NOAA Fisheries requests your comments on a proposed rule for commercial and recreational mutton snapper and commercial gag management measures in the Gulf of Mexico. This proposed rule would specify mutton snapper annual catch limits for 2018-2020, decrease the recreational bag limit, and increase the recreational and commercial minimum size limit. This rule would also increase the commercial gag minimum size limit to provide for consistency between fisheries and state and federal waters within multiple regions. Comments are due by March 17, 2018.
Summary of Proposed Changes:
- The proposed rule would set lower annual catch limits for mutton snapper during 2018-2020: 134,424 pounds whole weight for 2018; 139,392 for 2019; and 143,694 for 2020 and subsequent fishing years. No annual catch target will be established.
- The proposed rule would decrease the mutton snapper recreational bag limit to 5 mutton snapper per angler per day within the 10-snapper aggregate bag limit.
- The proposed rule would increase the mutton snapper commercial and recreational minimum size limits to 18 inches total length.
- The proposed rule would increase the gag commercial minimum size limit to 24 inches total length.
The comment period is open now through March 17, 2018. You may submit comments by electronic submission or by postal mail. Comments sent by any other method (such as e-mail), to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries.
Formal Federal Register Name/Number: FR# 83 FR 6830, published February 15, 2018
Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
- Go to https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2017-0082
- Click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields.
- Enter or attach your comments.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why are the proposed changes needed?
- In 2015, a population assessment indicated mutton snapper are not experiencing overfishing (too many fish are being removed) and are not overfished (stock abundance is too low), but the adult population is smaller than previously estimated.
- Therefore, a reduction in mutton snapper harvest limits is necessary to ensure that overfishing does not occur.
- Additional mutton snapper recreational and commercial management measures were approved to aid in reduced harvest.
- Changes in mutton snapper management measures allow for consistency within the fishery sectors within federal and state waters.
- Changes in commercial gag management measures also allow for consistency between fishery sectors within federal and state waters and across regions.
Where can I find more information on the Mutton Snapper and Gag Management Measures Framework?
- Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
By Mail: Rich Malinowski
NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505
By FAX: (727) 824-5308
By Phone: (727) 824-5305
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