Gulf Headboat Collaborative Revised Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) PERMIT NO.: I 3-SERO-02 Evaluation and Feasibility of an Alternative Allocation-Based Management Strategy

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This revised EFP is issued to the Gulf Headboat Collaborative (Collaborative) in accordance with procedures established at 50 CFR 600.745(b), and supersedes an EFP (13-SERO-Ol) issued August 26, 2013. The Collaborative consists of headboat owners/captains and their associated vessels (see attached Appendix 1). The EFP establishes a specific allocation of red snapper and gag, as calculated and described in the attached “Terms and Conditions” (Appendix 2), to be harvested during the fishing year by the Collaborative vessels. The EFP exempts the Collaborative’s listed vessels from regulations at 50 CFR § 622.34(b) and (e); recreational season closures for red snapper and gag. The exemption does not apply to 622.34(d), addressing the February-March shallow-water grouper closure offshore of 20 fathoms in the Gulf of Mexico. For gag, the EFP exempts the Collaborative’s participating vessels from regulations at 50 CFR § 622.8(b), which closes the recreational sector when the gag catch target is reached. NOAA Fisheries will account for the Collaborative’s allocation of gag in its projections of when the catch target will be met. However, this EFP does not exempt the Collaborative’s participating vessels from Section 407(d) (16 U.S.C. 1883) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Section 407(d) requires that ifNOAA Fisheries determines the Gulf of Mexico red snapper recreational quota has been met, harvest must be prohibited for the remainder ofthe fishing year, even if the Cooperative has allocation remaining. The EFP is valid for the period January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2015, when signed by both the Regional Administrator and the authorized representative of the Collaborative, and becomes effective on the later ofthe two signature dates. All vessels engaging in the activities authorized pursuant to this EFP must have a copy of this EFP onboard. As specified in 50 C.F.R. § 600.745(b)(9), failure to comply with any of the terms and conditions identified in the attached Appendix 2 may be grounds for revocation, suspension, or modification of the EFP with respect to all persons and vessels conducting activities under the EFP.

 

Appendix 1.

List of participating vessels in the Gulf of Mexico Headboat Collaborative Exempted Fishing Permit. Effective January 1, 2014. List modified December 5, 2013. Based on this list, 286,457 pounds whole weight (ww) ofthe 5.39 million pound ww red snapper recreational quota (5.3 146%) and 43,053 pounds gutted weight (gw) ofthe 1.5 19 mp gw gag recreational catch target (2.8343%) is allocated to the Collaborative. These weights translate to 55,527 individual red snapper, and 6,017 individual gag.

Vessel Name Owner/Operator Coast Guard Documentation
Captain John Johnny Williams, Galveston TX 1152450
La Pesca Paul Dirk and Rene Gabriel, Port Aransas, TX 526583
Scat Cat Bobby Grumbles, Port Aransas, TX 555458
New King Fisher Kelly Owens, Port Aransas, TX 601342
Gulf Winds II Randy and Susan Boggs, Orange Beach, AL 904277
Reel Surprise Randy and Susan Boggs, Orange Beach, AL 904088
Zeke's Lady Tom Steber, Orange Beach, AL 633522
Escape Frank Thierry, Jr., Dauphin Island, AL 1023378
Sweet Jody Cliff Cox, Destin, FL 649964
Destin Princess Kelly Windes, Destin, FL 1041055
Destiny Kelly Windes, Destin, FL 1138087
Fish N Xpress Bill and Cindy Little, Port St. Joe, FL 554082
Super Queen Eric Spaulding, Clearwater, FL 541178
Gulf Queen Eric Spaulding, Clearwater, FL 611950
Double Eagle II Chad Haggert, Clearwater, FL 522907
Double Eagle III Chad Haggert, Clearwater, FL 622650
Gulf Star Richard Castellano, Tarpon Springs, FL 1039798

 

 

Appendix 2.


Terms and Conditions
Gulf Headboat Collaborative
Revised Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP)
PERMIT NO.: 13-SERO-02
Evaluation and Feasibility of an Alternative Allocation-Based Management Strategy

A. PURPOSE.

The purpose of this exempted fishing permit (EFP) is to evaluate the viability of an allocationbased
management strategy that could potentially improve the conservation of the resource and
economic stability and performance of the headboat sector. Headboats participating in the study
will be allowed to fish for red snapper and gag grouper, based on quota allocation issued to
them through the Gulf Headboat Collaborative (Collaborative), outside the normal recreational
fishing seasons. The goals of the headboat pilot project are to:

1. Assess whether a cooperative program can achieve conservation and economic goals
more effectively than the existing management system.
2. Evaluate a new electronic data collection method and evaluate its effectiveness in
providing accurate, next to real-time catch and effort data.
3. Conduct a comparative socio-economic study between the existing headboat
industry, and the Collaborative before, during, and after the pilot project, to
determine the potential economic impacts of an alternative management method on
the headboat industry.

