Framework Action - to Adjust Greater Amberjack ACL Comment Form
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3/20/2017 13:41:00Christopher Dombkowskidaiwafan25@yahoo.comDayton, Ohio 45434 AND RAFB Cibolo TexasPrivate Recreational AnglerUtilizing recreational quota for headboats is laughable. Please let me know how it is we are hitting quotas during the roughest times of the year as recreational anglers.

Furthermore you are allowing minimal fishing time for those involved in recreational angling.

i have more than one time showed the massive holes in your "best data" from NOAA and my response was blocking me from your facebook site and deleting your own provided data tables at the same time.

I spend summers in south Texas. I have for years. I feel that my money is going to start heading in other directions as your entity has the commercial sector in its interests and not those of us that spend our money as recreational anglers. So perhaps this will be the last year I spend 10k down there.
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3/20/2017 13:53:56Bo GentilesBogentiles@gmail.com70706Private Recreational AnglerIm not sure where the fish count is taken or what process is used to get number of fish but apparently the process is not accurate, the number of Ambrr Jack's in the gulf is way higher than the numbers yall are claiming. I fish thegulf of mexico at least once a week, the AJ's are so thick its hard to get a bait past them to the bottom. The AJ's, Red Snapper and grey trigger fish are over populating in the gulf. The numbers that NOAA come up with for the AJ's and Red Snapper quota's are not accurate. Example: in 2016 Red Snapper season, the seas were extremely rough ( 6-8's) daily, fishermen was not able to get out unless in a 35' boat or bigger, only 3 of 9 days were fishable, an additionl 2 days were addedto the season giving us a total of 5 days fishing, no way our quota was met in 5 days. These limits and rules or not in the favor of or helping recreational fishermen. These rules/limits are to help the commercial fishermen not equal for all
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3/20/2017 14:03:10Joel Curtis Paulkjwcpaulk@aol.comdothan al 36301Private Recreational AnglerThis is so ridiculous that I don't even know where to began. All I can say are that there are plenty of AJ's in the gulf ( as a gulf fisherman I have actually seen them ) I seriously can't grasp how you came up with the data to support your claim but all I can say is your totally WRONG!!
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3/20/2017 14:51:10Simeon Patoutsimpatout@gmail.comYoungsville, LA, 70592Private Recreational AnglerThe closing or talk of closing of amberjack this early (before 80% of recreational fisherman have even taken their boat out of storage) is complete b*****. Between this trigger fish and what looks like another lack luster snapper season is completely unacceptable especially when commercial guys are killing all there species. The commercial guys and charter captains are the ones that need the quota cut and cut drastically. To go thru with this is a crime upon itself. I hope that somebody is oversight committee is washington or Baton Rouge uncover the shear corruption of this department and every last one of you end up in federal prison.
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3/20/2017 14:53:31Steve Mcmullensgmnoles2000@yahoo.comgulf breeze fl 32561Private Recreational AnglerI have gone fishing four times this year with people on board each time. We have not fished for amberjack a single time.

I guess I don't need a boat anymore
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3/20/2017 14:56:32Charles Turnercturner@elmore.rr.comDeatsville,AL,36022Private Recreational AnglerMy forefathers cast off tyranny and the evils of a ruling class. Tell me, how are you different?

I am a FREE MAN. I will not be diminished nor confined by profiteers disguised as pseudo Lords. 3
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3/20/2017 15:19:57Steve Marsestevenmarse@charter.netMandevillePrivate Recreational AnglerIn response to the recent Greater Amberjack closing for the remainder of the 2017 calendar year, I'd like to make very clear that there is enough of a growing opposing to guarantee that not only will we never stop in making sure all involved are removed from any power over the public's resource, but also to work towards an indictment for corruption and make sure every single person involved are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

To think that anyone believes recreational fishermen were 990k lbs over the allotment in 2016 is down right laughable. You know your science is nothing more than a smoke screen to cover the lobbyist kickbacks to protect those few that are raping our resource. There are very many people that will never patronize any restaurant or market to buy any sort of seafood as long as it has GMFMC's stench on it. your corruption is hurting the economies of all the coastal towns your are "providing management over".

You've been warned, the opposition is coming.
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3/20/2017 15:41:34Tadd Sticklertadd@depco.comAlvin, TX 77511Private Recreational AnglerThe recreational fisherman is getting the short end here, little to no snapper, now no amberjack....How can I work to change this?
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3/20/2017 15:51:50Michael mcelroyMmcelroy@hmpmc.com39401Private Recreational AnglerIt is become more and more evident through your actions that you are totally against the recreational angler. You use flawed data that is totally inaccurate to base your findings on. You have given a select group of a few individuals the ability to make millions of dollars off of a resource that is ours the people. And the people get nothing in return. How can you be so damned stupid to think that we the people don't realize how corrupt you are. You even have individuals on your council that financially benefit from your decision. Enough is enough.
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3/20/2017 15:53:09Mac Guarinomac.guarino@cls-us.comLafayettePrivate Recreational AnglerClosing Amberjack season early!!! Hopefully the Trump administration will clean house of all the NMFS morans!!
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3/20/2017 16:52:13Mike GrahamMgraham@megagate.com39428Private Recreational AnglerNeed to do trip tickets to accurately count catches.
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3/20/2017 16:59:15Anthony HaleHalesmarine@gmail.comLong Beach ms 39560Private Recreational AnglerI have friends that dive out at the oil rigs in a regular basis and have to work really hard to avoid snapper and Amberjack at almost every rig. I honestly believe that the catch numbers are very skewed and every recreational guy I know agrees.
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3/20/2017 17:08:16Robert Murphy CaptMurfCharters@gmail.comCrestview FLPrivate Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-HireThe AJs around Destin are plentiful just they are all under the 34 inch limit. What determines the limit for size and quantity? I have only kept two fish since Jan, caught a lot but only two keepers. I do not know of any reporting for private anglers. How do you know what has been kept?
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3/20/2017 17:12:41Rhett C BrownBrown.rhett@hotmail.comFoley AL 36535Private Recreational AnglerThis has gotten completely ridiculous as everyone knows. I do not understand why it is so difficult to get something done about this. I had marine resources check me yesterday for red snapper. I told them we had only been fishing for sheepshead. We had caught our personal limit of 10 and could have easily caught our actual limit of 20 but chose not to. They didn't even measure one fish. Only cared if we had snapper. I realize they are doing their job, but it seems no one in government cares about managing marine resources. Just making sure you don't catch red snapper or whatever the current species NOAA doesn't want you to harvest.
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3/20/2017 17:47:01RyanHead_0_5@hotmail.comGalveston, TX 77551Private Recreational AnglerThe way our public fisheries are being managed is a complete joke. NMFS & NOAA desperately need to update their stock assessment data and techniques for fish species since what is currently being used is seriously flawed and outdated. As of current, there is no hope with this system in place.

