Interim Action to Reduce Overfishing of Gag in the Gulf of Mexico
The purpose of this temporary final rule is to implement Interim Measures to reduce overfishing of Gulf gag by reducing commercial and recreational annual catch limits and annual catch targets based on the most recent stock analyses and subsequent Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee recommendations. This action uses projections from the Southeast Fishery Science Center on reductions necessary to reduce overfishing to levels consistent with the gag rebuilding plan being developed in Amendment 56 to the Reef Fish FMP. This temporary rule will be effective for 180 days (until October 30, 2023) and is expected to be extended for up to an additional 186 days (366 total days). The Interim Measures would act as an Amendment to the FMP while Amendment 56 to the Reef Fish FMP, including the gag rebuilding plan, are being developed. Amendment 56 is required to be implemented within two years of the Council receiving notification that gag was overfished, and must be implemented by January 26, 2024.