Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Historical Amendments and Rulemaking (1981-2017)
The following is a list of historic rulemakings to the Fishery Management Plan for the shrimp fishery of the Gulf of Mexico effective 2017 and earlier. For current amendments and recent rulemaking, see the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Homepage or Notices & Rules.
See current rules that are open for comment here.
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Amendment 17A: Permit Moratorium Extension
This final rule is effective August 22, 2016, and extends the current Gulf commercial shrimp permit moratorium for 10 more years. The intent of this final rule and Amendment 17A is to protect federally managed Gulf shrimp stocks while promoting catch efficiency, economic efficiency, and stability in the fishery.
- Notice of Availability, 81 FR 19547.
- Proposed Rule, 81 FR 22042.
- Final Rule, 81 FR 47733. Effective August 22, 2016.
Amendment 15: Status Determination Criteria for Penaeid Shrimp and Adjustments to the Shrimp Framework Procedure
This amendment adjusts stock status determination criteria to be consistent with the new population metrics for penaeid shrimp. It also modifies the framework procedure for the Shrimp fishery management plan to include changes to accountability measures for the royal red shrimp fishery through the standard documentation process for open framework actions, and make editorial changes to the framework procedure to reflect changes to the Council advisory committees and panels.
This final rule revises the annual catch limit for royal red shrimp, removes the royal red shrimp quota, and revises the accountability measures for royal red shrimp to remove an inconsistency in the regulations. The purpose of this rule is to prevent overfishing of the royal red shrimp resource while helping to achieve optimum yield and reconcile conflicting Federal regulations.
Certification of Two New BRDs for use in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Shrimp Fisheries and Revision of a Harvesting Restriction for Shrimp Vessels
- Proposed Rule, 77 FR 1045.
- Proposed Rule Correction, 77 FR 3224.
- Final Rule, 77 FR 21679. Effective May 11, 2012, except for the amendments to Sec. 622.41(g)(3)(ii) and Appendix D to part 622, paragraph G., which are effective May 25, 2012.
Provisional Recertification of Two BRDs and Revised Construction/Installation Requirements
Decertify the Expanded Mesh Bycatch Reduction Device, the ‘‘Gulf Fisheye’’ BRD, and the ‘‘Fisheye’’ BRD
Bycatch Reduction Device Testing Manuals for the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic regions
Framework Action: Establish Funding for the Electronic Logbook Program
The purpose of this action is to maintain the National Marine Fisheries Service’s ability to monitor and document offshore effort for the Gulf shrimp fleet through an electronic logbook program. The need is to base conservation and management measures on the best scientific information available and to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable, as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Amendment 14, part of Joint Reef Fish Amendment 27/Shrimp Amendment 14 was submitted to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries in June, 2007, and establishes a target reduction goal for juvenile red snapper mortality of 74% less than the benchmark years of 2001-2003, reducing that target goal to 67% beginning in 2011, eventually reducing the target to 60% by 2032. If necessary, a seasonal closure in the shrimp fishery will occur in conjunction with the annual Texas closure. The need for a closure will be determined by an annual evaluation by the National Marine Fisheries Service Regional Administrator.
The joint amendment also addresses overfishing and bycatch issues in both the red snapper directed fishery and the shrimp fishery. The amendment sets total allowable catch (TAC) at 5.0 mp between 2008 and 2010. The commercial sector will receive a quota of 2.55 mp, with the remaining quota of 2.45 mp going to the recreational sector. The amendment also reduces the commercial size limit to 13”, reduces the recreational bag limit to two fish, eliminates a bag limit for captain and crew aboard a for-hire vessel, and sets the recreational fishing season from June 1 – September 30 (which may be extended by approximately 30 days if the Council’s presumed assumption of a 10% post-hurricane reduction in recreational fishing effort is realized). In addition, all commercial and recreational reef fish fisheries will be required to use non-stainless steel circle hooks when using natural baits, as well as venting tools and dehooking devices.
- Proposed Rule, 72 FR 59989.
- Final Rule, 73 FR 5117. Effective February 28, 2008, except for Sec. 622.41(m) which is effective June 1, 2008.
Framework Action: Bycatch Reduction Criterion for Shrimp Trawls
The purpose of this regulatory amendment is to change the bycatch reduction certification criterion for red snapper from penaeid shrimp trawling in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Revising the bycatch reduction device (BRD) certification criterion to address shrimp trawl bycatch more comprehensively and realistically is expected to increase flexibility, promote innovation, and allow for the certification of a wider variety of BRDs. Having a wider variety of BRDs available to the fishery would allow fishermen to choose the most effective BRD for the specific local fishing conditions, and enhance overall finfish reduction.
Amendment 13 defines maximum sustainable yield, optimum yield, the overfishing threshold, and the overfished condition for royal red and penaeid shrimp stocks in the Gulf for stocks that currently lack such definitions, and establishes bycatch reporting methodologies and improves collection of shrimping effort data in the exclusive economic zone. This amendment also requires completion of a Gulf Shrimp Vessel and Gear Characterization Form, requires reporting and certification of landings during a moratorium, and establishes a moratorium on the issuance of commercial shrimp vessel permits. An endorsement to the existing federal shrimp vessel permit for vessels harvesting royal red shrimp is also established.
