Reef Fish Amendment 41 (Responses)
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10/6/2015 20:02:25joe nashcaptjoenash@gmail.comgulf shores, al. 36542Private Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-HireI am for sector separation, any way we can get this would help with the electronic logbooks you will know at least how many fish were caught by both the commercial and for hire sector at any given time, a no brainer. I am for regional management for the RECREATIONAL anglers, this may help them get the target days they would like, but no regional management for the charter for hire, lets get separated now for good, we are not under the same rules now and never have been we have always been separated but recreational anglers never knew that. thank you for your time.
Headboat program should stay intact they showed good management, we would like the same opportunity.
10/20/2015 8:14:40William PenningtonWbrp@comcast.netCollinsville, Ms 39325Private Recreational AnglerI have a lot invested in a boat and a house on the coast(Dauphin Is) it is difficult formed to get in more than one or two trips a year for red snapper. The short season often encourages people to go out in marginal or unsafe weather conditions.
10/20/2015 9:06:51David Waltersdavid@rives.comMt. Brook, Al 35243Private Recreational AnglerPlease vote to reject this amendment. This is ridiculous. The commercial and charter boat businesses should not be allowed to own the red snapper.
10/20/2015 9:28:54Sam BowenBbowen@bnspc.comGulf Shores,AL,36542Private Recreational AnglerAmendments 41 and 42 should be rejected in total. As soon as the fishery is privatized the private angler will be excluded, as we will not have the time or resources to fight for our share of the red snapper. The Feds should manage it, though should be fair and equal division. Currently we have 10 days in a row, only maybe half will be fishable days and only one weekend. How can a working man find time to fish for snapper? Every day I fish all I can catch is red snapper because of the horrible mismanagement of this resource. Give us more weekend days and a longer season at the least, as there are no other fish for us to catch anymore.
10/20/2015 16:28:27stephen bowensrbowen@mysylacauga.comequality, AL 36026Private Recreational AnglerPlease do not pass more laws that will further prevent individual anglers from enjoying sport fishing. The season was 10 days only this year with a limit of 2 fish per person.
10/22/2015 18:26:11Capt Cliff CoxSweetjodyfishing@gmail.comDestin, Florida, 32540Charter/Headboat For-HireI am in favor of Amendment 41. The CFH sector needs it's own management plan
10/24/2015 21:06:39j denny kearleymckearley@bellsouth.netdaphne, al. 36526Private Recreational AnglerThis amendment and amendment #42 are significant in that new methods are being considered without the inclusion of private anglers, once again. The only new amendment that needs to be considered, is one that corrects the inequalities introduced in the original plan where 80% of the fish are given to a few thousand commercial and charter fishermen while millions of private anglers are left with a pittance. If an allocation method is to be considered, it should consist of tags being issued as license are purchased whether the are to be used on private or charter boats. I noticed that this is not one of the options. Also, if the council would like suggestions that are fair, please considered not allowing any charter or commercial fishermen to harvest fish within 20 miles of the shoreline. This would prevent over harvesting in this area and still allow the larger boats in the commercial and charter industry to have almost unlimited space.
I will wait with great anticipation to see these two proposals to show up on the docket.
11/1/2015 9:07:04Thomas Vordenbaumtmv36830@yahoo.comAuburn, Al 36830Private Recreational AnglerAs someone who has just retired and was looking forward to fulfilling his lifelong dream of moving to Orange Beach, Alabama and deep sea fishing, I ask that amendment 40 and 41 be rejected in its interity.

It is the individual that brings the most dollars to the gulf areas. By privatizing fisheries management so that it can be manipulated to the commercial fishermans best interest makes me second guess my decision to retire to the beach area.
11/9/2015 22:50:05Christopher Bartoninfo@reeldiversioncharters.comBradenton, FL 34212Private Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-Hire, Commercial FisherI think the best management option for both charter and headboats regarding ARS, would be to develop an IFQ style system. This would allow the vessels to be able to fish for this species when they are most prevalent in their local waters. It would also allow a more accurate measurement of the amount of fish caught each year,
11/13/2015 10:40:40F J EickeCaptEicke@AOL.comOcean Springs MS 39564Private Recreational AnglerSeparating the "components" of the recreational sector is a fabrication from the MSA and the amendments to then consider allocation and management based on charter and headboat "components" is therefore ridiculous. When a federal agency violates the basic principles on which it functions (read: Gulf Council), other steps are needed to either rein-in the agency or eliminate them from management responsibilty for a public resource. State management is the answer since states have a record of successful management and now have the data-bases to do so in a responsible manner. Amendments dealing with Sector Separation and the follow-on that would allocate under this illegal provision are therefore beyond the pale and should be killed before they become policy - so we do not then have to live with policy that harms the public good and a vital public resource. The Gulf Council is about to kill the private recreational sector (including the charter captains although the influence on this group tells them otherwise).
12/12/2015 21:11:25michael shortgethookedcharters@yahoo.comgalveston, tx. 77554Charter/Headboat For-HireAll for Amendment 41. Let us (CFH) figure out the best way to run our own business.
2/16/2016 10:45:13thomas adams4tomadams@gmail.comport st joe, fl 32456Private Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-HireThe things that should NOT PASS this hand picked ,red snapper CFH committee are

VMS required on every permitted cb
Required electronic trip reporting for every trip
Catch shares, IFQs for permitted CBs
Possible coops for CBs where local individuals will be responsible for quota distribution
Allowed intersector trading of red snapper between commercial and CB owners and allowed use of red snapper commercial quota owned by CB dual permit owners for charter use

Most of these issues, especially-- intersector trading and VMS for all Federally permitted charterboats, have been discussed at great lengths and have been told it would never happen in the CFH sector. I have 2 boats and know of 10 other boats in our area Mexico Beach, port St Joe that do not support any of the above actions that the ad hoc committee may talk about or support.

As we have done previously, there should be a vote by the permit holders not by this committee, or the Gulf Council.
3/17/2016 17:27:51F J EickeCaptEicke@aol.comOcean Springs MS 39564Private Recreational AnglerThere should be no [repeat NO] move to put the charter-for-hire or headboats under a system comparable to the IFQs in the commercial sector. This would result in the same diminution of the number of boats available to the public and likely an increase in charges from the boats holding such shares. The Gulf Council should never - eventhough it already has - assign a property right to a group that will concretize the allocation and deny new captains from entering the fishery. Such a move would virtually be establishing a multi-member monopoly and that is un-American in every sense.
4/11/2016 16:56:04Charles Turnercturner@elmore.rr.commontgomery, AL, 36022Private Recreational AnglerI do not agree with removing the sunset clause of amendment 40. There seems to be some movement in the commercial sector allowing recreational activities under the guise of commercial use. I feel charter and commercial should be combined if the original commercial allocations will be used to circumvent recreational restrictions.

I appreciate ya!