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3/20/2017 20:49:55Jacob Parkerjparker428@yahoo.comCrawfordville, Fl, 32327Private Recreational AnglerThis is about the dumbest decision that I have heard. How many wether days has the average Friday-Sunday recreational fisherman been able to target amberjack along the gulf coast this year? NOAA is a bunch of corrupt ass hats. I will support whatever organization opposes you bastards.
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3/20/2017 21:16:34Robert Huffcaptbhuff@gmail.comApalachicola, Fl 32320Private Recreational AnglerYou have got to be kidding me! There is absolutely no way there was anywhere close to catching limits last year much less this year. You are just trying to put the rec fisherman out of business. Your catch numbers are so flawed its not funny. How can the commercial guys keep on fishing and we as rec's can't? Its all about dollars is someones pocket. How do you justify giving a natural resource to one person and not another. I hope Trump fires every single on of you. Management is one thing, stealing from the rec group is another. Thanks for nothing
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3/20/2017 22:52:51Albert J Darring Jrajdarring@hotmail.comLoxley, Al, 36552Private Recreational AnglerI have a 21ft center console that I have had for 3 yrs and I have yet due to weather and job restrictions been able to fish for amberjacks during your allowed season. Every time we fished our spots last season we caught amberjacks along with triggers and snapper so I know your data is flawed and you know it also.
This is not about saving a fishery this is about lining pockets with dollar bills. This is why Trump got voted into office because people are sick and tired of crap like this!
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3/21/2017 1:30:18Capt. Cory Talbotreeladdictionlouisiana@gmail.comThibodaux, La, 70301Charter/Headboat For-HireThe gulf council and everyone affiliated with it should be ashamed and embarrased for the lies and hypocrisy they have established. I have not spoken my mind until now. Amberjack are more plentiful than I have ever seen them in the GOM, and your calculations are false on poundage caught by the recreational fisherman. It is simple math. It is time your numbers stop reflecting estimations, and start reflecting legit surveying by true Bilogist . They want to be presented info from surveys from so many busy docks at certain times with exact specifics on amounts and size of fish.
Certainly we want to conserve a resource, but it seems that it no longer belongs to the american people. I am greatly concerned that at the rate the council keeps fabricating numbers my children will not be able to catch and keep so many plentiful species in the GOM.
The council has destoyed so many charter fishermans ability to make a living, and the recreational fishermans time to participate in a productive hobby.
IS THIS THE AGENDA?
I know this comment will get brushed aside, but when is enough actually enough.
This framework action has just costed charter businesses along the gulf coast thousands.
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3/21/2017 7:41:28Paul Kennedypaulkennedy3@yahoo.comI'm glad that I get updates from the Gulf Council, but I have some serious concerns over the data that the council uses to base it's recreational regulations on. There is no possible way that the recreational catch for Amberjack was the number reported. I would like to know where these numbers are coming from. It appears that these numbers may be taken from commercial harvests. As a tax payer and a life long sport fisherman, I demand better management to protect the resource and allow better access to fishing. Feel free to forward my email on to any or all council members. I would be happy to discuss the real issues of overfishing and waste of resources.
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3/21/2017 12:20:40Jay Fagleymtskibum@gmail.comSugar Land, Texas 77478Private Recreational AnglerThe gulf council is not using good science and they seem to be 100% against rec fisherman. Action needs to be taken against the gulf council and NOAA before it is too late.
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3/21/2017 22:48:45Darren HippsDarren.hipps@gmail.comTroy, AL, 36079Private Recreational AnglerThe Councils management of this species is a complete farce. You release data on the number of fish harvested but have no legitimate way to measure what has been harvested. If you are serious about protecting the species eliminate the bulk commercial sale of the American Public's natural resources to markets around the world. Remember the overfished redfish in the 80's when removed from the commercial markets bounced back amazingly enough. Farmed raised fish are fine for the restaurant customers of the world. People can eat catfish, Swai, and tilapia until their hearts are content. If you want to eat fresh fish charter a licensed boat and catch your own. You are taking away the resource from many for the benefit of a few to get rich raping the oceans. Your actions do not go unnoticed.
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3/21/2017 22:55:05william c huntwch5170@hotmail.comFairhopePrivate Recreational AnglerTop ten reasons for the recreational fishing quotas/closures:

Nuummbbeerrrrrr 1. You people are using a broken abacus to
add up the catch to base your quotas on

Number 2. ............. You people secretly own retail fish outlets and are forcing us to buy our fish instead of catching them

Number 3. ............The russians did it

Number 4...............You hate us and are jealous we have boats

Number 5................Julian Assange did it.

Number 6..................You got beat up in grade school by a fisherman and whipped with his fishinpole

Number 7....................You ate to many doughnuts and cant think straight less loan add or subtract.

Number 8. .................Your afraid you wont have enough fish for your weekly fish frys.

Number 9....................Your pet goldfish got ate by your cat and now your going to save the world and all the fish in it

Number 10.................FISH STRA-TEG-ERIE .....Yall are geniuses...good job...


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3/22/2017 8:31:47Paul Barnardpaulboutside@gmail.comMetairie LAPrivate Recreational AnglerI'd like to know how you determined if I caught any greater amberjack this year. Please detail the process you went through in determining what I caught. Thanks for your time.
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3/23/2017 12:34:23Capt. Bryan ReevesWildorange94@yahoo.comOrange beach, Al 36535Charter/Headboat For-HireYou have to come up with a better way to accurately account for fish that are being caught on private rec boats and charter for hire. The electronic logbooks will not work for the private Rec sector. The federal government's numbers of fish being caught has always been grossly in accurate. I believe the state of Alabama prove this with the red snapper when they started using the simple but yet accurate snapper reporting data system. For instance I own and operate a charter boat out of Zekes landing in Orange Beach Alabama, I ran over 150 trips last year. I only ran 40 trips from January 1- May 31st and only 14 trips from January 1- March 31 last year. Out of those 40 trips only a dozen targeted amberjack last year. This year I've ran a total of 13 trips so far and have only brought back 8 amberjack all year! I have a very successful business and run a lot more trips than 80% of the charter fleet in Alabama. There are around 30 charter boats in the fleet at Zekes marina and at least 15 of them haven't even left the dock this year probably will only run a handful of trips before June 1st. Zekes has the biggest charter fleet in Alabama, so I'm trying to put things in perspective. Most charter boats cannot and do not target amberjack on half day trips, however from time to time someone will get lucky and catch a legal jack on a half day trip... I myself have only brought back 1 amberjack on a half day trip all year and didn't bring any back on half day trips last year! Now for the trigger fish, they're population is absolutely insane, they're taking over everything! I've been in the business since 1995 and I have never seen them as bad, they're everywhere and are taking over all of the artifial reefs as well as expanding into deep water rocks. I commercial fish during the winter months and this year we've caught around 25 trigger fish at night in 4 commercial trips! I've never ever caught one at night in the 22 years of being in the business.
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3/24/2017 14:40:22trey baxleywbaxley1@gmail.comnorthportPrivate Recreational Anglerwhat the nmfs is doing is complete b*****, and is ruining recreational fishing for all. they are more worried that their special interest groups keep writing them checks than worrying about their voters.
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3/27/2017 10:59:54Eddie Haynesehaynes@palmertool.com39574Private Recreational AnglerClosure of rec. season on the reasoning of low stocks and overfishing and not closing or in anyway changing the commercial side is a real joke.
I just pray all the crocked lawmakers that have led us to this,
end up in the can. (with no vasoline).
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3/27/2017 15:11:44Robert Benson Hanwaybobbyhanway@yahoo.comCrawfordville, Fl, 32337Private Recreational AnglerOpen amberjack!!!!!
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3/27/2017 15:20:47Daniel MartinkoDmartinko@hotmail.comTallahassee, FL 32333Private Recreational AnglerI would be very interested to learn how you determined the catch was already met by March 24th. This is far sooner than the majority of fishermen even start fishing.

