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Gulf of Mexico Individual Fishing Quota Program Reminders

July 02, 2024

FB24-047: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin; For more information, contact: Catch Share Customer Support, (866) 425-7627 (Select option 2, from 8 am–4:30 pm Eastern Standard Time [EST]), nmfs.ser.catchshare@noaa.gov

Key Messages:

  • NOAA Fisheries is sending this reminder to ensure Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) program participants are informed about new and important requirements, such as management actions, IFQ system functions, and how to participate in the program.
  • For further information, IFQ participants can contact Catch Share Support at (866) 425-7627 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.


Fishery Management Updates


Gag is overfished and experiencing overfishing.  The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) developed a rebuilding plan to rebuild the stock in 18 years and this plan required substantial cuts in the allowable harvest.  Gag quotas for 2024 and 2025 were set by the final rule for Amendment 56 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Reef Fish FMP). It is noted that there is no red grouper multi-use allocation when gag is under a rebuilding plan. 

Shallow-Water and Deep-Water Grouper

Based on the SEDAR 68 stock assessment and Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) recommendations, the Council is developing an amendment to the Reef Fish FMP that would modify scamp and yellowmouth grouper catch limits.  The amendment will also consider changes to the black grouper and yellowfin grouper catch levels based on recommendations from the Council’s SSC, with consideration of implications for the shallow water grouper complex in the IFQ program.  The Council requested the development of an amendment to the Reef Fish FMP that would modify the deep-water grouper catch limits based on the SEDAR 85 stock assessment and SSC recommendations.

Amendments 59 and 60 to the Reef Fish FMP 

In October 2023, the Council began work on Amendments 59 and 60 to the Reef Fish FMP.  Amendment 59 considers requirements for obtaining an IFQ account, holding shares and allocation, and obtaining shares and allocation.  Amendment 60 evaluates options for equitably distributing shares currently held by the Agency, as well as recovering and redistributing shares associated with inactive accounts.  Amendment 59 was discussed in detail at the January 2024 Council meeting and Amendment 60 was discussed at the April 2024 Council meeting to address the purpose, need, and list of potential actions.

For more information on Council motions and upcoming meetings, visit GulfCouncil.org


Catch Seizures

Any catch seized by law enforcement will be deducted from the allocation account of the vessel landing the fish and must be processed within the IFQ system.  In the event of a seizure by federal law enforcement officers or state officers acting in a federal capacity, fishers are free to challenge the seizure by following the process laid out in the Agency's procedural regulations found at 15 C.F.R. 904.  In the event of a seizure by state officers acting in their state capacities, fishers should look to their state law for guidance on how to challenge a seizure.



It is important to ensure consistent, accurate reporting of landings and ex-vessel prices in the various reporting systems (e.g. logbook, state trip ticket, and Catch Shares Online System) as data between the systems are compared.  IFQ landings require the reporting of actual ex-vessel price before any deductions are made for goods or services, including any deduction for having provided allocation.


Using the Catch Shares Online System

Accidental Allocation Transfers

When transferring allocation, please be sure to enter the UserID or Vessel Number in the search bar for the transferee and to confirm all other information before submitting in an effort to avoid transferring to an account/vessel with a similar name.  Allocation transfers are one-step processes and are completed upon submission.  NOAA Fisheries will not reverse an incorrect allocation transfer without the consent of both parties.  NOAA Fisheries encourages the parties to contact each other and make the corrections themselves. 

Account Login 

When resetting your PIN, the answers to your secret questions must be entered with the exact spelling and punctuation as used when you created them.  Please be sure there are no spaces at the end or beginning of your answers to your secret questions.  Extra spaces will not be visible and will cause problems for resetting PINS. 

Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS)

Electronic VMS Power Down Exemption Form 

To turn off (power down) your VMS unit, you must submit a VMS power-down exemption request.  This request has moved to an online form and a more simplified approval process.  The link to the form can be accessed at the Catch Share Online System (under Additional Information) as well as the below web address: 


This web address will take you to the page shown below, where you must click on the blue “Power Down Exemption” text:

Screenshot of the Power Down Exemption form
  • Power-down exemption requests must be a minimum duration of 72 hours from the reported “Turn Off Date & Time” and a maximum duration of one year
  • The unit cannot be powered down until you receive confirmation of the request.
  • If you wish to extend your power-down exemption, you can complete another power-down exemption request form online starting after the date in the “VMS’s to be Turned On” field of the previously accepted power-down exemption form. 
  • Submitting a commercial fishing declaration automatically ends your current power-down exemption, regardless of any date selected within the power-down exemption form.


For other assistance, contact the Southeast Regional Office VMS Customer Support line at (800) 758-4833.

Sign Up For Text Message Alerts - Find Out About Immediate Openings and Closures

NOAA's Text Message Alert Program allows you to receive important fishery-related alerts via text message (SMS).  Standard message & data rates may apply.  You may opt out at any time.


Text alerts you may receive include:

  • Immediate fishery openings and closures.
  • Any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly.


Sign up for one or more of the following groups:

  • Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFRECFISH to 888777
  • Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFCOMMFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLRECFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLCOMMFISH to 888777
  • Caribbean Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text CARIBFISH to 888777


Join us every other Friday on NOAA Fish Instagram for Rec Fish Friday!


Other contacts:

Media: Allison Garrett (727) 551-5750 


Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on July 02, 2024