TAB B, No. 2
1 GULF OF MEXICO FISHERY MANAGEMENT COUNCIL
3 REEF FISH MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
5 The Beau Rivage Biloxi, Mississippi
7 OCTOBER 29-30, 2007
9 October 29, 2007
11 VOTING MEMBERS
12 Vernon Minton.............................................Alabama
13 Roy Crabtree..................NMFS, SERO, St. Petersburg, Florida
14 Robert Gill...............................................Florida
15 Julie Morris..............................................Florida
16 William Teehan (designee for Ken Haddad)..................Florida
17 Bobbi Walker..............................................Alabama
19 NON-VOTING MEMBERS
20 Columbus Brown............................U.S. Fish and Wildlife
21 Bill Daughdrill...........................................Florida
22 Karen Foote.............................................Louisiana
23 Joe Hendrix.................................................Texas
24 Tom McIlwain..........................................Mississippi
25 Harlon Pearce...........................................Louisiana
26 William Perret (designee for William Walker)..........Mississippi
27 Michael Ray.................................................Texas
28 Robin Riechers (designee for Larry McKinney)................Texas
29 Bob Shipp.................................................Alabama
30 Susan Villere...........................................Louisiana
31 Kay Williams..........................................Mississippi
34 Steven Atran..................................Fisheries Biologist
35 Janet Bernard...........................................Secretary
36 Assane Diagne...........................................Economist
37 Trish Kennedy............................Administrative Assistant
38 Stu Kennedy...................................Fisheries Biologist
39 Rick Leard..............................Deputy Executive Director
40 Michael McLemore.............................NOAA General Counsel
41 Charlene Ponce.........................Public Information Officer
42 Wayne Swingle..................................Executive Director
43 Amanda Thomas......................................Court Reporter
45 OTHER PARTICIPANTS
46 Dave Allison...............................................Oceana
47 Pam Baker...................................Environmental Defense
48 Buffy Baumann..............................Oceana, Washington, DC
2 Lt. Cliff Beard......... 8th Coast Guard District, New Orleans, LA
3 Glen Brooks...............................................GFA, FL
4 Felicia Coleman...............................................FSU
5 Marianne Cufone....................................GRN, Tampa, FL
6 David Cupka.................................................SAFMC
7 Ken Daniels............................................Ruskin, FL
8 Andy David..................................................SEFSC
9 Dale Diaz..............................................Biloxi, MS
10 Wes Erickson.....................................British Columbia
11 Libby Fetherston............Ocean Conservancy, St. Petersburg, FL
12 Chris Gledhill..............................................SEFSC
13 John Greene............................................Daphne, AL
14 Tom Jamir..............................................NOAA SEFSC
15 Chris Koenig..................................................FSU
16 John Koolman.....................................British Columbia
17 Vishwanie Maharaj...............Environmental Defense, Austin, TX
18 Jim Nance....................................................NMFS
19 Russell Nelson............................................CCA, FL
20 Bart Niquet.......................................Panama City, FL
21 Dennis O’Hern.............................FRA, St. Petersburg, FL
22 Joe Powers...................................................NOAA
23 Tracy Redding.................................Bon Secour, Alabama
24 Darden Rice....................................St. Petersburg, FL
25 Hal Robbins..............................................NOAA OLE
26 Bob Spaeth..............Southern Offshore Fishing Association, FL
27 Phil Steele........................................NOAA Fisheries
28 Andy Strelcheck..............................................NMFS
29 Bill Tucker...........................................Dunedin, FL
30 Carl Walters..................................................UBC
31 Donald Waters.......................................Pensacola, Fl
32 Wayne Werner..........................................Alachua, FL
33 Bob Zales, II, .....Panama City Boatmen’s Assoc., Panama City, FL
35 - - -
37 The Reef Fish Management Committee of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery
38 Management Council convened in the Camellia Ballroom of the Beau
39 Rivage, Biloxi, Mississippi, Monday afternoon, October 29, 2007,
40 and was called to order at 1:00 o’clock p.m. by Chairman Vernon
43 CHAIRMAN VERNON MINTON: Let’s get the Reef Fish Committee to
44 the table, please. I believe we’ve got everybody here today.
45 Before we get started, Wayne has an announcement for us.
47 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WAYNE SWINGLE: I would like to suggest that
48 the committee take a moment of silence for Lela Gray’s father,
1 who is in a hospital on a life support machine. Lela, for those
2 of you in the audience who don’t know her, has been one of our
3 secretaries for the last four or five years.