It seems the pattern with these quotas is the better the fishery is doing as a whole the faster the quota is met due to the fish size being larger. If 2.2 million lbs of 34 in Jacks are harvested at an average weight of 20 lbs that's 110,000 fish. If 2.2 million lbs of 28in Jacks are harvested at an average weight of 12 lbs that's 183,334 fish. Is the impact the same?
The answer is no. 183,334 is greater than 110,000. Up to 73,000 more fish were harvested when the limit was 28in and the season never closed. Now with the fish healthier and bigger than ever the lb quota makes no sense scientifically or rationally.
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3/27/2017 17:14:39Allen Mortham Jr.Noles97@aol.comTallahassee, Florida 32311Commercial FisherPlease allow the continued amberjack framework to allow the commercial fishing industry to provive the general public with fish.
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3/27/2017 17:43:43Brent Kemptonhoogboats@aol.comSt. Petersburg, Fl. 33712Private Recreational Angler, Commercial FisherGreater Amberjack are very plentiful in offshore waters. I am a diver that witnesses the species first hand. A 3 month recreational season is a bit less than what should be allowed after witnessing first hand how abundant the species is.
Greater Amberjack should be open YEAR ROUND in the Gulf for recreational harvest.
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3/27/2017 19:47:07Sean GuckenSean.gucken@gmail.com33701Private Recreational AnglerYou could replace the previous allocation to the traditional 85% rec, 15% commercial. You won' t, but that would extend the season. Spawning season should be closed for all take from commercial and recreational.
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3/27/2017 20:05:54Michael Dreadin Dreadin4@yahoo.comUriah,Alabama 36480Private Recreational AnglerI can't understand having a season when nobody fished and how we caught quata when nobody fished there are plenty fis inthis huge gulf and a one fish 34 inch limit should carry throughout the year same with snapper and trigger if you think it's a shortage go with me and I'll show you no shortage of any of these fish and we will only fish public spots rediculios is a understatement that y'all are doing to the taxe payers of this country
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3/27/2017 20:15:43Howard Kempton Howardr85@aol.comSt. Petersburg Fl 33712Private Recreational AnglerClosing the harvesting of greater AJ's for the remainder of this year is, in my opinion, ridiculous! There are plenty of legal size fish. With a one fish per person limit, there is no logical or scientific reasoning to this closure. Stop the commercials from ravaging the stock and the fish population will be just fine
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3/27/2017 22:01:35Kiangkham Viravong kviravong1@msn.com Saint Petersburg Florida 33710Private Recreational AnglerI believe you guys are doing a fine job but you have to be realistic too. I mean, why can't you limit commercial take and give it to the recreational fishermen. I mean I can't even take my son out and catch a nice Suze amberjack. I am very disappointed by your early closure..
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3/28/2017 16:26:22Ray Chaplerchaple@hotmail.comclearwater, fl 33755Private Recreational Angler1st and foremost I feel the best way to fix this is with sound science like Louisiana collects. They have shown that NMFS data is flawed and has over estimates of catch and numerous, unnecessary conservatism embedded with their stats.

I have always supported an increase in size limits as opposed to any closures or reduction in catch limits (although AJ is currently limited to 1).. You also need independent data collection with scuba divers for accurate collection of real stock assessments, The for hire sector should be grouped in the commercial section as they are conducting a commercial operation of harvesting fish & a complete stoppage of the catch share program (as Congress has mandated).

I challenge you to do the right thing, not the agenda the NMFS, PEW, Walmart and people at NMFS would like to see implemented! Fix the science, get correct stock assessments, catch history to make sound decisions against, not guessing and pushing an agenda. Also, consider that if the allowable catch has been met so quickly - this may actually indicate a much healthier stock than what is being accounted for???

This is a crazy closure as I have been underwater and I've seen the stock 1st hand, and it is not threatened or below a sustainable level, period!

Thanks for listening,
Ray C.
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3/30/2017 12:54:20Scott HookerScotthookers@gmail.comSt. Petersburg FL 33702Private Recreational AnglerThere's a LOT more money for Floridians (taxes too) and jobs in recreational angling than in commercial. Therefore, I would suggest that the allocation of catch weights be biased in favor of the recreational sector.
Thank you.
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3/30/2017 17:08:39Kenneth D Beverinkbeverin@mpeng.usBiloxi, MS, 39532Private Recreational AnglerI would like to know how you determined if I caught any greater amberjack this year. Please detail the process you went through in determining what I caught. Thanks for your time.
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3/31/2017 11:00:01Tom Pullenpullent@gmail.comGulf Shores, AL 36542Private Recreational AnglerI doubt anyone with authority reads these comments, just a means for venting.
Recreational people need to form a group and write letters to Senators or gov officials with authority.
One can't help but think there is money involved (kick backs, free fish / fishing trips, etc) from the commercial, charter boat captains. Why else would these groups not have to comply with the same rules as the Recreational.
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4/10/2017 12:37:57Chris StalveyChris.stalvey@gmail.comLake city ,fl, 32054Private Recreational AnglerI would imagine that your goal/mission is to protect the fishery, however in the process you are killing off whats left of recreational fishermen. My investment into fishing is worthless if I cant harvest any decent fish.
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5/10/2017 18:57:37Allan Wayne Meeksameeks7293@gmail.comQuincy,Fl 32352Private Recreational AnglerI took the time to read some previous comments and relized that you are wasting our time asking us to comment when it's obvious that you already have an agenda and you are only trying to appease us. Over fishing the AmberJack is laughable, you already know that there are more and larger fish and you are trying to count fish by the pound. The management needs to revamped and updated!
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5/19/2017 9:42:34John L. Gatescaptainjohnl@outlook.comLake Butler, Fl 32054Private Recreational AnglerDon't let the e-mail address fool you. I am a recreational fisherman. Oh I wanted to be a for hire captain when I was forced to take a medical retirement from injuries I received in the USMC from my chosen career as a police officer.
Of course when I got everything going the regulations were so strict and fuel prices so high it was not financially feasible.

Somebody please tell me how you know how many fish I catch every year. Or any of my fellow fisherman for that matter. No-one has ever asked. You just assume since I fish in the Gulf I catch certain fish. The only method I assume you use is you take the number of people with fishing permits and assume that they go out every day of the open season and catch the limit on ALL restrictive species. That could be the only reason for the inflated numbers.

Must be that new core course math or whatever they are calling the junk the schools are teaching. It is impossible to know anything about actual amounts or numbers without surveying the people involved. I know there was one pitiful attempt in Florida but no way you actually used the numbers gathered.

Maybe next time the guy or girl repairing or building you a boat to go "study" the marine life just guesses on how much glue or resin to use. Or maybe a little voice told him you only are allowed one quart of oil this year and you already bought two. So next year you get none.

Maybe we the people should all just guess at how much of our money we should provide you to punish us with. I'm thinking you have exceeded your quota until 2022 also.

The logic and math is completely wrong if not fraudulent.

Just know this. People can only be lorded over and pushed so far before they begin to push back. You are funded by our tax dollars. Eventually, with the prices we have to pay for fish we are not allowed to catch and the tax amount you are spending will be so much there will be no-one left to pay it.

Who will those commercial fisherman sell to when no-one can pay for it. How will you go ride around the gulf "studying" fish when you cant by fuel because there are no more tax dollars.

Every action has an equal but opposite reaction (Or did they forget to tell you that in college). Every decision you make has consequences. Maybe you should study that. Like how many businesses fail every time you change the laws or how many can't get started. I'm sure you have been told money does not grow on trees. Neither do taxes dern it!
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6/1/2017 7:58:18Charles Mendolacmendola@nationsadvance.comKey West, FLCommercial FisherGood morning,

My name is Charles Mendola, I own and operate FV Alexis M. Out of Key West FL. I will not be able to attend the 6/5-8 meetings. However; I would like to have my voice heard in the Amberjack discussion. I have participated in this fishery for the past 10 years and 2010 my vessel had 50% of the landings in the Gulf of Mexico for January and February. So I know a thing or two about Amberjack. I have seen my commercial trip limit go from no limit to 2000lbs to 1500lbs. Also ACL has decreased over the years.

First off this year was the easiest Amberjack fishing we ever had. We fished closer and quicker. I attribute this to the recreational size limit being increased. Shallower spots had more legal (36") fish than ever. This is why I fully support an increase in the recreational size limit to 36". These fish spawn seasonally and need a buffer in the size that they spawn and the size they are allowable to keep. Just because a fish is 34" doesn't mean it has spawned yet if it turned 34" out of spawn season. I also support the recreational sector having a closed season that coincides with when these fish are spawning just like the commercial sector.

