Framework Action: Modification to the Recreational Red Snapper Annual Catch Target Buffers & Modification of Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper and West Florida Hogfish Annual Catch Limits
The actions in these two framework amendments will be combined during the rule making process, allowing the public to see the resulting ACLs and provide comment. The purpose of the framework actions are to modify the annual catch limits (ACLs) for Gulf red snapper and west Florida hogfish based on the most recent stock assessments; and to reduce the federal for-hire component's red snapper annual catch target (ACT) .
The recent assessments indicated that neither stock was overfished or experiencing overfishing. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's (Council) Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) acknowledged that the acceptable biological catch for red snapper could be increased above 2018 values, and provided two options to the Council. This framework would set the west Florida hogfish and red snapper ACLs for 2019-2021+ consistent with the SSC recommended acceptable biological catch.
At the same time reducing the federal fo-hire component's red snapper ACT buffer would allow a greater harvest in 2019 while continuing to constrain landings to the for-hire component and total recreational annual catch limit (ACL). The current red snapper total ACL is divided the commercial (51%) and recreational (49%) sectors. The recreational sector is divided into two components each with their own portion of the total recreational ACL; the private angling (57.5%) and the for-hire (42.3%) components. In order to prevent the recreational sector from exceeding their ACL, an ACT has been set for both components at 20% below the ACL, as a buffer. Because the for-hire component has not exceeded it's ACT, this action will reduce the buffer between the ACT and ACL to 9%, in order to constrain landings but allow for a greater harvest.