Action 10 would establish a moratorium on the issuance of new commercial shrimp vessel permits, which would be a form of limited access.
Generic Amendment: Establishment of the Tortugas Marine Reserves
Amendment 12, implemented August 19, 2002, established two marine reserves in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the vicinity of the Dry Tortugas, Florida known as Tortugas North and Tortugas south, in which fishing for coastal migratory pelagic species is prohibited. This action complements previous actions taken under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.
Amendment 11, implemented December 5, 2002, requires all vessels harvesting shrimp from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to obtain a commercial shrimp vessel permit from NOAA Fisheries; prohibits the use of traps to harvest of royal red shrimp from the EEZ; and prohibits the transfer or royal red shrimp at sea. Permits required 12/5/02.
- Proposed Rule, 67 FR 8503.
- Final Rule, 67 FR 51074. Effective September 6, 2002, except for the addition of Sec. 622.4(a)(2)(xi) and the revision of Sec. 622.6(a)(1)(i) which are effective December 5, 2002.
Amendment 10, implemented February 9, 2004, requires the installation of NOAA Fisheries-certified bycatch reduction devices that reduce the bycatch of finfish by at least 30% by weight in each net used aboard vessels trawling for shrimp in the Gulf exclusive economic zone east of Cape San Blas, Florida (85° 30″ W. Longitude). Excepted are vessels trawling for groundfish or butterfish. A single try net with a headrope length of 16 feet or less per vessel and no more than two rigid-frame roller trawls limited to 16 feet or less, such as those used in the Big Bend area of Florida are also exempted.
Amendment 9 addresses the issue of reducing the bycatch of juvenile red snapper in the shrimp trawl fishery.
Amendment 8, submitted in 1995 and implemented on January 26, 1996, addressed management of royal red shrimp. It established a procedure that allows total allowable catch for royal red shrimp to be set up to 30 percent above Maximum Sustainable Yield for no more than two consecutive years so that a better estimate of MSY can be determined.
Amendment 7, finalized in 1994, defined overfishing for white shrimp and provided for future updating of overfishing indices for brown, white, and pink shrimp as new data become available. A total allowable level of foreign fishing (TALFF) for royal red shrimp was eliminated; however, a redefinition of overfishing for this species was disapproved.
Amendment 6 (1993) eliminated the annual reports and reviews of the Tortugas Shrimp Sanctuary in favor of monitoring and an annual stock assessment. Three seasonally opened areas within the sanctuary continued to open seasonally, without the need for annual action. A proposed definition of overfishing of white shrimp was rejected by NOAA Fisheries as not being based on the best available data.
In July 1989, NOAA Fisheries published revised guidelines for fishery management plans that interpretatively addressed the Magnuson Act National Standards. These guidelines require each FMP to include a scientifically measurable definition of overfishing and an action plan to arrest overfishing should it occur. In 1990, Texas revised the period of its seasonal closure in Gulf waters from June 1 to July 15, to May 15 to July 15. The FMP did not have enough flexibility to adjust the cooperative closure of federal waters to accommodate this change, thus an amendment was required.
Amendment 5 also defined overfishing for Gulf brown, pink, and royal red shrimp and provided for measures to restore overfished stocks if overfishing should occur. Action on the definition of overfishing for white shrimp was deferred, and seabobs and rock shrimp were deleted from the management unit. This duration of the seasonal closure to shrimping off Texas was adjusted to conform with the changes in state regulations.
Amendment 4, partially approved in 1988 and finalized in 1989, identified problems that developed in the fishery and revised the objectives of the fishery management plan accordingly. The annual review process for the Tortugas Sanctuary was simplified, and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s and Regional Administrator’s review for the Texas closure was extended to February 1st. Disapproved was a provision that white shrimp taken in the exclusive economic zone be landed in accordance with a state’s size/possession regulations to provide consistency and facilitate enforcement with the state of Louisiana. This latter action was to have been implemented at such time when Louisiana provided for an incidental catch of undersized white shrimp in the fishery for seabobs.
Amendment 3, implemented August 31, 1984, resolved another shrimp-stone crab gear conflict on the west central Florida coast.
Amendment 2, implemented May 31, 1981, updated catch and economic data in the fishery management plan.
Amendment 1, approved in 1981, provided the Regional Administrator (RA) of NOAA Fisheries with the authority to adjust by regulatory amendment the size of the Tortugas Sanctuary or the extent of the Texas closure, or to eliminate either closure for one year. It updated and revised the text of the fishery management plan (FMP).
Original Fishery Management Plan
The Shrimp Fishery Management Plan was implemented as federal regulation on May 20, 1981. The principal thrust of the plan was to enhance yield in volume and value by deferring harvest of small shrimp to provide for growth.
The principle action included establishing a cooperative Tortugas Shrimp Sanctuary with the state of Florida to close a shrimp trawling area where small pink shrimp comprise the majority of the population most of the time, a cooperative 45-day seasonal closure with the state of Texas to protect small brown shrimp emigrating from bay nursery areas, and seasonal zoning of an area of Florida Bay for either shrimp or stone crab fishing to avoid gear conflict.
The FMP also established reporting systems for vessels, dealers, and processors.