5 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you, Wayne.
7 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SWINGLE: Can I make one other housecleaning
10 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Certainly, go ahead.
12 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SWINGLE: I guess Cathy Readinger is ill in
13 bed, at the recommendation of her physician, and so we have
14 decided to reschedule the Budget Committee at the January
15 meeting and that would mean that we would use that hour of time
16 for the Joint Reef Fish/Mackerel/Red Drum Committee and that
17 would have the effect of moving the Data Collection Committee to
18 a one hour later start time. That’s all on Tuesday afternoon.
20 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you, Wayne. I guess the first thing is
21 we’ve got some new members here, Ms. Kay Williams, a new member
22 back again. Welcome. You can’t make any motions today, just
23 remember that, and a very new member, Mike Ray. Mike, welcome
24 aboard and good luck.
26 MR. MICHAEL RAY: Thank you, Vernon.
28 ADOPTION OF AGENDA
30 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Folks, we have a suggested revised agenda, if
31 you’ll turn to Tab B, Number 1. If you’ll look that over for
32 just a second and see if there’s any revisions or changes that
33 you would like to make.
35 MR. BOB GILL: A question, Mr. Chairman. It looks like under
36 the revised agenda the four hours of work that’s listed there,
37 to my mind, it seems problematic to get through. What is the
38 plan if we do not?
40 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We roll it. We’ll do the best we can in
41 either case. If we happen to get lucky and move forward a
42 little bit, we’ll take some of the items for tomorrow, unless
43 they’re real lengthy. Otherwise, we’ll go as long as we can and
44 then we’ll adjourn and start off first thing in the morning.
46 MR. STEVEN ATRAN: Just to the point about rolling things over,
47 I just wanted to point out that the last item of business
48 scheduled for today is the Ecosystem Modeling Presentation by
1 Carl Walters and I believe he’s only going to be here for today.
3 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Where is Carl at? Carl, are you going to be
4 okay with where we’re set up now on the agenda? Steve had --
6 DR. CARL WALTERS: If you had an opening earlier, I would
7 appreciate it.
9 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you. Is there a motion to adopt the
10 agenda then?
12 MS. BOBBI WALKER: So moved.
14 CHAIRMAN MINTON: It’s moved by Ms. Walker and seconded. We’ve
15 got a motion on the floor to accept, but it hasn’t been voted
18 DR. ROY CRABTREE: If I could, Mr. Chairman, under Other
19 Business, I would like to have a discussion of the recreational
20 red snapper landings estimates through Wave 4 and issues related
21 to the recreational quota and overruns for this year.
23 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Any objection? We’ll slip that under Other
24 Business then. Anything else? Any objection to adoption as
25 amended? Hearing none, so ordered. That then brings us to
26 British Columbia.
28 MR. ATRAN: We have Approval of Minutes.
30 APPROVAL OF MINUTES
32 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We haven’t done the minutes yet. I’m sorry.
33 I’m trying to get to British Columbia in a hurry. On Tab B-2,
34 we have the minutes for your review. Are there any additions,
35 changes, corrections?
37 MR. GILL: I’ll find it in a minute, but there’s a correction
38 and it was way the heck down here. Let me find it and I’ll get
39 right back to you, but there is a correction that needs to be
42 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We’ll take a second. Go ahead. Can you find
43 it, Bob? Tell you what, let’s just hold on this vote while
44 you’re looking for it and we’ll get started with the
45 presentation and when that’s over, we’ll come back and we’ll
46 actually approve the minutes. Is that okay with you? Is that
47 okay with the other members? Okay, thank you.
1 Now we have two guests here today, Mr. Wes Erickson and John
2 Koolman from British Columbia. They’re going to be talking
3 about their IFQ program and I haven’t met you and so -- Which
4 one are you? I’m sorry.
6 MR. WES ERICKSON: I’m Wes Erickson.
8 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Wes, okay. The next guy must be John. Wes,
9 thank you for coming down. We really appreciate it and look
10 forward to your presentation and you have the stage.
12 BRITISH COLUMBIA IFQ PROGRAM
14 MR. ERICKSON: Thanks for having me and I just want to mention
15 right off the bat that I’m a commercial fisherman and I’m not a
16 presenter and so you’ll have to forgive me for my nervousness or
17 any mistakes I might make along the way.
19 I want to thank the Gulf Fishermen’s Association for inviting
20 John and myself down and I want to thank Environmental Defense
21 for helping to facilitate our coming down to speak to fishermen.