Chuck Turner
5/18/2016 9:41:03Kevin Lanierkclanier@gmail.comMexico Beach, fl. 32410Private Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-HireSport Fisherman are one group. The resource belongs to the people and not the permits. There does not need to be a separate management plan for Charter/Head boats. I fail to see why you feel it is necessary to separate the 2. All Sport/Recreational fisherman should have equal access to all fish no matter what they choose to ride on. One plan for sport and one for plan for commercial. Instead of making things more complicated like government normally does. try making it simple.
5/26/2016 12:39:51David Patlovanydjpat@sbcglobal.netHouston, TX 77059Private Recreational AnglerAmendment 41 needs to be eliminated. Federally Chartered Guide Boats are NOT recreational fishermen. They are business owners that own a COMMERCIAL business. They are taking RECREATIONAL ANGLERS out onto public waters to fish for a public resource that is equally owned by ALL recreational anglers, whether they own a boat or not. ALL recreational anglers, whether they are on a private boat or a for-hire boat need to be managed under the SAME federal catch restrictions. Reserving a portion of the RECREATIONAL catch allowance for COMMERCIAL business operators is not legal. Let all recreational fishermen follow the same seasonal restrictions and fix the management of the red snapper fisheries so they are handled by individual states that are better equipped to manage local fishing pressures.
8/17/2016 18:02:51Gordon Burdettecaptgburdette@gmail.comOrange Beach Alabama 36561Charter/Headboat For-HireI want to send in this comment to show my SUPPORT FOR AMENDMENT NUMBER 41. I was unable to attend todays meeting in New Orleans, but did listen to WEBINAR as I always do. Thank you for all that y'all do and I also appreciate our nice Red Snapper Season 2016.
10/12/2016 7:01:24Eric haeckEhaeck@hawkinsserviceco.com33572Private Recreational AnglerHave to go out 30 plus miles on the west coast of Florida to catch ARS! Need more than 9 days. If a handful of commercial permit holders are making millions by selling their fishing rights then your system is broken.
2/8/2017 11:13:48Christopher Seabrook TX, 77586Private Recreational AnglerI do not agree with the laws on red snapper. The laws make it difficult for recreational anglers to want to go deeper offshore when the number 1 fish caught isn't able to be kept. We first need to abolish the sea lord gang. There is no other industry that let's 50 people have a monopoly of the resources gathered. I also think there needs to be tags that recreational anglers are given each year and we can use these tags at anytime in the year for recreational angler last year 9 days x 2 fish = 18 tags. Last year because of the tropical storm, I was only able to fish 1 day out of the 11 you so graciously gave us for the endangered red snapper. But this is how you want the recreational fisherman to be. I feel you are slowing trying to stop recreational fishing and have the snappers caught only by commercial fisherman. This is unacceptable.