Lastly, we all know that the landings data in recreational sector is an educated guess at best. While the commercial sectors landings are all put on a scale and reported in a timely fashion. I believe any change in ACL should come from the recreational sector especially if there is no change to size limit and season. They should not be able to land the majority of the fish, at a smaller size, during the spawning months, with no accurate landing data, exceed their ACL by 80%+ (the year of the stock assessment) and have the commercial sector pay for it. I obviously do not support a no harvest situation, this will put myself and many other out of work and would only rebuild stock in potentially 2 years sooner than the previous option.

Please forward this email to the proper persons.

Very Concerned,

Charles Mendola
Keys Fresh LLC.
FV Alexis M.
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6/5/2017 8:24:44Jon Paul Brookerjbrooker@oceanconservancy.orgSt.Petersburg, FLNGOIn 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:
• Framework Action to Increase Greater Amberjack ACLs Based on Update Assessment Results
We urge the Council to take a strong precautionary approach when making adjustments to the size limit and to the season closure for greater amberjack, as the stock is already in an extremely precarious position having not successfully rebuilt by its previous rebuilding targets.
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6/6/17Eric Brazereric@shareholdersalliance.orgShareholders AllianceOn 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. Greater Amberjack.
This species needs a management strategy that will achieve its rebuilding requirements and provide more stable fishery access. We believe that the Gulf Council should consider a reasonable range of alternatives, including trip limits, seasons, size limits, and IFQs or other output-based systems. Simply considering lower trip limits and shortened seasons artificially restricts the Gulf Council’s options and doesn’t provide the industry with a reasonable suite of ideas to choose from. We believe that a quota- system deserves serious consideration in light of recent findings.
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6/7/17Dylan Hubbarddhubbard@hubbardsmarina.comcharter/headboatTo 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 – 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.
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6/7/17BJ Burketthookemupcharters@gmail.comPanama City, FLcharter My name is BJ Burkett. Owner and operator of Hookem Up Charters LLC in Panama City Beach , FL. The proposed fall amberjack season will be devastating to my business. Our fleet needs this fishery in the spring when we have no other species to target. There are other species to catch in the fall such as king mackerel and gag grouper.
I propose a spring season opening April-May closing June and July and any remaining days to start August 1st. This fishery is essential to our businesses. The spring of 2017 was the worst spring I have had in 15 years charter fishing in Panama City beach. Please consider a spring Amberjack season.

Thank you for your time,

BJ Burkett
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6/7/17Bob Zales IIbobzales2@gmail.comPanama City, FLOn behalf of the Panama City Boatmen Association I wish to comment on the new proposal for Greater Amberjack. We do not support an August thru Dec season. For several years we have recommended a spring season from around Mar or April thru May with any left over quota to be used in the fall from Aug/Sept for as long as it will last. Without amberjack there is little to target in the spring and as was this spring without amberjack there will be little business in a spring without amberjack. There are other species such as gag grouper and king mackerel available in the fall.

For those who do not fully understand the charter fishing business, please let me explain. As a boat owner you try to recruit and encourage a steady customer base. When customers are used to being able to harvest certain species during a specified period they generally book and return to harvest those species. Under the current management system of changing seasons, having no season, and providing little if any notice of a season customers are at a loss at to when they can plan for what. With the exception of this past spring customers planned for amberjack in the spring as many of us had pushed that species during the spring. Last fall they expected amberjack but had to change their plans. Now some council members are proposing a fall amberjack fishery, once again moving the target. Customers are creatures of habit and constant changing of seasons is frustrating and creates serious issues for those of us who try to plan our business. It takes a little time to build business on what species are available to get customers oriented.

Fishing in the spring is much safer than in the fall as weather and sea conditions are much better in the spring. Fishing in the spring for amberjack will help to comply with national standard 10, safety being a primary consideration.

We support a Mar/Api thru may season for amberjack with any quota left to be used in the fall. We strongly oppose any other action. Thanks

Capt Bob Zales, II
President
PCBA
50
6/7/17Bobby Kellycaptainbobbykelly@gmail.comOrange Beach, ALcharter/Headboat For-HireAs you may know Ive started commercial fishing to supplement my income in the last year meaning Im the next generation of fisherman you guys are talking about. So if you have questions about whether what you're doing is helping or hurting me, all you need to do is ask. I lease most of my allocation, so any restrictions you put on leasing (even if you think you're helping) is going to hurt my ability to lease fish - either they won't be available to lease or the price is going to go up because this is a market-based system. And if I can't lease fish, I can't make money and those fish get wasted because I have to throw them back.I don't want you to start tweaking the existing program in ways that are going to hurt the fishermen and businesses I rely on now for my leased fish. Sure I want to own my own shares, but I'm working my way into this fishery and building up capital to go out and by my own. Taking it from someone else just isn't right .Anyone who says there isn't allocation or shares available is lying - it's available, they just don't want to pay market rates.The best thing the Council can do for me and other young fishermen is to leave the IFQ system alone and focus on getting us a federal IFQ loan program like the Alaskans have. I'd really like the Council to work with NMFS to make this happen as soon as possible.
When the subject of reallocation comes up I dont want to start this again.This has been to court and the judge has ruled against the Council and NMFS. Why would you want to spend time fighting about taking access away from fishermen and consumers when you should be figuring out how to fix the broken private recreational management system?
Im all for the longliners carrying more hooks. It's just going to make sure they can keep fishing instead of running in because they lost too many hooks to sharks or something else.
I'm not a recreational fisherman from Louisiana but I I have been always been in favor of any new ideas for the recreational fisherman - this idea will improve the science and give recreational fishermen more access - two things that recreational groups have been calling for for years. I hope the Council gives Louisiana the chance to test this idea out and see if it works better for their fishermen.
I think the GAJseason needs some tweaking in order to keep access open to a broader array of anglers. Id like to see a May 1-May 30 season and then finish up the remainder of the quota until sometime in the fall. This will finally balance out the gulf and allow us to have a trophy fish in almost all seasons with the work that you have down with triggerfish and red snapper

Thank you for all of your hard work and look forward to seeing the progress continue thats made in the future

--Captain Bobby Kelly
Orange Beach AL
51
6/7/17Troy Fradytroy.frady@gmail.comOrange Beach, ALCharter/Headboat For-HireGulf Council Members,

I wish I was there with you in Naples, but as you all know, it's fishing, tourist and vacation season up here on the northern gulf coast and I can't miss an opportunity to generate some much needed revenue for my business. It has been a long winter and a tough spring here so far this year. Just so you will understand how things are here, our season is strongest between Memorial Day and runs through about August 10-15 each year or when school begins. Our most reliable and returning customers book their trips during the late Summer and Fall months. This is a time when the gulf waters are warmest and there are more opportunities to catch a mixed bag of fish. Many of which are smaller species. We need your help with having a trophy reef fish for our anglers to target and catch during this time of the year. The fish we would like to target and catch is the Greater Amberjack.

"The Cheese Has Moved" (An incredible Book by the way) a while back and charter fishermen in the northern gulf can no longer depend on having sustainable or reliable numbers of Spring customers to help jump start our fishing year that begins the second week of March of each year, with Spring Break. Even though I have some Spring business, these customers are no longer the hard core anglers like we had prior to the MSA re-authorization. These new anglers and customers we have, really care more about the experience that deep sea fishing brings rather than the number of pounds that they can put in a cooler. Spring customers are mostly tourist and most of them have not budgeted for a serious fishing trip and end up choosing the shortest or most economical trips we offer. All the Spring customers tell us all they need, is to have a few fish for dinner. We can usually get them a few vermilion, red porgy and some spanish mackerel during these months and they are satisfied. Spring fishermen are not our serious or repeat customers in most cases.

On the other hand, our late Summer and Fall customers are our staple anglers. They come year after year and provide stability for our businesses and local economies. Without them, we would really be in trouble and have a hard time paying all the bills like slip rent during the long Winter and Spring months. So, it makes sense to ensure that these customers fishing patterns are not disrupted in any way. My suggestion is to take care of what we have, and that is a strong August to October customer base and ensure they have fish to catch. I urge you to support a season opening of Greater Amberjack on August 1.