B. BACKGROUND.

The current management system for recreational fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico utilizes
traditional tools such as bag limits, size limits, and shortened seasons to remain within the
allowable annual catch levels, and to achieve the other goals and objectives outlined in the
fishery management plans. Lack of effective mechanisms to account for catches in a timely
manner has led to overages of the allowable catches, which has resulted in the imposition of
stricter controls to manage catches and to address the conservation implications from exceeding
catch limits. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council convened a Headboat Advisory
Panel (AP) to provide recommendations for alternative management strategies. After careful
deliberation, the AP concluded that an allocation-based management system would most
effectively address the challenges faced by the headboat industry because it would give
headboats the flexibility to operate throughout the year when their customers wanted to go
fishing.

In response to this recommendation, some members of the headboat industry developed a
proposal for a pilot study to examine the viability of an allocation-based program for its segment
of the recreational sector. By issuing this EFP, NOAA Fisheries authorizes a select group of
headboats to participate in such a pilot program to evaluate its potential as an industry-wide fisheries management solution. For purposes of this project, NOAA Fisheries establishes the
following terms and conditions, which specify how this program will be conducted.
 

C. INITIAL ISSUANCE OF ALLOCATION TO THE COLLABORATIVE

Beginning January 1, 2014, NOAA Fisheries will establish an apportionment of the red snapper
recreational quota and gag recreational catch target corresponding to the Collaborative
participants’ aggregate landings for each species during 2011, compared to total recreational
harvest of these two species during 2011. The allotment amount and participating vessels are
identified in Appendix 1. NOAA Fisheries will convert the apportioned pounds into a fixed
number of individual red snapper and gag using regionally-specific average weights of fish
sampled by the Southeast Headboat Survey. Average weights are based on average weights
from the prior season as adjusted for any increases in weight associated with stock rebuilding.
This allocation will be assigned to the Collaborative through the NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast
Regional Office’s Catch Share Program Web site as a shareholder account to be managed by the
Collaborative’s manager. The Collaborative will then be responsible for establishing individual
vessel accounts associated with this shareholder account, and for transferring allocation to those
individual vessel accounts based on decisions by the Collaborative on how to best allocate quota
amongst the participating vessels.


D. PERMIT CONDITIONS.

The Collaborative will hold a portion of the Collaborative’s total allotted catch in reserve to
guard against excessive harvest by one or more of its members. The Collaborative will ensure
each participant abides by all federal fishing regulations and specific requirements imposed by
NOAA Fisheries through these terms and conditions.

The Collaborative agrees that all harvest of red snapper and gag by Collaborative participants
will count against the harvests authorized by this EFP; no recreational fishing for these two
species may occur outside this EFP, even during normal open recreational fishing seasons.
The participating Collaborative vessels are expected to retain all legal-sized fish that appear to
be mortally injured (a minimum of 16 inches for red snapper and 22 inches for gag) caught by
anglers on their headboats as long as the vessel has not reached the bag limit for all fishers
aboard the vessel for those species (i.e., 2 red snapper and 2 gag per angler per day) and the
vessel’s assigned allocation has not been exceeded. Should a participating vessel’s harvest
during a specific trip exceed the allocation available in the vessel account, the participating
vessel captain or owner must acquire, through transfer, sufficient allocation into the vessel
account prior to submitting a landing notification.

The Collaborative participants must account for and collect data for each individual red snapper
and gag grouper caught aboard that participant’s vessel, and submit landings reports through the
Southeast Headboat Survey (or other electronic reporting applications approved by NOAA
Fisheries for use; see Section H, REPORTING REQUIRMENTS), as well as through the NOAA
Fisheries’ Southeast Regional Office’s Catch Share Program Web site.

When a participant has exhausted their assigned allocation in their vessel account, the
participating vessel must cease targeted fishing for red snapper and gag (regardless of whether
the general recreational season is otherwise open for those species), and may not retain red
snapper or gag during any trip targeting other species. No additional red snapper or gag shall be
retained until that participant acquires additional quota allocation from other Collaborative
members or from the Collaborative manager to take additional headboat trips to target or retain
red snapper or gag. Otherwise, for the remainder of that calendar year, the participant must
release any red snapper or gag caught incidentally in targeting other species, even if the red
snapper and/or gag recreational seasons are open.