Chris Wilke
3/22/2017 9:29:21Christopher Dombkowskidaiwafan25@yahoo.comDayton, Ohio 45434 AND Cibolo TexasPrivate Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-HireI would like to see a quota split for the head/for hire boats. I believe that 50% of the quota should come from the commercial side and 50% should come from rec angler side to satisfy the fact that their endeavors are indeed from both angles. They are making monetary income off the public resource while still providing a recreational opportunities. This would allow charters and headboats a longer snapper season so they should be interested in this as well it would be a major win for them as well as helping to satisfy/ease the burden on the rec angler side of some of the issues at hand.
4/1/17Shane Cantrellshane.cantrell@icloud.comGalveston, TXCharter/Headboat For-HireIntroduction Charter Fisherman’s Association (CFA), the largest federally-permitted for-hire industry association in the Gulf of Mexico, aims to establish an allocation based management plan to increase the stability of fishing businesses, provide access for the non-boat owning public, and ensure fishing occurs at sustainable levels while improving accountability. The charter f0r-hire (CFH) industry has unique characteristics and designing such a system will require novel solutions and approaches. The following identifies key aspects that should be addressed or considered in the design of an allocation based program, and, where possible, offers guidance on how to tackle them. When specific guidance could not be identified, we suggest lines of inquiry which could yield the necessary specifics. Our proposal is a compilation of positions and recommendations on the direction and design of Amendment 41 to the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish FMP, informed by the meetings of the charter for-hire (CFH) Advisory Panel (AP), the recent joint AP meeting between the CFH AP and Headboat AP, Gulf Council discussions and presentations, and extensive discussions within the industry and with technical experts. Guiding statement: The CFH fishery should be managed under a catch share program that provides the best opportunity for active charter captains throughout the Gulf to have stable and profitable businesses and enhances customer access while ensuring the sector fishes sustainably and accountably. Program Goals 1. Increase fishing opportunities for anglers who use the federally managed charter for-hire fishing fleet. 2. Retain the character of the fishery and the number of active fishermen, avoiding consolidation and shareholding by non-active participants. 3. Reduce management uncertainty through improved catch and discard accounting. 4. Ensure fair and equitable allocation for all participating permit holders. 5. Promote fleet stability. 6. Enhance sustainability by improving catch monitoring, adhering to quotas, and reducing dead discards. 7. Contain sufficient flexibility for stakeholders and the Council to address social, economic, and environmental priorities that arise during the execution of the program (for instance, allowing for new entrants into the fishery, addressing discard concerns as stocks shift or expand in range, etc.) Program Type: Permit Fishing Quota (PFQ) Position: CFA recommends a PFQ-style system with limited tradability and with shares of fish assigned to the for-hire permit. Rationale: Many in the CFH industry are concerned about two issues that have arisen in Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) programs: consolidation and shareholding/leasing by people who do not actually fish. To avoid these potential issues, we recommend pursuing a Permit Fishing Quota system. Since the shares in a PFQ system cannot be held separately from the permit they are assigned to, a shareholder would not be able to accumulate “investment” shares
and add them to a single permit, which would invite consolidation. This prohibition on accumulating shares also would help to prevent individual shareholders from acquiring more shares than they are able to fish solely in order to lease out the associated allocation for profit. Although there are additional measures that should be put in place in order to address these issues, we believe that a PFQ system is better aligned with the goals of preserving the character of the fleet and ensuring that the allocation-based system benefits the industry as a whole. We realize that tradability becomes more challenging under a PFQ system, but we encourage NMFS and the Council to continue to engage with the industry on what types, and the extent to which trading can occur to alleviate concerns over initial allocation, geographic needs of share distribution and the uncertainty about active vs. inactive permits. Single Species vs. Multi-species Program: Position: The CFH program should include multiple species of reef fish. Rationale: At the January 2017 joint meeting of the CFH and Headboat Advisory Panels, the most broadly-supported consensus item advisors issued was a need for the CFH program to include five species of reef fish that are instrumental to the CFH industry in the Gulf: red snapper, greater amberjack, gray triggerfish, red grouper and gag grouper. The reasons for this are varied, but most critically: 1. Geographic differences in targets. Fishermen across the Gulf region have different needs, variable access, and selective preferences for different species, largely dependent upon geography. A multispecies program for these key reef fish will enable fishermen to work within the CFH industry to access the fish they need and redistribute the fish they do not. 2. Equity across the for-hire fleet. The Landings History Vessels included in Amendment 42 are expected to have a multispecies program, which the CFH industry supports. However, a one- species program for one segment of the for-hire fleet and a multispecies program for the other subcomponent will create an unbalanced playing field, favoring those fishermen who participate in the program under Amendment 42. A multispecies program for the CFH and headboat subcomponents will foster a stable, fair, well-functioning for-hire industry in the Gulf. 3. Reduced bycatch/increased efficiency. One of the most challenging problems currently facing our industry is short seasons. Amberjacks closing on March 24 and trigger fish being closed all year are a perfect example. Under a multispecies program, fishermen will be able to manage our businesses to reduce the impact of these closed seasons and to target species that our customers want. We will also be able to keep and account for fish we catch. This will help prevent overfishing, provide more stable access and create a more satisfying experience for our customers. The CFH AP should be reconvened as soon as possible to discuss the contents of the Council’s Reef Fish Management for Federally Permitted Charter Vessels (White Paper), including the Annual Catch Limit Allocation (2.1) section. We request that the Council/NMFS incorporate data for gray triggerfish, greater amberjack, red grouper and gag into the initial allocation decision tool produced
for Amendment 41 in advance of the next CFH AP meeting, so that the CFH AP can assess the various per-permit initial allocation scenarios of the species other than red snapper. Eligibility Position: All federal reef fish permit holders are eligible to participate in the program. Rationale: From the beginning, CFA has operated on the principle that any program must be fair to all permit holders. We are committed to that principle and we urge the Council and NMFS to continue to develop Amendment 41 with that fairness in mind. Initial Allocation Distribution of initial allocations is always the most challenging aspect of any catch share program. For amendment 41 this is particularly the case due to the lack of per-vessel landings history. Regional recreational landings data is available to use as a proxy, but is inexact and in some cases does not reflect historical catch well. Its application alone would not be “fair and equitable” in the eyes of many in the industry. The Council presented a mixed approach to an initial distribution formula for red snapper, which includes regional data from MRIP, passenger capacity “tiers”, and equal distribution.1 Altering the weight given to each component of this formula did not substantially change the initial allocations; again, when diluted over the unknown number of inactive permits, the initial distribution is viewed as inadequate by many who depend upon red snapper. To address this issue, it is recommended that the Council and NMFS: 1. Continue to examine allocation formulas that take into consideration MRIP regional landings, tiered-passenger capacity, and biomass concentrations of reef fish species. 2. Explore cyclical redistribution. At the Joint AP meeting in January the advisors were split on the decision whether to launch the CFH program using an allocation formula for initial distribution followed by cyclical redistribution, or to first wait for electronic logbook (ELB) data to identify active vs. inactive permits prior to initial distribution of shares. CFA recommends proceeding with the CFH program exploring a variety of the proxies previously mentioned for initial allocation, followed by cyclical redistribution of shares based on the determination of “active” vs. “latent” (“latent reclamation”). If prior to the implementation of the CFH program the ELB program is implemented and active permit data becomes available through the submission of log book reports, this information should be taken into consideration in the initial distribution of shares. 3. Establish a mechanism for permit holders to trade in fish, so that CFH operators who depend heavily on one species of fish can trade their allocations of the other reef fish species for species and vice versa. In this way, regional needs for allocation can be addressed. A 1 Establishing employment in harvesting, investments and dependence on the fishery and participation of fishing communities, required to be considered under the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), is similarly difficult for the CFH industry. Suggestions by the CFH Advisory Panel to utilize documents such as tax returns, state guide licenses, etc. to demonstrate investment and activity were rejected by NMFS.
mechanism that would allow the “barter” of allocation without the need for money to change hands is preferred. Share Maintenance Position: Shares should be redirected over time to active permits through latent reclamation and proportional cyclical redistribution, on cycles to be determined. Rationale: We strongly support cyclical redistribution of shares, intended to move quota off of latent permits and on to active permits and accommodate regional needs. Based on an initial assessment of the White Paper (and subject to more discussion by the CFH AP), we believe our position accomplishes several goals: 1. Latent reclamation will a. give active fishermen access to the fish they need; b. prevent inactive permit holders from perpetually leasing out allocation for profit; and c. facilitate the achievement of OY. Latent reclamation (as opposed to comprehensive reclamation) also does not unfairly divest active fishermen of shares. 2. Proportional cyclical redistribution works to direct fish where they need to go by a. redirecting the quantities of shares to those who fish the most; b. redirecting types of shares of particular species to those who target those species in the regions where they are available; c. increasing the shares of those who obtain allocation through leasing, which can accommodate new entrants and business expansion. Additional decisions need to be made, and should be explored by the Council, including: a. Establishing a threshold number of fish that would need to be landed in order to qualify a permit as an “active” for-hire permit; b. Establishing the reclamation percentage; c. Determining the appropriate timetable of cycles (set vs. progressive, intervals of years, etc.); d. Exploring the consideration of passenger capacity in redistribution; e. Creating an appeals process for inactive permits that did not fish due to documented health hardships, serious equipment failure, or other appropriate factors; f. Setting aside a small percentage of divested shares to establish a share reserve, for grievances in allocation, new entrants, shifting stock distributions, research, etc. Transferability Parameters Position: The CFH program should allow the transfer of allocation only, between eligible reef fish permits (White Paper Action 2.3, Alternative 2b). Rationale: The ability for fishermen to transfer or trade portions of their annual allocation can be useful for addressing bycatch, ensuring allocations can move to where the species is most needed, and for responding to unexpected business needs and problems which would prevent fishermen from fishing temporarily. Many CFH operators do have concerns about the possibility that shareholders in a CFH allocation-based program could decide not to fish, retain their shares, and perpetually lease allocation to active fishermen, which could make it difficult for new entrants or smaller businesses to grow their investments. CFA opposes such action and is encouraged by the clarification in the White Paper that, through proportional redistribution, those who obtain and use allocation by leasing from another permit holder would be able to