Sincerely,

Troy Frady
Captain F/V Distraction
Orange Beach, Alabama
251.975.8111
52
6/22/2017 12:31:58Carl Kuehnelckuehnel@airbusdshouston.comSeabrook, TX, 77586Private Recreational AnglerI consider that the Gulf Council should show some honesty by first separating out the Private recreational Angler numbers form the Charter/Head boat numbers. Then give the ability back to the private/recreational angler as American citizens to fish for greater Amberjack. The preferential treatment afforded to the Commercial groups and their lobbyists over the Private Recreational Angler is blatantly obvious and exposed in the 2017 closure of the season. Please find the integrity to give the fish back to the people.
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6/23/2017 10:22:53Skip Robertsskiproberts1@yahoo.comGautier, Ms 39553Private Recreational AnglerWhat a joke. another bad stock assessment. There are plenty of amberjack out in the Gulf. Recreational fishing should be the last sector adjusted if there is really a shortage. Bad options using bad data.
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6/23/2017 11:36:16Brandon halesReelrenditions@gmail.comMobile, AlPrivate Recreational AnglerAmberjack are not overfished in the Pensacola/AL areas if your stock assessments show a decline it's from too many Red Snapper overpowering them on the reef/structure/hardbottom etc
55
6/23/2017 12:06:13Amber RempelThnkredd@yahoo.comOcean Springs, MS 39565Private Recreational AnglerI recommend a cut commercial harvest. Any time you have large commercial vessels raking in anything, it will have an adverse effect.
If you feel the need to make further changes to recrational fishing, alternate the ability as to how they can be caught between spear fishing and top side/pole fishing.
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6/23/2017 14:16:14ANITA ROSStiarossini@gmail.com32401Charter/Headboat For-HireOur Comments do no good!! We worked with you 2 years ago on Amberjack (increased size to get longer season) and yet you LIED to us and CLOSED THE SEASON EARLIER THIS YEAR!!! Fat Cats PAD your pockets and us hard working small business owners trying to make an honest living keep getting SCREWED by you and your Incorrect Data! Yes, I'm angry, can you tell?
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6/23/2017 18:19:14Ryan Dorrellryan.dorrell@agilethought.comLutz, FL 33558Private Recreational AnglerIf Amberjack are struggling to rebuild, eliminate or severely restrict the commercial catch for a few years. Limit recreational catch to 1 per person per day, with a larger length - or institute a fish tag program, up to 5 per person per year. There are many reefs in Florida that are covered with Amberjack. Eliminate them from spearfishing completely.
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6/23/2017 18:57:42Clyde wylieTankgunner1@yahoo.comPanama City, flPrivate Recreational AnglerIf a species is overfished then cut it off to commercial and recreational. It is a public resource, so why cut one and leave it open to the other? If a group should have limited access, limit commercial first which will make the price go up and the demand go down thus fix the problem
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6/24/2017 0:07:29Capt Tom Adamstomadams@mexicobeachcharters.commexico beach, fl 32456Private Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-HirePleasee make the amberjack open in the spring as early as possible through may 31 It is vital to keep our business's open we have to have something to fish for up until red snapper opens Thanks Capt Tom
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7/6/2017 20:34:02Scott Robsonsportfish1@cox.netDestin,Fl, 32550Charter/Headboat For-HireAmberjack season is very important season for the for-hire business, having amberjacks closed until Aug 1st is not an option for us here on the Gulf Coast, especially in Fl. There are other options that the council should consider before making a ruling. One being the option of a reduction in bag limit, 1 fish/ 2 anglers giving a 45% reduction in charter and 45% reduction in private and 39% reduction in headboat. A vessel limit of 6 per vessel would give an additional 11% reduction in charter and 39% reduction in headboat. A open season of March1st thru May31 and Aug1st thru Oct31. Once again we are looking for reduction in catch and this option gives fisheries management that reduction and yet allows for a longer season. This data was all provided in SERO-LAPP Gulf Amend 35 2011, and I am sure NMFS staff will be glad to provide council with tools that show these reduction up to present date.
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7/14/2017 8:39:32Bernard Lefebvrecaptberno@cox.netFort Walton BeachCharter/Headboat For-Hire
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7/14/2017 17:50:27Stan Phillipsdestinfishinginfo@gmail.comDestin, FL 32541Charter/Headboat For-HireMy name is Stan Phillips. I own and operate the charter boat Destination in Destin, FL. I would like to ask the council to consider other options in regard to the greater amberjack fishery. An August opening is certainly not the best option for the Florida charter fleet and would still result in an extremely short season. I would much prefer that the council consider options that would extend the season like 1 fish per 2 anglers coupled with a boat limit of 6 amberjack. Just the ability to keep a few amberjack a trip takes an incredible amount of pressure off the other species.
Thanks for your time,
Stan
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7/17/2017 8:08:31Bob Zales IIbobzales2@gmail.com32401Charter/Headboat For-HireOn 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
64
7/18/2017 13:04:21Benjamin Kelleymisskelley29@aol.comPanama City Beach, FLCharter/Headboat For-HireTo Whom It May Concern

I have been in the charter fishing business for 34 years now. I had a thriving 190 day red snapper business until 2008 when NMFS dramatically shortened the season. We worked hard the last nine years rebuilding our business with Amberjacks in the spring and fall to make up for no red snapper. So now NMFS has taken Amberjacks away and triggerfish which doesn't leave much to survive on and has caused serious financially hardships amongst our fleet. Our spring season here thrives on Amberjacks being the draw that get the outdoorsmen here that time of year. We desperately need the Amberjacks open in the spring or the fleet of boats here are tied to the dock until June 1st.

The decision on the Amberjacks should not be made in August when everyone is still in high season and all the way in TX where it couldn't be more inconvenient for us to attend. I would please ask that the Amberjack final decision be made in Biloxi in October when we are slower and everyone can attend. Plus it is a much more convenient location. This is a life or death decision for my business here in the Panama City Beach, FL.

We have discussed this issue a lot amongst the fishermen and have come up with a proposal that might help. The Amberjack limit could go to one fish per two people with a boat limit of no more than six fish. Then open the season on March 1st or April 1st thru May 31st and then reopen on Sept. 1st thru Oct. 31st. This should keep us restrained to our quota and allow us to keep something during a now very slow time of the year.

I strongly encourage NMFS to add a bag limit scenario to the model they are using to check on fall and spring seasons, and please move the final action to the Biloxi meeting in October.

Thank You,

Capt. Benjamin Kelley
Miss Kelley Fishing Charters
Panama City Beach, FL
65
7/19/2017 8:16:24Cliff Packpackcliffcat@cox.netCharter/Headboat For-HireAs 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.

God is my reason...........for everything!
66
7/20/2017 13:20:30Samuel H. Youngyoung456@aol.comMarco Island, FL 34145Private Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-HireClosing Amberjack from January 1, thru July 31 is going really going to hurt the recreational and Charter for Hire business by closing AJ's in the height of season when we are busiest.

Please rethink think this and close from Sept 1 thru March 31.

Quite frankly, AJ's are plentiful and should be open year round, 1 per person, and the slot should be 32 not 34" where we're killing the breeding stock.. Flawed science and assumptions in the algorythims are misinformed.
67
7/22/2017 17:16:23Capt. Mike Graefcapt.mike@cox.netDestin, Fl 32541Charter/Headboat For-HireI have 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. My 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.

I strongly encourage the NMFS to move the final action to the Biloxi meeting.

