fisheries3, the 39- day season extension could result in private angler landings of 9.02 mp to 11.58 mp, depending on differing catch rates (Figure 1). Combining that with the estimated catch during the original 3- day federal season and the state water seasons through Labor Day, the total landings could be about three times over the ACL. Even more concerning is that the total commercial and recreational landings (including for-hire) could exceed the OFL of 14.80 mp this year by about 30 percent to 50 percent, or by 5.07 mp to 7.83 mp (Figure 2).
1 Department of Commerce press release, June 14, 2017. http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1109061162788&ca=34b1cc39-1029-4217-b2f1-14b1b7f77094, 2 16 U.S.C. 1852 (h)(6)
3 2017 Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Recreational Season Length Estimates NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office. SERO-LAPP/DM-201701, April 20, 2017. http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/red_snapper/documents/pdfs/gulf_red_snapper_rec_se ason_2017.pdf
1
We recognize the frustration many anglers feel with short recreational seasons for red snapper fishing in federal waters. Pew has long advocated for consistent regulations to ease angler confusion and provide equitable access for all while balancing the conservation needs of the resource. We hope that going forward, the Council will analyze alternative management strategies that include jurisdictional consistency and could provide more opportunities for recreational fishing.
One outcome of the extended season and consistent state and federal regulations is that it may provide useful information on catch rates and how fishermen respond to this type of change in management, which, in turn, may be useful for future management analysis and decisions. However, the most important goal should be to rebuild the red snapper population and ensure an abundant, healthy fishery for all users, including the recreational sector. Sound management includes using the best scientific information available, staying with scientifically based catch limits, and applying accountability measures to ensure the fishery remains sustainable.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide these comments, and we look forward to continuing to work with you and the rest of the Council on this and other issues.
Sincerely,
Chad W. Hanson
Officer, U.S. Oceans, Southeast The Pew Charitable Trusts
Cc: Gulf Council Members and Staff
NOAA Fisheries Service Southeast Regional Office Staff
Bonnie Ponwith, NOAA Fisheries Service Southeast Fisheries Science Center Mara Levy, NOAA General Counsel
Pew Comments: August 2017 Gulf Council meeting
Page 2

Figure 1. Estimated landings (in pounds) resulting from the 39-day federal season extension based on two different catch rates calculated by the NOAA Fisheries (SERO-LAPP/DM-201701) compared to the private recreational annual catch limit for 2017.
Pew Comments: August 2017 Gulf Council meeting Page 3

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8/1/2017 14:08:12Trawick EllisTrawickellis@yahoo.comMount Olive, AL 35117Private Recreational AnglerMeeting before new bird members are addedThere should be nothing voted on during the august 9 meeting. If the outgoing members are allowed to vote on any regulations 3 days before the new members are added, it shows just how corrupt the council currently is.
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8/1/2017 22:17:10JasonHuntingj78@bellsouth.netMobile,al. 36695Private Recreational AnglerNew members Any vote made should be tabled until the new members become available. I feel this is the most logical way to go forward with things.
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8/1/2017 22:27:07Joel Holmgrenjoel.holmgren@yahoo.comPanama City FL 32409Private Recreational AnglerCouncil MeetingI think there should be no voting at the upcoming meeting.The new council members should be seated before any issues are voted on.
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8/1/2017 22:45:00Jonathan armstrong Armstronghunts@yahoo.com36527Private Recreational AnglerCouncil meeting I request that all action should be tabled to the new council meets in a few days. If you chose to act I disagree with how you have allocated, counted, and set catch shares. 3 day snapper season for recreational anglers was ludicrous! No trigger season.., just as bad. AJ season set for January- March might as well have been a no season. I know of no recreational anglers that fished those days. Too rough!
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8/1/2017 23:10:00Gabe Tidmoregabe.tidmore@yahoo.comSaraland Alabama 36571Private Recreational AnglerNew board members All votes on any seasons, quotas or access should be tabled until the new board members are present and can cast their vote.
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