claim that use as landings history, and qualify for increased shares.2 To further address this concern, we request the Council to: 1. Clarify that permit holders that lease out allocation to other permit holders are not considered to have “landed” those fish, and so will not be credited with those landings for redistribution purposes (except in verified cases of hardship); 2. Explore allocation transfer maximums to restrict the amount of allocation each permit holder is allowed to temporarily transfer to another permit holder to a percentage of the overall allocation holdings each year. (For example, only 25% of a permit holders’ allocation could be transferred each year) 3. Develop a preference for barter or fish-trading over allocation transfer for cash. The White Paper makes clear that in a multispecies program, barter in species is possible using existing mechanisms. To further disincentivize perpetual leasing by inactive permit holders, NMFS should consider methods to make barter for species easier or more advantageous to fishermen. Appeals Process The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that NMFS establish a process for appeals concerning initial allocation in a LAPP program3. The CFH industry recommends establishing appeals processes for each major decision point which impacts fishermen, including those related to the divestment and cyclical redistribution of shares and limits on leasing allocation. Appeals should be available to ensure that the program is meeting the social goals of the program. Share Caps The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that LAPP programs include a percentage-based share cap to prevent any particular shareholder from acquiring an “excessive share” of the overall privileges.4 We strongly support this requirement but do not have enough information to suggest an appropriate number for this – it will need to be determined through modeling. A share cap should be set that is high enough to ensure that high-liners (those who catch the most fish) can ultimately continue to fish at their previous levels and expand within reason, but also prevent the risk of too much consolidation. We request that the NMFS and Council explore a range of permanent share cap options that will address the social and economic goals of the program to prevent consolidation and retain the social fabric of the fishery. Monitoring & Validation 2 “Transferability of shares and/or allocation could allow fishermen to trade shares or allocation for species not common in their area with fishermen in different areas where the species is common. Particularly with a cyclical program, transferability could allow fishermen to have more landings of a species, and therefore, receive more shares at the beginning of the next cycle, depending on how the cyclical program is designed. Thus, over time, allowing transfers would help accommodate regional differences in species distribution.” (Reef Fish Management for Federally Permitted Charter Vessels, 3/23/17, page 12). 3 16 U.S.C. 1853a, § 303A(c)(1)(I). 4 16 U.S.C. 1853a, § 303A(c)(5)(D).
1. Participants should be required to use a NMFS-approved reporting device. CFH program participants should report landings electronically in a time frame that enables NMFS to track catch and allocation usage. 2. Participants should be required to hail in and hail out. Hailing in and out ensures NMFS is alerted to fishing activity and that what a fisherman reports on the water can be validated at the dock by law enforcement. This is crucial to make sure that the allocation- based program is working as intended to keep the sector to its quota and keep the fishery sustainable. 3. Participants should be required to use a NMFS-approved landing site. In order to ensure catch reports can be validated, participants should be required to use NMFS- approved sites that are verified as accessible to law enforcement. Future decisions As the current version of Amendment 41 recognizes, several other decisions will need to be made, including the method for determining cost recovery fees, eligibility criteria for a referendum, how to manage quota adjustments, and accountability measures in the event the CFH industry were to exceed its quota. As these issues have not been thoroughly explored by the AP or the Council at this point, we recommend including these considerations in future CFH AP agendas and Gulf Council presentations for discussion and deliberation. Conclusion Status quo, derby management of the CFH industry can result in unstable, precarious businesses and reduce the viability of future investments by new entrants to the industry. While we commend the Gulf Council for its progress toward improving data collection in the for-hire industry during its most recent Council meeting, data collection alone does not go far enough. Charter operators need flexible, predictable access to the reef fish that are most important to the success of our businesses and the memorable experiences of our customers. An allocation-based management system for our sector is a proven way to stabilize our businesses, deliver quality, flexible access to our customers, and ensure sustainable fish stocks for our nation’s future.
5/2/2017 22:12:47Chad Heitmanchad.heitman@yahoo.comAlvin, TX, 77511Private Recreational AnglerSo, allowing recreational anglers to go out and fish for Red Snapper then have to pay Market Commercial Cost is right? Time to end all commercial for sell Red Snapper fishing. More of this is wasted in restaruants than anywhere. Basically this is strictly set up for the big Commercial fishing industry that rapes the resource. Seen this in Texas with the Red Drum. After commercial fishing for Red Drum was banned fish stocks are exploding. So, the issue is with the Commercial Industry. If people want fresh fish let them go catch it. Some want to and this Council is keeping them from doing that. Want to find where regulations start? Follow the money trail. Terrible abuse of the recreational fishermen!
5/4/2017 18:07:11TRENT FORDtford.fei@suddenlinkmail.comRussellville, AR 7802Private Recreational Angleri have been fishing the Gulf of Mexico for Red Snapper and other species for 30 years. I travel to Grand Isle for one week out of the year to offshore fish. The fact that the season has be cut to 3 days is absolutely asinine. My annual observations and those of my mates are that the snapper stock is a good as its been in at least the last 20 years. The fact that you have allowed the charter captains to have a 49 day season while the recreational fisherman get 3 is insane. i have read several of the studies conducted to make this determination and the math the use is not the same i learned in school . GIVE CONTROL TO THE STATE, THEY SEEM TO HAVE A CLUE.
5/23/2017 12:22:24Mark Vinsonlineslider10@gmail.comLeesburg Florida 34748Private Recreational AnglerAmendment 41 and 42 should be abandoned, this will basically put the recreational fisherman completely out of the water. As is stands now we the recreational fisherman can only keep two Red Snapper and they have to be at least 16 inchs were the commercial is allowed 400 to 500 lbs per trip. this is not about the fish it's about money, we all know that the commercial fisherman lively hood and about the needs but why is it when it comes to regular people just out to catch fish for fun or sport the rules are against them before you ever leave the dock. this State and Federal waters is so stupid it funny. If you live in the middle of the state as I do you have to go 30 miles off shore to get into 30 feet of water so fishing for Red Snapper is not happening in State Waters, only in Federal waters and for only 4 Days. So lets try to come up with a mandated season for Red Snapper that everyone can enjoy instead of just the Commercial Fisherman. I can't believe everyone on this council has know idea of what they are talking about but every time you get together something more ridiculous comes out. Maybe you should put some of these questionable rules out to the public to vote on and lets see where everyone stands on the issues. Maybe this will help you in the future of Fish management, and by the way I have never seen or had a Scientist on my Boat or in the area of the fisheries.
6/5/2017 8:16:10Ryab Bradleymscfuwebs@gmail.comLong Beach MississippiCommercial Fisher4.) Revised Draft Amendment 41 – Allocation-Based Management for Federally Permitted Charter Vessels (Tab B, 12a)
- MSCFU currently opposes any catch share (IFQ) program for charter vessels until the current commercial IFQ programs are modified to operate similarly to the way the charter vessel catch share program has been proposed. However, MSCFU applauds the Council and Council Staff for including language in this amendment that “continuously redistributes a portion of the shares to those participants landing catch share species on a set cycle”. This language is critical to the long-term success of any IFQ fishery and the lack of such provision in the commercial IFQ fishery has exposed potentially fatal flaws in the program in which shareholders have retired but continue to profit off of the “leasing” of shares even though they are no longer active in the fishery. New entrants must have the ability to utilize landing history to secure future allocations through a cyclical redistribution program. Also, there are concerns that individual fishing quota will be exchanged between the recreational and commercial sector and that could have the potential to undermine access to commercial individual fishing quota for small-share holders and new entrants operating under commercial fishing regulations whom have already been disproportionately impacted by the current IFQ programs since inception.
6/5/2017 8:18:42Ryan Bradleymscfuwebs@gmail.comLong Beach MississippiCommercial Fisher5.) Draft Amendment 42 – Federal Reef Fish Headboat Management (Tab B, No. 13)
- Similar to Amendment 41; MSCFU currently opposes any catch share (IFQ) program until the current commercial IFQ programs are modified to continuously redistribute a portion of the shares to those participants landing catch share species on a set cycle. Also, MSCFU questions the availability of recent landings history in the charter/ headboat sector to properly allocate shares.
6/22/2017 20:34:25Doyle
Mexico Beach,Florida 32410
Private Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-Hire, Commercial Fisher
We have lost 6 days so far in our charter for hire business this federal season.. I would like to know if there is any consideration of giving us days to make up for the days of bad weather we have all missed.. Doyle Gaylor of Charisma Charters
8/9/2017 15:28:25Dylan Hubbard
St.Petersburg, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
We still hold to the fact that we would demand not to see this type of Allocation based management in the for-hire sectors in any way, it is overwhelmingly opposed by the nearly 80 federal permits we represent. As we have stated in previous public comments.
8/9/2017 16:02:42Jim
I disagree very much with the idea of the federal gov gifting a select group of individuals or corporations America's public resources as it is being considered im Ams 41 & 42. I do believe if these resources are sold or bartered they are considered a commercial comedy and therefore should come from the commercial quota. Anyway you look at it this resource will be the selling fact of the charter trips or bartered between other captains.
Do the right thing and not pass Ams 41 & 42.