Thank You,
Capt. Mike Graef
Charter Boat Huntress
Destin, Fl
68
7/23/2017 10:18:07John Greskajmgreska@gmail.comPalm Harbor,FL, 34685Charter/Headboat For-HireReally need the season to start 01/01/2018. If not there is no real game fish to fish for. We have the most visitors January-April that love to fish and go out on charter/headboats for AJ's.
Hope you will reconsider your options.
69
7/24/2017 10:45:55JC Sceltzjcseltz@aol.comAction 1 - Alternative 3.a.

Action 2 - Alternative 2

Not sure how you measure the fish - bur there is a ton of red snapper and aj's in the gulf.

particularly the red snapper - they are so think they are driving other fish off. I cant even catch batch fish without catching a ton of unintended red snapper.
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7/27/2017 9:10:48Mike Charterscaptmikechartersweb@gmail.comPanama City Beach, FLCharter/Headboat For-HireTo Whom It May Concern:

I have been in the Charter fishing business in Panama City Beach, FL for 22 years. I own and operate two U.S.C.G. Inspected vessels out of Capt Anderson Marina. I am writing this because of the great amberjack proposed alternative action that is on the table to be up for vote at the next council meeting in San Antonio TX.

I am strongly against it. Going to just a fall season would definitely be the end of our spring season that we have worked so hard to hold on to after the red snapper season was shortened and trigger fish/ Gag grouper seasons were closed at that time of the year.
With a proposed rule changes like this is why there is such a big push for customers to go fishing for red snapper in June as it has been the only fish that has opened on the same day for the last several years and keep the same bag limit.

I would like to see the council move the final action vote to October in Biloxi where it is more centrally located to the majority of the fishing fleet and it is also at the end of the fishing season instead of the San Antonio meeting that is no where near the coast and in the middle of the summer were we are guaranteed to lose several charters going to the meeting.

I would like to see a 1 fish for 2 people max 6 fish per vessel opening in March or April and closing at the end of May and then reopening in September and going through October put as one of the alternative actions.

Thank you
Mike Sullivan
Capt Mike Charters
71
7/31/2017 11:05:46Mark Kelleyladykelleycharters@yahoo.comPanama City Beach, FloridaCharter/Headboat For-HireTo Whom It May Concern

My family has been in the charter fishing business for 60 years in Panama City Beach, Florida. I own two charter boats which are dually permitted. Due to the shortening of the 6 month snapper season (which is now 49 days), I have had to rely on other species to supplement the catch possibilities that have been taken away. Because of this new regulation, I have had to build a spring and fall business on catching Amberjacks. Under the new regulations of Amberjacks that are under consideration, I am very concerned that a Spring season is not considered. Without Amberjacks, the business we have built for the spring will be negatively impacted. We desperately need the Amberjacks open in the Spring, or the fleet of boats will be tied to the dock until June 1st.

The decision on the Amberjacks should not be made in August when everyone is still in high season. The Texas location is very inconvenient for us to attend due to our business/home location. I would please ask that the Amberjack final decision be made in Biloxi in October when our business is slower so that everyone can attend. Biloxi is a much more convenient location. This is a life or death decision for my business.

We have discussed this issue among our local fishermen and have a proposal that might help. The Amberjack limit could go to one fish per two people with a boat limit of no more than six fish. Then open the season on March 1st or April 1st thru May 31st and then reopen on Sept. 1st thru Oct. 31st. This should keep us restrained to our quota and allow us to keep something during a now very slow time of the year.

I strongly encourage the NMFS to add a bag limit scenario to the model they are using to monitor fall and spring seasons, and respectfully request that the final action be moved to Biloxi in October.

Thank You,

Capt Mark Kelley
850-866-5694
kelleygirlcharters.com
72
7/31/2017 23:13:39Jeffrey SenarighiSenarighi1@yahoo.comMora, MN, 55051Private Recreational AnglerI and thousands of other snowbirds have been spending our winter months on the gulf coast. We consider ourselves part time residents and enjoy the fishing opportunities provided by the local charter services. My group and I would like to see lalternative 2 implemented. This would give greater flexibility in offering us and those that follow through the year opportunity to harvest the reef fish resource. It would also offer greater flexibility to the charter boat services to work amount themselves in dividing up the allocations. Thank
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8/1/2017 14:42:27Phil LeclercFishfinder130@Gmail.com34610Private Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-HireAmberjack are not over fished in the Gulf there's plenty of fish the regulations are getting out of control and more needs to be done to allow the public equal rights to our fishery.
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8/1/2017 14:42:34Matthew kaczmarekSaltlife2003@gmail.com Riverview Florida 33578Private Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-Hire, Commercial Fisher, NGONo voting on any items on the Agenda should be done until Oct when new members are there to vote!!
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8/2/2017 19:28:34Matt Manningmatthmanning@yahoo.comValrico, FL 33596Private Recreational AnglerThe Rec sector needs some REAL rec reps on the Council with ZERO ties to commercial fishing. The rec reps in place are commercial fishing insiders with one exception. The DO NOT and CANNOT represent us. We are being Legislated without Representation. This is a total trust violation that the council wants to hear from us at all. Sec. Ross has been listening to us. Respect and Open communications could begin to happen if we have real reps. Continue the same and we will push to have Secretary Ross. mandate our rights to 317 ARS days and ask for a commercial fishing ban. The fish houses can buy fish from the for-hire Captains that we support if you want to continue to abuse the resource and ignore us. We already have your top Boss'es Sec. Ross's respect and the Rec Anglers have 10x the numbers and money of commercial operations.
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8/2/2017 21:23:10Mark RoyallRoyallti@gmail.comBradenton, FL 34209Private Recreational AnglerPlease delay voting on new matters until the full board of members are seated later this year (2017).
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8/4/2017 7:16:56Capt. Dylan Hubbardinfo@HubbardsMarina.comMadeira Beach, FL 33708Private Recreational Angler, Charter/Headboat For-HireI feel no final actions or advancements be made until the Biloxi meeting, that way the newly appointed council members have a chance to vote. Also, I would encourage the council to review the data from the phone survey spikes. I feel a 135.5% increase in private angling in 2016 is unrealistic. To us, this is a clear indication of a data issue and this data spike needs to be reviewed and if its found to be a false spike, then these actions be reevaluated completely since the issue calling for ACL adjustment would be no more.
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8/4/2017 8:31:15B.J. Burketthookemupcharters@gmail.comPanama City Beach, FLCharter/Headboat For-HireTo whom it may concern,

My name is B.J. Burkett, owner and operator of Hook’em Up charters LLC for the past 13 years. I am a 3rd generation recreational, charter and commercial fisherman located in Panama City Beach, Fl. I have been actively involved in the fisheries management process for 10 years and I’m familiar with several referendums that the National Marine Fisheries Service has implemented.

I am asking today to please postpone any decisions pertaining to the charter for hire referendum and 2018 Amberjack regulations until October. The fishing season will be drastically slower and a majority of the stakeholders will be more likely to attend at that time. These meetings are one of the few ways stakeholders can voice their opinions and actively participate in council decisions. Postponing till October will give stakeholders the chance they need to attend and voice their concerns.

If an Amberjack season must be determined during this meeting, please take my concerns into consideration. First and foremost a spring season needs to be added as an option to the agenda. To my knowledge a fall season is the only season being proposed.

We started targeting Amberjack in the spring and fall when Red Snapper was no longer available to catch. A spring and fall Amberjack season allows anglers to catch a desirable species when others are closed. This past 2017 spring was the worst spring the Panama City fishing fleet has ever had.This was due to an abrupt closure of our target species, Amberjack.

Furthermore, please consider a split Amberjack season and decreased bag limits to stay within catch guidelines. I propose a March through May and August through October season allowing 1 fish per 2 anglers or a 6 fish boat limit. If the Total Allowable Catch is exceeded, remove March or August. This will keep a majority of the fleet fishing.

Our business and livelihoods are determined by the decisions you make. Understand that this has been the worst spring we have had to date and the fall is not looking any better. Also take into consideration that Texas is a considerable distance from the majority of stakeholders and that many will not be able to attend. Wait to make any decisions until proper representation can be present.