22 This was a fishermen’s initiative, like it usually is in
23 individual quota systems, and I’m pleased to see that they’re
24 looking into other fisheries.
26 I’m an active commercial fisherman. My last day of commercial
27 fishing was on September 13 of this year, 2007. I’m going to
28 tell you what it was like prior to quotas and what happened and
29 what it’s like now.
31 I’m not very familiar with the fishery here in the Gulf. I’ve
32 read about the various problems and proposals, but I know
33 reading about it is one thing and actually living it is another
34 thing. It will be up to you to draw your own comparisons and
35 take what you want out of this presentation and leave the rest.
36 I’m certainly not here to tell anybody how to manage their
39 Just off the bat, that’s a Pacific halibut. That’s a
40 particularly big one we caught this year. That’s me and my son
41 standing there. We’re primarily a longline fishery and we
42 encounter various species when we’re longlining. This is the
43 coastline we fish on. We fish from the Washington border right
44 up to the Alaska border.
46 What it was like in 1990, we had six days of fishing. There was
47 435 vessels that participated in the fishery and several million
48 pounds of halibut were landed at once, a small amount of fresh
1 and the majority was frozen, because of the volume.
3 We had poor quality and very low prices. Buyers controlled the
4 price, just because of the sheer volume that came in. There was
5 only two or three buyers that had the infrastructure to handle
6 that kind of volume.
8 Our non-target species were discarded, because we all thought we
9 were going to fill up on halibut during an opening and we didn’t
10 want to take a chance and keep species other than halibut and so
11 we tossed them over the side.
13 We had fishermen lost at sea because of the competitive nature
14 of commercial fishing. You go out in just about any weather.
15 In 1987, we lost seven vessels and several fishermen, a few of
16 which were my friends. We lost gear because of the competitive
17 nature and that gear continued to ghost fish.
19 There was lots of low-paying, short-term jobs. You can imagine
20 they would be short-term in six days. We would under harvest
21 and we would over harvest on some openings. Aquaculture was
22 actively developing a farmed halibut industry to fill the
23 marketplace with fresh fish when we weren’t fishing, which, as
24 you can imagine, was many days out of the year.
26 Our main motivator was safety. This is a great slide, because
27 it shows the mentality we had. This vessel is actually sinking
28 and you can see the fishermen still trying to hold the fish
29 onboard the boat as it’s going down. That could have been me.
31 Marketing was a main concern. We had no control over price. We
32 just all ran into the buyers and dumped our fish off as quick as
33 possible, for whatever price they paid us. Conservation, of
34 course, was a concern, because we were discarding non-target
37 We considered many options. One was do nothing and one was gear
38 restrictions and another one was catch restrictions, time and
39 area restrictions, government-funded buyback programs, and
40 individual quota program. We decided to study an individual
41 quota program.
43 As you can imagine, there was a lot of resistance to this. The
44 biggest resistance was the allocation formula. No one felt they
45 got allocated enough in an individual quota and as the formula
46 changed, as my father likes to say, it just shifted the smiles
47 around the room as you changed the formula.
1 Corporate concentration was a concern. It would devastate
2 coastal communities and that was a concern. Privatization of a
3 public resource was thrown out there, that doctors, lawyers and
4 environmental groups would purchase all the quota, and why
5 should we change? Why not let the sport sector change or the
6 native sector? Why should we be the first ones to change? We
7 thought that our behavior should be conditional on someone
8 else’s behavior.
10 I’m going to tell you about what it’s like now. We actually
11 took a vote and we went to quotas and now we’re always within
12 the TAC. In fact, I don’t think we’ve ever been over the TAC.
13 We always come in just under it. Our catch is now landed over
14 nine months and it’s primarily a fresh market.
16 Our quality has improved substantially. Our trips, which used
17 to be long, are now two to five days long and we’re getting
18 record prices. We’ve removed competition amongst fishermen and
19 now that the competition is gone, we are concentrating on
20 maximizing our return on the fish we have and getting the
21 fishermen individually trying to get the most money for our fish
22 and that leads right into buyer and seller independence.
24 We have choice now. There’s a lot more smaller buyers in the
25 markets and we have the option of marketing our own fish
28 One of the down sides is it is difficult for new entrants into
29 the fishery. It’s very expensive. You must own a license prior
30 to purchasing quota and you must own a vessel to put that
31 license on.