Thanks Jim McKay.
8/25/2017 8:03:17Charles Guilford
Charter/Headboat For-Hire

I have been in the charter/commerical fishing business for 42 years. IQF shares have reduced my commerical income and the work income of my employees by 60 %. Catch shares on charter boats would cause even more loss and would eliminate over 50 % of the charter boat fleet.
9/6/2017 8:03:31Anita Rosstiaross60@gmail.comPanama City Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire

As a Gulf Of Mexico Charter For Hire Fishing Vessel and a Small Business Owner we are requesting that you immediately END any thoughts and/or discussions regarding a CATCH SHARE PROGRAM! This so called “program” would KILL our business and make it impossible for us to operate as a Federal For Hire Fishing Vessel. We prefer the current method of fishing various species of fish based on a “set” season.

I also HOPE AND PRAY that the extended Red Snapper Season that was so easily GIVEN to the Private Recreational Fishermen this year, DOES NOT IN ANY WHAY WHAT SO EVER affect US – Charter For Hire Vessels going into next year. It would be a HUGE PUNISHMENT to us as Small Business Owners to TAKE from US just to appease the Private Anglers that obviously had a louder voice than us or perhaps even just knew the “right” people to sway. WE (Charter for Hire) STUCK to our 46 days of Red Snapper, lost 2 or 3 days to bad weather, did NOT get them back and continue to be punished for the actions of the Rogue Private Angler from all over the Country that come to our shores to take fish that is NOT monitored or noted or counted. You have NO WAY of knowing what, when or where a Private Angler lands a fish!!! Maybe you need “check points” for ALL Private Anglers at ALL docks across the Gulf of Mexico! Sounds crazy but my point is SOMETHING has to be done because YOU somehow say a species is “over fished” and WE as Charter For Hire are paying the price for EVERYONE in the GULF!! It’s pretty easy to go on Facebook and look at all the so called PRIVATE FISHING GROUP PAGES and SEE that there are SO MANY PRIVATE BOATS asking people to contact them to go fishing on their vessel!! THIS IS AN ILLEGAL CHARTER AND THEY ARE DOING IT EVERYDAY! Yeah, they say it’s free but you KNOW “no body rides for free”. THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED!!

I pray that my message to you gets thru to someone and my voice is heard.
Thank you for your time,

Capt. Steve and Anita Ross
Legendary New Beginning
Panama City Beach, FL
9/19/2017 7:48:45Tom Adams
Port St Joe, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
I would like to just make this short and sweet to all voting members on the Gulf Council be fore the meeting in Biloxi ---The 49 day season, which will increase as the quota increases, is the much better business plan for the Gulf charter for hire business. Please eliminate all amendments that consider any form of catch shares/IFQs so the entire fleet can stay in business.
9/26/2017 7:36:38Bob Zalesbobzales2@gmail.comPanama City Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
On behalf of the members of the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) and the Panama City Boatmen Association (PCBA) I strongly encourage the Gulf Council to permanently table any and all actions on the above subject matter. These proposed actions, that have consumed thousands of tax dollars, months of staff time, and have caused stakeholders to spend countless personal money and time are unnecessary, completely unfair to the federally permitted small family business owners across the Gulf of Mexico, and will only serve to reduce fleet capacity eliminating vessel owners and crews creating chaos within the industry and among those who wish to utilize our services. Let me explain.

According to NMFS/Council data contained in several amendments regulating the Gulf Reef Fish Fishery, in particular RF Amendment 40 (Sector Separation), when the current moratorium on Gulf charter/headboat federal permits was under development as of August 2000 there were 1650 federally permitted charter/headboat vessels. The number of permitted vessels steadily dropped from 1650 in 2000 to 1519 in '08, 1473 in '09, 1432 in '10, 1396 in '11, 1378 in '12, and 1368 in '13. As of 10-24-16 there are 1247. Between 2000 and 16 years later in 2016 the # of vessels fell by 403, with the majority of that drop between 2000 and 2008 (131) which was the time of transition from open access to restricted access (which included many last minute issued permits due to speculation) and from 2013 to 2016 (121) the period of time during the whole sector separation movement to impose catch shares on the fleet. From 2008 thru 2013 the reduction of vessels was only 151 which can be considered a natural reduction due to many factors such as an excess of permits placed on inactive vessels, owners getting out of the business due to retirement age, death, or change of occupation.

I provide these numbers due to the proposed allocation plan where vessel reduction is proposed to increase the catch shares per vessel left in the fishery over time (1 year to 3 year increments). The minimum reduction of permits due to various reasons over time will not result in a substantial increase in the proposed catch shares to be provided to the vessels, meaning the initial shares allocated will not increase as some propose. The only substantial increase that can occur will be due to others leaving the business or permanently exiting the fishery which will result in a few owning the majority of the shares and thus being able to control the fishery over those who will have few shares to use. This will create an unfair competitive advantage in business, will consolidate the fishery to certain areas, will harm those fishing communities who depend on a vibrant charter fishery, those supporting businesses who support it, and the anglers who wish to charter the few remaining vessels.

The AHRS charter for Hire AP has recommended that the original species of fish to be included in the propose catch share program only include red snapper, greater amberjack, and trigger fish, eliminating both gag and red grouper. One reason for this recommendation is simple and is easily verified by the AP discussion which is to gain a positive vote for the proposed referendum since over 700 voting vessel owners are more likely to vote for the referendum if it only contains red snapper, amberjack, and trigger fish since the over 700 will still be able to fish for both gag and red grouper for most of each year under the current size and bag limits. Another reason provided by some is that both gag and red grouper are not over fished as are the other 3 species. This is now a useless argument since the NMFS has now released a federal register notice (dated today 9-25-17, for review, APPROVAL, and IMPLEMENTATION, Reef Fish Amendment 44 Revised Reef Fish Minimum Stock Size Thresholds). This Amendment will modify the current MSST for several reef fish species in the Gulf and according to the FR “If this MSST definition is approved, NMFS expects that the Gulf red snapper and gray triggerfish stocks would be reclassified as not overfished, but rebuilding, because the biomass for these two stocks is currently estimated to be greater than 50 percent of BMSY.” This means that red snapper and triggerfish would be in the same class as gag and red grouper thus making the argument that gag and red grouper should not be included in the catch share program since they are not overfished mute. If red snapper and triggerfish will soon not be classified as overfished they should be removed from the catch share program.