Thank you for your time.

B.J. Burkett
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8/4/2017 9:37:14Clifton Wallacecliffwal@gmail.comPort RicheyPrivate Recreational AnglerI demand that any final actions be moved to the Biloxi meeting in October because the new council members will not be able to vote at the august meeting and they need to have their say, that is why they were appointed to the council so please let them weigh in!”
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8/7/2017 11:39:28Hank Hunthunthb@comcast.netPanama City Beach, FLCharter/Headboat For-HireI would like for the council to consider an April through May Spring Season for the Great Amberjack and to reopen it in mid August through mid October for a Fall Season with a managed option of one fish to every two persons on board a vessel with a cap of 6 fish per vessel. I feel this plan would work well with the rebuilding plan with a reduction in harvest and be of a benefit for the charter boat industry.

In considering this proposal, please be aware that in the early Spring, the larger amberjacks are in deeper water further offshsore. In order to fish for them it requires our customers to book longer fishing trips to get to them. Due to the rules and regulations placed on us now, along with our economy, our customers are booking shorter trips. Between the customer trying to afford to go by going on shorter trips and the location of the Greater Amberjacks in deeper water during the current season time frame, I have only been able to catch 3 legal sized Greater Amberjacks during the 2017 season. It has caused mine, and other charter boats, to loose business during the Spring and Fall since we are unable to catch larger fish.

I ask that you consider your options and to understand that there are other options out there than just the ones presented to you by the Fisheries Services. I've owned, operated a charter boat fishing the NWFlorida waters for over 41 years. Listen to the Captains that have been fishing these waters for years. They know the waters, they know the patterns of the fish, when they spawn, when they move through an area. They are not opposed to the limited catches, but we are in the process of being regulated out of business with unfair limits made with data the NMF, has admitted is inaccurate and with mathematical equations, not real facts. We know that if you over fish an area, the fish do not return to it. We know, in order to provide for our families, we have to leave some for tomorrow's customers and for the many years to come. All we are asking is for what is fair and reasonable for us to maintain making a living.



Capt Hank
Capt Hank Hunt Charter Services
Panama City, FL
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8/7/2017 11:40:28Brad Forancaptbrad82@gmail.comPanama City Beach, FLCharter/Headboat For-Hire I had a thriving 190 day red snapper business until 2008 when NMFS dramatically shortened the season. We worked hard the last nine years rebuilding our business with Amberjacks in the spring and fall to make up for no red snapper. So now NMFS has taken Amberjacks away and triggerfish which doesn't leave much to survive on and has caused serious financially hardships amongst our fleet. Our spring season here thrives on Amberjacks being the draw that get the outdoorsmen here that time of year. We desperately need the Amberjacks open in the spring or the fleet of boats here are tied to the dock until June 1st.

The decision on the Amberjacks should not be made in August when everyone is still in high season and all the way in TX where it couldn't be more inconvenient for us to attend. I would please ask that the Amberjack final decision be made in Biloxi in October when we are slower and everyone can attend. Plus it is a much more convenient location. This is a life or death decision for my business here in the Panama City Beach, FL.

We have discussed this issue a lot amongst the fishermen and have come up with a proposal that might help. The Amberjack limit could go to one fish per two people with a boat limit of no more than six fish. Then open the season on March 1st or April 1st thru May 31st and then reopen on Sept. 1st thru Oct. 31st. This should keep us restrained to our quota and allow us to keep something during a now very slow time of the year.

I strongly encourage NMFS to add a bag limit scenario to the model they are using to check on fall and spring seasons, and please move the final action to the Biloxi meeting in October.

Capt. Brad Foran
Reel Commocean Charters
Panama City Beach FL
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8/7/2017 12:17:34Capt. Mike Thierrycapthierry@aol.comDauphin Island, AL 36528Charter/Headboat For-HireI think that the only fair and equitable solution for everybody is to have 1 amberjack per person bag limit. I would like to see an August 1 opening for amberjack.
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8/7/2017 13:13:45Frank Thierry, Jr.escapecharters@yahoo.com36528Charter/Headboat For-HireIt would be most beneficial if the council could open the AJ season august 1, hopefully paired with a spring trigger, summer snapper season to give customers on charter and private boats an opportunity to catch a few fish for the longest amount of time
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8/7/2017 16:54:34Skipper Thierryescapecharters@yahoo.comAlabamaCharter/Headboat For-Hire Please consider an opening of march 15 for triggers. March, April, and/or may makes the most sense. Paired with an amberjack opening of aug 1 this should maximize angling opportunities for ALL sectors on the gulf coast
Thank you
Skipper Thierry
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8/7/2017 17:58:36Matt Manningmatthmanning@yahoo.comValrico, FL 33596Private Recreational AnglerI demand that any final actions be moved to the Biloxi meeting in October because the new council members will not be able to vote at the august meeting and they need to have their say, that is why they were appointed to the council so please let them weigh in!
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8/7/2017 18:15:39Matt Manningmatthmanning@yahoo.comValrico, FL 33596Private Recreational AnglerI demand that any final actions be moved to the Biloxi meeting in October because the new council members will not be able to vote at the august meeting and they need to have their say, that is why they were appointed to the council so please let them weigh in!
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8/8/2017 11:37:27Mike Thierrycampthierry@aol.comDauphin Island, ALCharter/Headboat For-Hire
Hi,

I would like to see a 1 per person bag limit on amberjack and see the season open on August 1.
We definitely do not need to pit the 6 pack charter boats against the multi-passenger boats on this.
It should be fair and equitable for all.

I would like to see trigger fish season be open March and April.

Thank you for your consideration.

Capt. Mike
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8/8/2017 15:22:16Liz Cantrellelizcreno@me.comcut off La. 70345Private Recreational Anglerwould like to see the Amberjack season in the summer because we only fish the summer
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8/9/2017 8:58:51Jason Vicarsaquastarfishing@gmail.comOrange Beach, AlCharter/Headboat For-Hire
Hi, I'm Capt. Jason Vicars with the charter boat Aquastar out of Orange Beach, Al.
I'm writing you all today to voice my wishes for the Triggerfish and Amberjack seasons.
Our business here doesn't get started up until spring break (March/April). The weather can be pretty tricky during those times and it would be great if we had a highly sought after fish to target. Triggerfish would be perfect, they fight great, excellent on the table, tourist love them, and it would be extremely helpful to get a few out of our way before Snapper season. The triggerfish in our area have become extremely plentiful due to the fact we haven't been able to target them recently and can be problematic at times.
Once Snapper season comes to an end we aren't left with much variety. We have great weather and not much to go after. Amberjack can make a huge difference in a trip for us. We could actually start trying to push for more full day trips in August and further on. Unfortunately it seems as if all the Amberjack quota are being caught up by a small portion of the Gulf while the rest of us sit around waiting for our busy season to start up.

I'm also very concerned on how the states decisions can hurt us on certain species.
We've been trying to do the right thing for quite a few years. We stay under our TAC's, we report our catches, we use tools such as the Seaqualizer to reduce mortality rates in by catch and yet it seems as we can still be punished for decisions made by the states.
When will our hard work payoff?
Thanks, Captain Jason Vicars
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8/9/2017 9:48:05Mike Rowellmike@captainmikesfishing.comOrange Beach, ALCharter/Headboat For-Hire
Council Members


I am very disappointed that I was not able to make this meeting. I was weathered out on Monday, rescheduled for Tuesday. Tuesday the plane had "Maintenance Issues" and I could not get another flight out.

If I had been there for the meeting, I could have been more specific with my comments.
Having said that, here are my brief comments.

Our industry needs stability with regards to seasons of our most popular reef fish. If Red Snapper Season is going to remain open in June and July, I would like to see Triggerfish in the spring and Amberjack in the fall.
I am not in favor of a "boat limit" for Amberjack. One per person limit.