33 The initial cost to fishermen, before you actually go out
34 fishing, because we fund part of the management, it costs me
35 personally about $8,000 to leave the dock every year before I
36 land one fish, but the money I get for my fish now, compared to
37 before, far outweighs that initial cost.
39 We have a dockside monitoring program, which tags each fish
40 individually. That’s led to a decreased number of violations,
41 because if you see a halibut in British Columbia that doesn’t
42 have one of these tags on the tail, that’s an illegal fish.
43 These tags are sequentially numbered and can be tracked back to
44 the fisherman and the vessel and the plant and the time it was
45 caught. It has also helped considerably in marketing our fish.
47 Individual accountability has led to individual responsibility.
48 We found in the old system that collective responsibility did
1 not work at all, because we had what we called the dirty dozen
2 in our fishery.
4 A small number of participants made the entire fishery look very
5 bad. That’s not possible anymore, because if you want to be
6 irresponsible, you’re individually accountable for your
7 irresponsible behavior.
9 What’s happened is those irresponsible individuals have either
10 cleaned up their act or exited the fishery. For the most part,
11 they exited the fishery and went to other fisheries that were
12 non-quota, so they could continue behaving irresponsibly.
14 The aquaculture industry halted development and that was huge,
15 because I’ll tell you in a minute what happened to our salmon
18 Improved safety, that’s a big one. Now it’s our choice to go
19 out in bad weather. If you want to be foolish and go fish bad
20 weather, fill your boots. There’s less than half the pre-IFQ
21 participants. I mentioned before there was 435, but we’ve
22 leveled off at about 200 to 220 participants and it’s been that
23 way for about six years now and so it’s kind of found its place
24 in the market.
26 We have the ability now to lease quota from other fishermen.
27 That can be a positive or a negative. It’s controversial to
28 think of fishermen sitting at home and leasing quota out, but
29 then there’s fishermen out there fishing, and I’m one of them,
30 who actually like to lease quota.
32 If I’m out there fishing already and I’ve got bait left over and
33 I want to keep going a couple of extra days and make a little
34 bit more money, I can lease some fish. I don’t have to release
35 that fish and that fish would then be subject to a mortality on
38 I now have the ability to retain previously discarded species.
39 This year, I kept all my skate, which was a species I never
40 would have kept before, and it paid for my fuel and my food.
41 There’s less jobs, but they’re better jobs. I took the same
42 crew that my brother took this year. The crew makes more money,
43 but there’s less jobs for the crew. You wouldn’t even call them
44 jobs before anyway. In six days in a 365-day year, you couldn’t
45 call that a job.
47 The quota is all owned by commercial fishermen, as far as I
48 know. The doctors, lawyers and environmental groups have not
1 stepped in and purchased all the quota. Fishermen now co-manage
2 and jointly fund the fishery.
4 Under a quota system, we’ve been able to fund the fishery and as
5 a result, we’ve got a say in how the fishery is managed and
6 we’re now in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and
7 Oceans, unlike before, where we would just go head to head on
8 any issue and we had a very volatile relationship with our
9 managers prior to an individual quota system.
11 It allows for fishermen to contribute funding towards research.
12 Our government did not have enough money to do a stock
13 assessment on inshore rockfish and therefore, with lowering the
14 total allowable catch, the fishermen took the bull by the horns
15 and self-taxed ourselves and now we fund rockfish research, in
16 order to eventually get the total allowable catch up to where we
17 think it should be.
19 We’re about to receive Marine Stewardship Certification. That
20 means we will have the ability to export into Europe now and
21 when Alaska got MSC Certification, the price of their fish
22 jumped immediately up between fifty and eighty cents a pound.
24 On Marine Stewardship Certification, this is the first time that
25 I’m aware of that the environmental community is behind a
26 commercial fishing organization in advocating a Marine
27 Stewardship Certification and we’re going for unconditional
28 certification, which is very rare.
30 I’m going to quickly tell you about what happened in our salmon
31 fishery. Some of you may have heard about the salmon fishery in
32 the Pacific Northwest. It was once a great fishery. It did
33 everything but go to an IQ. The people in place in the salmon
34 fishery, the managers that were in place, were philosophically
35 opposed to an individual quota system and so we tried everything
38 We tried a government-funded buyback program. It was going to
39 retire half of the effort and so it bought up half the licenses
40 and what it did was it retired the dormant licenses and it
41 bought up the low producers.