Removing gag and red grouper from the proposed catch share program is an end around effort to weight the vote for the positive outcome sought by the NMFS and some Gulf Council members. If this proposed catch share system and allocation based management plan is to go forward then all 5 species, originally included in the plans, must remain in the proposals. By having all 5 species included the vote will appear to be more fair, especially if red snapper and triggerfish are soon to be considered not overfished. As a side note, currently in every proposed Congressional bill to reform the MSA a weighted referendum vote for any proposed catch share program is eliminated allowing only one vote for one permit. The efforts of the past by the NMFS to skew catch share program votes by artificially weighting them has clearly met the ire of Congress and should be applied to any future catch share votes.

According to an email sent to most people on my list (see below), using the NMFS/Council data you can see that if the red snapper for hire charter harvest numbers are equally divided among the 1247 permitted vessels they each receive only 1747 pounds. Depending on the average size of the fish this relates to 250 to 291 red snapper per boat. Even using the extremely complicated formula developed by NMFS/Council staff to use a 25%/25%/50% scenario the most poundage for a COI passenger vessel that carries more than 6 people is around 3,000 pounds. While some areas of the Gulf may love to have those numbers, in the areas of the northern and eastern Gulf where the historical catch and effort have been, those numbers will not sustain a viable fishery. Management is not and should not be tasked with creating equality in fishing operations. Fair and historical business competition is the cornerstone of American society. It is not the job of Government to make all business equal eliminating such competition. The proposed plans above remove the American business model and move to make all charter fishing equal in every area. Historical participation, working years creating experience and knowledge of the fisheries and business, suffering through natural and manmade disasters and high and low economic times become meaningless as this proposed plan makes all participants equal whether they fished 1 year or 50 years.

In the majority areas of the Gulf where the majority of the federally permitted vessels operate, fishing operations and business is best during the historical tourist season of the middle of May thru the middle of August. This period is when most tourist and anglers plan to come to the Gulf to seek recreation and access and opportunities to fish, This period is the most productive in the number of tourist and the dollars they add to local communities across the Gulf. This is the period for the best weather and the most species of fish are available to seek. Our members fully support a fixed number of days for a season over any catch share program. Many of you hear the scare tactics by some that if a catch share program is not established and Amendment 40 sunsets so sector separation will disappear that the for hire charter fleet will revert back to the days of 1 to 2 weeks of fishing. This is a blatant lie and is used to only scare people of their future. The only reason A40 (sector separation) was needed was to begin the development of a catch share program for the for hire sector. A40 was not necessary for the NMFS to manage the federally permitted for hire charter, headboat, or private recreational anglers with different seasons, bag limits, or size limits. All 3 sectors of the recreational fishery could have and can be managed as they are today without A40.

No where in the MSA does it specifically state or imply that the recreational fishery, including the charter fishery, must be managed as 1 unit. In fact, National Standard 4 addresses this issue as it states " (4) Conservation and management measures shall not discriminate between residents of different States. If it becomes necessary to allocate or assign fishing privileges among various United States fishermen, such allocation shall be (A) fair and equitable to all such fishermen; (B) reasonably calculated to promote conservation; and (C) carried out in such manner that no particular individual, corporation, or other entity acquires an excessive share of such privileges." It is clear that the recreational quota can be allocated differently and fishing privileges such as a different season can be done as long as such is done fairly and equitably.

I respectfully submit that the statements above provide the rationale for the Council to permanently table all included in the subject line above. I will be available to answer any questions during the Council meeting and during my testimony.

Thank you,

Capt Bob Zales, II
9/28/2017 11:33:37Steve and Anita Rosstiaross60@gmail.comPanama City Beach
agree and stand with Bob Zales II as stated in his email to you and quoted below:

"Since the publication of the Federal Register notice on 9-25-17 to modify the MSST level and how it will significantly change the status of red snapper and triggerfish there is no rush to approve any catch share program and referendum for the charter/headboat fishery in the Gulf. If the Council is not willing to completely table these proposals at this time, at least table further discussion until the FR is approved and we learn more on the future management of red snapper and triggerfish. With the much improved status of both species and the real possibility they will both be considered no longer overfished or under going overfishing the proposed catch share programs and referendums are unnecessary."

Please send something asap. Thanks,

I would also like to add: Any Catch Share Program would put our Small Charter Business OUT OF BUSINESS based on your Catch Share Referendum!! We prefer the Derby Style Season!!
Thank you,
9/29/2017 8:05:29Benjamin T Kelleymisskelley29@aol.comPanama City Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
To Whom it May Concern:

My name is Benjamin T. Kelley and I own a successful charter boat business here in Panama City Beach, FL. I have supported my family for the last 24 years with my business. I am very concerned with the rush to implement a catch share system here when none of the fishermen want this kind of management system. This is a system I feel that EDF wants to force us into and we DO NOT want any part of it. I catch an average of 925 red snapper during the derby season. These 49 days keep my business profitable and support my family and I do not want to change to an unfair, socialist based catch share system.

Now that the publication of the Federal Register notice on 9-25-17 has come out to modify the MSST level and how it will significantly change the status of red snapper and triggerfish there is certainly no reason for a catch share plan. I think the Gulf Council should completely table this issue of catch share management and get on to more important issues. With much improved status of both red snapper and triggerfish and the real possibility that both species will no longer be considered overfished or under going overfishing the proposed catch share programs and referendums are unnecessary.

Please table this once and for all!!

Capt. Benjamin T. Kelley
Miss Kelley Fishing Charters
10/2/2017 10:12:07Chuck Guilford
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
DO NOT impose an IQF catch share program on recreational charter boats as it will eliminate an additional 50% of the charter fishing fleet just as it has the commercial fleet. "Since the publication of the Federal Register notice on 9-25-17 to modify the MSST level and how it will significantly change the status of red snapper and triggerfish there is no rush to approve any catch share program and referendum for the charter/headboat fishery in the Gulf. If the Council is not willing to completely table these proposals at this time, at least table further discussion until the FR is approved and we learn more on the future management of red snapper and triggerfish. With the much improved status of both species and the real possibility they will both be considered no longer overfished or under going overfishing the proposed catch share programs and referendums are unnecessary."