Our business has suffered a great deal because some seasons are set so late fisherman hard to schedule their vacation.

Another problem is the confusion with regards to state water seasons for private rec’s, federal water seasons for private rec’s and charter for hire seasons in federal waters.

Too much negative news.

Thank you for your consideration of my thoughts.

Captain Mike Rowell
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8/9/2017 15:06:34Ben Faireybenfairey@gmail.comOrange Beach, ALCharter/Headboat For-Hire
Dear Sir,
Having fished for over 45 years off Alabama waters I understand the importance of having one of the marquee species available during one of the best times of the year to fish which is the fall season. Red snapper, triggerfish are closed. So having amberjack open in the fall gives anglers another opportunity to enjoy better weather besides tropical events and gives our community CFH Captains a chance to book a few additional days before the offseason arrives. Thank you for the opportunity to voice my opinion.
Capt. Ben Fairey
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8/9/2017 15:26:08Dylan Hubbard
dhubbard@hubbardsmarina.com
Saint Petersburg, FLCharter/Headboat For-Hire
Final action – framework actions – AJ ACL and management measures
We would have liked to see the council wait on the Amberjack final action until the next meeting in Biloxi that is more centrally located and easily reached by more anglers and while allowing the new members to weigh in since this isn’t too much of a rush. However, we are happy to see the ACL set to the ABC recommended by the SSC. The season discussion for Amberjack was a little worrisome, we feel a spring season would be highly appreciated and greatly needed. Many of the GOM anglers and traveling anglers that enjoy visiting the GOM for AJ fishing have been made used to a spring season. We feel that at the very least a May season would be enough to ease this expectation, but even better April and May. If the beginning of April is too close to the spawn, let’s try mid-April until end of May. That would allow a brief spring season, but not long enough to affect the fall AJ season that the Western gulf has pushed for. The decision tool being used to make these season decisions is not taking into account the changes made to the ACL at this meeting, I would urge the council to direct staff to make these changes to the decision tool before the October meeting. This would allow us to use a more complete and effective tool to make the decision come the October Biloxi meeting.
In summary, the most important comment is that a spring season is mandatory even if it ends up to brief 30-50 day season in the spring behind the spring spawn time. We understand the discussion and rationale for not having any season in the spring since it has to do with the alleged spawning season impacts in March and April. As we all know those months were established as a closure for the commercial sector many years ago. Apparently, there has been little, if any biomass benefit due to the commercial closure since it obviously has not been reflected in the stock assessments. To project it will make any difference at all to not open the fishery for the rec sector during those months is much like making the projection over 2 years ago that by moving to a 34" size limit for the rec sector would ensure a year-round fishing season. Once again, the commercial fishery is nothing similar to the rec fishery and should never be managed as such. Finally, the MOST disturbing and important thing address before season decisions are made is to re-evaluate the spike in the MRIP survey in 2016 landings. Recently, at a AP council meeting with Congressmen Jolly, Dr. Crabtree stated this spike happened in the panhandle area where the boats and captains all refute this spike. I feel this 135.5% spike in private rec landings for greater Amberjack is a data anomaly and needs to be address and re-evaluated as we have stated in previous public comments. Until more info is provided and much more discussion is considered there should be no rush to judgement on this issue.

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8/9/2017 16:52:14D W MacMahonuwheadhunter@verizon.netSpring Hill FL 34610Commercial Fisher
I spearfish from off the Pan Handle to off the Tortugas. AJ's have made a huge comeback in the last 5 years. My crew and I regularly comment on how many AJ's there are compared to just a few years ago.. It doesn't matter whether you're fishing in 60 feet or 300 feet, they're thick everywhere.

Despite a trip limit cut back to 1500 Lbs, the commercial fishery was closed for the year after only being open for 77 days? The fish are everywhere in large quantities and are easily found. You don't close a fishery in 2 and a half months when the fish are scarce and hard to find.

So despite all the cut backs on the Rec's from 3 fish per person per day to one fish per person per day to closed seasons and zero take for most of this year, your position is that they're still over fished and under going over fishing? Huh?

Despite the commercial catch being half of what it was, we now have a 77 day long yearly season? Huh?

I usually pretty much agree with your reasoning, I agreed when you said Gags were beat down, I agreed when you said Trigger fish were beat down, I lke the new Hog Fish regs, etc, etc., but you are way off on Aj's.

What you should be doing is cutting back on Red Grouper(whoever approved the 30% increase in them should be reassigned) and increasing the TAC on AJ's.

How anybody could think that AJ's are still over fished much less undergoing overfishing is hard to understand.
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8/10/2017 9:33:15Bob Zales IIbobzales2@gmail.comPanama City Beach, FLCharter/Headboat For-Hire
I had planned to be at this meeting but prior to boarding my flight from Birmingham I received a call that my boat had developed an engine issue so had to cancel everything and head home where I have been in the engine room since late yesterday afternoon. That being said I have received numerous calls and texts re the AJ issue, in particular apparent discussion of a season start in July and spawning period issues. I have been asked why and since I have not been privy to the discussion cannot provide one. Apparently all of the comments sent to the council re the need for a spring season off the west coast of Florida have fallen on deaf ears.

Up front, anything less than some type of a spring season off the west coast of Florida is completely unacceptable. We need something to target in the spring and AJs have become that primary target over the past several years. The proposal developed by Scott Robson and strongly supported by a multitude of charter for hire vessel owners is more than reasonable and provides some type of season for all across the Gulf. It is baffling to those of us who have been involved in fisheries management for many years as to why the for hire charter vessel owners from lower Alabama are promoting a fall season for AJ. In the past they have stressed they normally do not fish very much, if any, in the fall as they are all avid hunters and spend Nov through Jan in the woods. I guess hunting is no longer a priority.

I understand some discussion and rationale for not having any season in the spring has to do with the alleged spawning season impacts in March and April. As all know those months were established as a closure for the commercial sector many years ago. Apparently there has been little, if any biomass benefit due to the commercial closure since it obviously has not been reflected in the stock assessments. To project it will make any difference at all to not open the fishery for the rec sector during those months is much like making the projection over 2 years ago that by moving to a 34" size limit for the rec sector would ensure a year round fishing season. We all know the results of that projection!!!! Once again, the commercial fishery is nothing similar to the rec fishery and should never be managed as such.

In addition to all the discussion, has anyone been able to answer why the '16 rec harvest was 3 times higher than ever before? Is the data real or is there a simple data point that has been extrapolated or is there a mistake? It is not surprising that a mistake or simple data point has driven those numbers.

Until more info is provided and much more discussion is considered there should be no rush to judgement on this issue. Delaying any final action to the Oct meeting in Biloxi is not only the proper thing to do it will ensure that more stakeholders will have ample opportunity to provide input as the location is central to the Gulf and the time is outside the busy season for everyone.

Thanks,
Bob
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8/10/2017 9:34:53Bill Staff
captainbill@seaspraycharterfishing.com
Orange Beach Charter/Headboat For-Hire
Thanks council for opportunity to speak!
I really don't think we have the issue with AJ that our scientist say as I caught more on more snapper places this snapper season than ever before!
Normally they hang to the larger wrecks.
These were on smaller wrecks that normally hold snapper!
There were many of these places!
I remember ROY saying nothing we have tried has mad the stock take off
So if there in the peril that's presented the best thing for them is to shut em down during spawn! Dah!
Let's for once do something for the fish and not the fishermen!
I know also if it opens Jan 1 none of the boats west of Fl line will get to partake!
How fair is this? Not fair at all!
I'm in noway for fractional limits as this would probably lead into
Fractional limits on other species which we don't need!
I also believe if Fl opens a fall trigger season this is non compliance and they should in no way be able to catch snapper in the Rec opening!
Triggers are rampant and we definitely need a Mar April opening!
Thanks
Bill Staff
Sea Spray
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