Collaborative vessels are identified in Appendix 1. Vessels may not join or leave the program in
mid-year. Collaborative participants agree to fish within the EFP program for the entirety of the
fishing year. Any participant who withdraws from the EFP program within the fishing year
forgoes any further privilege to harvest or retain red snapper or gag for the remainder of the
fishing year, even if the regular recreational fishing season is open. At the end of 2014,
participants can choose to opt out of the pilot program and not participate for 2015. The
Collaborative is provided the flexibility to add new participants prior to the start of the 2015
fishing year. NOAA Fisheries would adjust the amount of the allocation for 2015 according to
the modified number of participants, based on the formulae described above.
NOAA Fisheries could terminate the EFP for all participants even if only a single participant is
responsible for violating the terms and conditions of the EFP (see 50 C.F.R. § 600.745(b)(9).
Each vessel shall carry on board and prominently display the EFP. The EFP must be presented
for inspection upon request of any authorized law enforcement officer.
A draft report summarizing the results of the EFP socio-economic study performed by
Collaborative partners shall be provided to NOAA Fisheries for review and comment. NOAA
Fisheries personnel will review the socio-economic study and determine if it is based on the best
available scientific information.

E. EFFECTIVE DATES.

This EFP is valid when signed by the NMFS Regional Administrator and the EFP holder
identified on the EFP (13 -SERO-02), and is effective January 1, 2014, through December 31,
2015.

F. EXEMPTIONS AND FISHING RESTRICTIONS.

This EFP is issued to the Gulf Headboat Collaborative (Collaborative) in accordance with
procedures established at 50 CFR 600.745(b). The EFP exempts the Collaborative’s listed
vessels (Appendix 1) from the following regulations:
1) Recreational season closures for red snapper and gag at 50 CFR § 622.34(b) and (e); and
2) Closure of the recreational sector when the gag catch target is reached at 50 CFR §
622.8(b); NOAA Fisheries will account for the Collaborative’s allocation of gag in its
projections of when the catch target will be met.

The exemption does not apply to 622.34(d), establishing the February-March shallow-water
grouper closure offshore of 20 fathoms in the Gulf of Mexico; participating vessels will be
restricted to fishing shoreward of the demarcated line representing the 20-fathom contour.
This EFP does not exempt the Collaborative’s participating vessels from Section 407(d) (16
U.S.C. 1883(d)) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act
(Magnuson-Stevens Act). Section 407(d) requires that ifNOAA Fisheries determines the Gulf
of Mexico red snapper recreational quota has been met, harvest must be prohibited for the
remainder of the fishing year. This will apply even if the Collaborative and its participating
members have allocation remaining.

G. MONITORING REQUIREMENTS.

Each participating vessel identified in Appendix 1 shall install, maintain, and operate a vessel
monitoring system (VMS) in accordance with all applicable reporting requirements of VMS
users, including notification to enforcement agents or state and federal port agents upon leaving
and returning to a pre-approved landing locations (“hail in/hail out”) and abide by any other
enforcement or dockside monitoring requirements implemented by the Collaborative or at the
request ofNOAA Fisheries.

To ensure 100% catch accountability and to enable a transparent monitoring system, the
Collaborative will adhere to strict protocols to track each fish caught and landed during a
headboat trip. As a participating captain is leaving the dock, he/she will “hail out’ using a VMS
device or by calling in. The captain will receive a confirmation number for that particular trip.
At least one hour prior to returning to the dock, the headboat captain will enter a landing
notification providing the vessel name, location of landing, time of landing, species and number
of fish caught using a VMS or by calling in. This will alert law enforcement and port agents to
the headboat’s return, and allow for a dockside intercept if deemed necessary by enforcement
and headboat port samplers.

H. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS AND DATA DISSEMENATION.

At the end of the trip, the captain will use the Southeast Headboat Survey (or other electronic
reporting applications approved by NOAA Fisheries for use) to report trip-specific landing and
fishing effort data. Reports must be submitted on the day of each trip and include the vessel
name, number of anglers, trip location, depth fished, number and species of fish retained and
released, fuel price and gallons used on the trip, number of crew, and other biological and socio
economic data required by this EFP.
The fishing activities carried out under the EFP, which are otherwise prohibited, are for the
purpose of collecting catch information. The EFP holder and all participating vessels agree to
the public release of aggregated information obtained as a result of activities conducted under
this permit.

I. SANCTIONS.

Failure of the vessel owner, operator, EFP holder, or any person to comply with the terms and
conditions of this permit, any notice issued under 50 CFR Part 600 any other applicable
provision of 50 CFR Parts 600 and 622, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or any other regulations promulgated thereunder, may be grounds for revocation, suspension, or modification of this
permit as well as civil or criminal penalties under the Magnuson-Stevens Act with respect to all
persons and vessels conducting activities under the EFP (50 CFR § 600.745(b)(9)).
All Collaborative participants identified in Appendix 1 for this exempted fishing project are
jointly and severally liable for exceeding the aggregate catch limits specified in this EFP.

J. WAIVER.

The EFP holder on his/her own behalf, and on behalf of all persons conducting activities
authorized by the permit under his/her direction, waives any and all claims against the United
States or the States, and its agents and employees, for any liability whatsoever for personal
injury, death, or damage to property directly or indirectly due to activities under this permit.