Capt Chuck Guilford
Charisma Charters
10/2/2017 10:14:14Robbie Robinette
Panama City Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
My name is Robbie Robinette and I am writing on behalf of Charter Boat Gotta Believe in Panama City Beach, Florida. We are a member of Panama City Charter Boat Association and National Charter Boat Association and have a Federal Charter Reef Fish Permit. We agree with the opinion of both Associations that we do NOT want a Catch Share Program for Red Snapper. We are 100% against a Catch Share Program for any fish. I feel the National Marine Fisheries and the Gulf Council should move on from this issue of Catch Shares. Thanks
Captain Robbie Robinette.
10/4/2017 9:49:45Joe Nash
Orange Beach, Alabama
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Joe Nash from Orange Beach, Al. charter for hire. I am in support of keeping sector seperation and a management plan for Charter for hire, also electronic logbooks should be mandatory.
Amberjacks open Aug 1 2018..
Support Amendments 41 and 42
10/4/2017 14:04:26Dylan Hubbard
Madiera Beach, FL
Charter/Headboat For-Hire
My family business has been fishing central west coast of Florida for nearly 90 years and four generations. Today we operate 6 federally permitted vessels including two 65+ passenger head boats and four federally permitted charter vessels. On top of these permits, I am also here today to represent the Florida Guides association as their Offshore Director. Finally, I am a CCA life member as well. Referendum requirements for am 41 and 42
We still hold to the fact that we would demand not to see this type of Allocation based management in the for-hire sectors in any way, it is overwhelmingly opposed by the nearly 80 federal permits we represent. As we have stated in previous public comments. Also, it will create chaos and would add an additional hardship on the businesses involved in the CFH and headboat industry. We are very happy with our seasons and ability to access our fishery especially if we have the reliable season for amberjack mentioned previously. There are no ‘problems’ to address in the CFH or headboat industries so why are we working on a super complex, time consuming and expensive fix to a problem that is not there.
We would also like to comment that as far as AMs 41 and 42 are concerned we feel the both the CFH and Headboat APs were heavily weighted in support of these amendments and did not show a true cross section of the industry. Due to this, we would urge the council to consider this when weighing AP preferred and their ‘support’ for these allocation based management systems. For example, the Co-Chair of the head boat AP, my father, voted No to every motion made during the meeting except for the first to show his opposition to the idea of AM 42.
6/6/17Steve Pappanintasticcharter@icloud.comMadiera Beach, FLCharter/Headboat For-HireAs a full time offshore charter owner/operator here in Madeira Beach Florida I would like to ask the council to exclude Gag and Red Grouper from 41. These species have been rebuilt and are not being overfished. In my opinion if they are not in any trouble they should be left out of the multi species part of 41.
Thank you for your consideration.

Captain Steve Papen
Fintastic Fishing Charters
6/6/17Erich Jaegermaverickfishingcharters@gmail.comPassagrille, FLCharter/Headboat For-HireI am a federally permitted charter boat owner/operator out of Passagrille Florida. Please consider removing red and gag from the multi species as this would ruin our business here in Pinellas county. We rely on these species day in and day out for our clients.

Captain Erich Jaeger
6/6/17Dan Haddoddoubleofishingcharters@gmail.comCharter/Headboat For-HireUnlike the large fish houses I am part of an under represented group of stakeholders the charter boat fleet we need a small but steady part of the total Catch we have a large impact on the tourism industry in Florida, the economic impact alone should be a consideration of where the Catch shares are allotted please consider the impact you have on a large voting block thank you Cptn Dan Haddon at www,
6/7/17Billy Noblebigsnookbilly@icloud.comFLCharter/Headboat For-HireSent from my iPhone
please do not include gag and red grouper in the multi species on amendment 41this will create an undue of substantiated hardship for the charter fleet in the southern Gulf of Mexico I beg of you to reconsider thank you for your time

Capt Billy Nobles
6/7/17Brandon Fraleyisheyecharters@yahoo.comFLCharter/Headboat For-HireTo whom it may concern,
My name is Capt. Brandon Fraley, I am the owner and operator of a federally permitted charter boat out of Clearwater Florida. My wife and kids rely on me to provide the majority of our yearly income. A huge portion of my business is charters targeting Gag and Red Grouper. Please consider removing them from the amendment. A shortened season would be catastrophic to my business and my family almost certainly causing us financial ruin or at the very least having to shut down my full time charter business. This is my 19th year in operation, I don't have any other options if charters stop coming.

Capt. Brandon Fraley
(727) 243-4082
6/7/17Brian Simmonsgotonesportfishing@yahoo.comFLCharter/Headboat For-Hireo whom this maybe concern,

My name is Capt. Brian Simmons owner operator of a federally permitted charter boat based of Maderia Beach, Florida called Got One Sportfishing.
Charter fishing is my only source of income to support my family and household. Over here on the West Coast our main portion of business is bottom fishing for Gag and Red Groupers. I would like to ask consider removing Gag and Red Grouper from the Amendment. Having such a short season for Gag and Red Groupers would be devastating to my business and also my family as I stated before this is my only source of income. This is my 5th year in business and adding those fish in the amendment would likely put me in financial harm or worse force me out of business. Thank you for your time.

Capt. Brian Simmons
6/7/17Lance Brooksfloridagrouper@aol.comFLCharter/Headboat For-HireMy name is Lance Brooks owner and operator of 3 federally permitted charter boats and 2 federal commercial reef vessels on the West coast of Florida. I vehemently oppose of adding red and gag grouper into the multi species of Amendment 41. The overwhelmingly silent majority would oppose this, in my opinion.
6/7/17Chad Hickmanchadhickman@embarqmail.comFLCharter/Headboat For-HireHi I'm Captain Chad Hickman. I'm a full time charter captain with offshore permits my business is Elcapitanos Offshore LLC. Operating out of the Tampa Bay Area. With that being said I want to make comments on amendment 41 and sector sector separation. If some of the proposals that I'm hearing about go through regarding red grouper and gag grouper it would kill my Business in the upcoming few years, by severely shortening seasons for those fish. I highly rely on these fish due to the fact that red grouper is open year-round and gag grouper is open for six months. With that being said the fishery for those fish are in very good standing in this area. Closing this down to me as a charter captain would put heavy strain on other species of fish that are even closer to shore and disrupting my client base who rely on these fish year after year. Please reconsider these actions.

Sense a VMS on charter boats is immanent... why can't this be implemented see what everybody catches in the next couple years in there areas then you can divvy out. Obviously certain areas of the gulf you catch different species more commonly than others... even though I am opposed to separating the fish quota. (Red Snapper commercial and recreational disaster)

Thanks for your time,
Captain Chad Hickman
6/7/17Bill Harmerseafarmerwd@gmail.comFLCharter/Headboat For-HirePlease do not include red and gag grouper within the multi species it would put gulf charters out of business .I believe that it is extremely important these species be removed from amendment 41 thank you
Captain Bill Harmer
6/7/17Jesse Mayerjamesgangcharters@yahoo.comFLCharter/Headboat For-HireIf grouper is not removed from this, it is going to truly hurt our charters boats!! It can be hard enough at certain times now. We depend on these species to be available as our fisheries are great.

Thx, Capt Jesse Mayer
James Gang Charters LLC
7/6/17Bill Fehlcc4eva@aol.comFLCharter/Headboat For-HirePlease do not include Gag and Red Grouper in the multi species of Amendment 41. You will put a lot of charters out of business. Large quantities of off shore clients won't book trips if these Grouper are closed almost all year. This part of Florida is a staple for these Grouper. You have already expanded the size for Gag Grouper which means less Grouper are being harvested.
Captain Bill Fehl Fishing Charters Inc
Sent from my iPhone
7/6/17Dylan Hubbarddhubbard@hubbardsmarina.comFLCharter/Headboat For-HireTo 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. (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
7/6/17Steve Dossstevedossrealty@yahoo.comSt.Petersburg, FLCharter/Headboat For-HireIt is of great importance that gag and red grouper are removed from amendment. Thank you, Capt. Steve Doss, federal reef permit holder, St. Petersburg, Fl.
10/3/17Jeff LandryBaton Rouge, LACharter/Headboat For-HireGulf of Mexico Fishery Management Counc il Reef Fish Management Committee
Via e-mail:

RE: Objection to Reef Fish Management Plan, Amendments 41 and 42 Dear Council and Committee Members:
I write to express my opposition to the proposed Reef Fish Management Plan Amendments 41 and 42. I am Attorney General of the State of Louisiana, constitutionally charged to serve as the State's chief legal officer and to participate in any proceeding as necessary for the assertion or protection of any right or interest of the State. La. Const. Art. IV, §
8. The State of Louisiana' s rights and interests impacted by the amendments proposed by the Council are the preservation of fair and equal access to red snapper and the safeguarding of the public ownership of this important natural resource. These rights and interests are threatened by the proposed Amendments.

Congress recognizes the immense value of the red snapper and other fish in United States waters to the food supply, economy, health, and recreational opportunities of the Nation. 16
U.S.C. l 80l (a)(l ). Louisiana recognizes this value also, and requires protection, conservation, and replenishment of these and all natural resources of the State. La. Const. aIt. IX, § 1.

While it is not disputed that the red snapper stock in the Gulf of Mexico was overfished in years past, that stock is and has been rebuilding, through the efforts of this Council, the federal government, and the states. Rebuilding the red snapper stock necessitated limiting the amount of red snapper that could be caught, and in so doing, Congress split this quota between the recreational and commercial sec tors. 16 U.S.C. 1883(d). This Council further split the recreational sector quota between for-hire and private angling component. I disagree with this sector separation, for reasons explained below. And with the adoption of Amendments 41 and 42 further subdividing the for-hire quota between charter vessel and headboat sub-components, the Council would exacerbate the problems created by sector separation.

First, subdividing the recreational quota effectively walls off a substantial part of the recreational quota from the public, reducing purely recreational fishing opportunities available to the public in favor of providing a protected quota to businesses that profit from this public resource , leaving this portion of the public resource available to the individual recreational fisherman only by paying for it. While the for-hire industry no doubt serves the public interest by providing fishermen the option to hire fishing boats or spots on fishing boats, a management plan forcing them to take this option to access 42.3% of the recreational quota does comparably


more harm to that interest. Congress did not require this sector separation, and I urge the Council to repeal it.

Further, sector separation takes a static approach to managing a dynamic issue - the result is that even where one sector is under capacity, that portion of the fishery is not available to another sector, even though landing data can easily support more adaptive management between commercial, charter and recreational fishing.

The proposed Amendments, which would further subdivide this sheltered quota, also further isolate it from individual recreational fishing opportunities apart from those available through a pay-to-fish enterprise. The Amendments also encourage more complete use of the for­ hire quota, which in the past has gone partially unused. Unused quota from the for-hire sector has been available to purely recreational anglers, at least partly mitigating the impact to the public of the sector separation. The proposed amendments instead increase the harmful impact to private angling. Congress rightly mandated protection of recreational fishing, by whatever means fishermen choose to access the fish, and this protection is not afforded by sector separation.

Second, Amendments 41 and 42 functionally grant what amounts to "ownership" of the red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico to charter and headboat permit holders. Not only is giving private entities ownership of this essential public resource entirely inappropriate and inconsistent with public resources, it is contrary to the stated will of Congress.

"An individual fishing quota or other limited access system authorization shall not create, or be construed to create, any right, title, or interest in or to any fish before the fish is harvested." 16 U.S.C. 1853a(b)(3)(D).

The IFQ program established under Amendment 42 would grant perpetual, transferrable shares in the red snapper stock to selected individuals that need not even themselves fish under their catch share. Short of forfeiture for actual wrongdoing, these catch shares would be permanent, which is the very essence of a property right, in direct violation of Congressional intent. It is no stretch to anticipate that granting such property rights in the red snapper will lead to sharecropping, as has occurred in the commercial sector.

The Amendment 41 PFQ program is less objectionable than Amendment 42's IFQ scheme because the permits would not be transferrable and it provides for periodic reallocations of unused catch shares. Though having fewer indicia of ownership of the public resource, this proposed amendment still grants ownership of catch shares and should be rejected. At the very least, Amendment 42 should be structured as a PFQ program like Amendment 41, rather than an IFQ program.

Third, both Amendments 41 and 42 provide the opportunity to obtain catch shares only to those already in the business, essentially creating a monopoly in their favor. This is particularly egregious since there has been a moratorium on for-hire permits since 2003 that has prevented others from entering the industry without paying their predecessors. Worse, the catch share caps favor the biggest of the current fishermen most by locking in their advantage. And proceeding

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with the Amendments would require referenda placing the decision in the hands of the very people who would benefit from it - an obvious and obnoxious conflict of interest. The Council should not give up its authority to manage the red snapper resource by passing these Amendments and thereby placing that authority in private hands.

Fourth, the Amendments limit competition and opportunity for other for-hire businesses by imposing an additional cost on new entrants that the current participants would never pay. Worse, that cost is payment to a private person for the right to fish the public' s fish. By contrast, Congress actually required measures to assist entry level fishermen. 16 U.S.C. 1853a(c)(5)(C). Under Amendment 42, the Advisory Panel recommended consideration of set asides for new fishermen , but given the treatment under Amendment 41, it appears likely still to require payment to existing fishermen.

Fifth, as to the Amendment 42 IFQ program, even if the granting of property rights in the red snapper stock were proper, principles of adaptive management warrant periodic reallocation, rather than one-time perpetual allocation based on some historical lookback period. Catch shares should not be locked in place forever, based on fishing effort dating back decades. Nearly real­ time catch reporting, such as Louisiana has with its LA Creel program, could provide the information needed for adaptive management and adjustments to allocation without need for lookback. In this way, Amendment 41 is less objectionable, because it at least recognizes the need for adaptive management, even the reallocations provided are only partial. Any IFQ or PFQ catch shares should periodically sunset and be reallocated on a basis that is fair and compliant with MSA.

Sixth, even if perpetual property rights were properly granted, such rights have obvious economic value and should not merely be given away. Congress required consideration of auctions for any limited access privilege programs. 16 U.S.C. 1853a(d). The Amendment Advisory Panel does not address this, other than to note that other IFQ programs have been enacted. Congress affirmatively required consideration of auctions, and failure to seek payment for giving away this natural resource should not be allowed.

Historically, there has been little overfishing in the for-hire sector, and certainly not recently. Nor has there been a " race to fish" or derby-style fishing in the for-hire sector, or concern for overcapitalization or problems with need for more stability in the industry. The for­ hire seasons have been far longer than the private angling seasons. There is no need for additional sector-separation within the recreational sector. Given the constitutional, statutory, economic, social, and fairness problems with Amendments 41 and 42, I urge the Committee and the Council to reject both.

Jeff Landry
Attorney General, State of Louisiana
Capt Ed Livelylivelyonefishing@aol.comCharter/Headboat For-Hiretable am 41 and 42 til stock assessment is complete
Form Responses 1