43 It bought up about half the licenses, but it only represented
44 about 15 percent of the effort. It was a considerable waste of
45 money, $400 million, and what happened was the fishermen just
46 got more competitive. Time and area restrictions, area
47 licensing, bycatch reduction incentives, retraining programs,
48 fishermen would take hairdressing courses and get paid to do it
1 and then go right back fishing.
3 Government-issued colored pamphlets and videos, I could fill a
4 room with that kind of stuff that was going to make me a better,
5 more responsible fisherman. I just threw it in a room and
6 eventually threw it out.
8 Every one of these government initiatives made the fleet more
9 lean and mean and competitive, exactly the opposite thing it was
10 supposed to do. It created a culture of dependence and
11 entitlement. This is the first year ever in history that the
12 salmon fishery that the Fraser River, which is one of the
13 greatest rivers in the world, never opened.
15 Everybody is waiting for the government to help out. Now that
16 we’ve had government help once, everybody is waiting for that
17 government help again. What was once a great fishery is now an
18 occasional part-time job. Salmon aquaculture is now firmly
19 established on our coastline and in our marketplace and every
20 downturn in the commercial salmon fishery led to an increase in
21 the sport sector. Nature does not like a vacuum.
23 What I would do differently if I was going to set up an
24 individual quota program again is I would set up a loan program
25 for displaced skippers, crew, and new entrants. I would be more
26 inclusive in the initial allocation and I would study other
27 quota systems prior to implementing one.
29 We didn’t have that opportunity, because it was sixteen years
30 ago and we were one of the first jurisdictions in North America
31 to do this, but it’s what you guys are doing right now and it’s
32 heartening to see that.
34 Leadership is and was important in us getting to where we are
35 today. We could not have achieved this level of fisheries
36 management without leadership from industry, government, and the
37 public. It was important for us to identify and support our
38 leaders in moving towards an individual quota system.
40 Due to the competitive nature of a commercial fishery, a delay
41 would have put fishermen’s lives at risk, because we would have
42 gone out and fished any weather. Every year that goes by leads
43 to a more competitive commercial fishery and commercial fishing
44 environment and we’ll go out in just about any weather and for
45 us to delay one more year could have meant loss of lives.
47 On that, I’m going to pass it over to my colleague, John
48 Koolman, who is going to continue on from where I left off.
1 Thank you all for your time.
3 MR. JOHN KOOLMAN: Good afternoon. I also am a commercial
4 fisherman and not a presenter and so bear with me. The first
5 quota fishery started in 1990 and it started out as a two-year
6 program and within that program, we weren’t allowed to transfer
7 any fish. You could only fish what your initial allocation
8 would be and then it evolved into transferring blocks, where you
9 can split your quota in half and move that off to another
10 license, if you wanted to.
12 That only dealt with the directed species. In trying to come to
13 grips with bycatch, they tried combining the halibut quota
14 fishery with a monthly trip limit fishery to try and get a
15 handle on the bycatch. It worked to some degree, but really and
16 truly, not very well.
18 The four other fisheries in groundfish were on trip limits or
19 monthly limits and those fisheries lasted anywhere from a matter
20 of weeks to a couple of months before all their quota was
21 caught, but then those fisheries -- The big problem was the
22 discards, trying to get a handle on it, and also, you couldn’t
23 verify the logbook catch data. What one fleet was catching,
24 another one was discarding. They were all single species
27 The management areas that they were controlled under were
28 different. They only had records of landed catch and the TAC
29 was being reduced because of the unknown discards.
31 The fishermen as a group were really getting tired of the
32 discards, but the way the regulations were, there was no way to
33 deal with it, other than to dump it and so there was a lot of
34 pressure from fishermen and other groups to change this and that
35 process started in 2003, where a committee was formed to try and
36 come to grips with that.
38 This committee was formed of two license holders from each
39 sector, plus an alternate. At the end of three years, the
40 proposal that came out of that was that we would maintain the
41 six licenses that we had.
43 Nobody from industry wanted to go as far as tearing the license
44 system apart that we had and reallocating the fish and spreading
45 it out amongst the fishermen. The four remaining fisheries had
46 to go to quota. We had to have 100 percent monitoring for the
47 catch and the landings.
1 We would allow temporary transfers between sectors with willing
2 participants, meaning that if you had quota on a license, you
3 had the choice of whether you could fish it, you could leave it
4 in the water, you could transfer it. It was up to you as to
5 what you did with it.
7 It was mandatory that rockfish be retained. With rockfish,
8 there’s 100 percent mortality attached to those fish and it’s a
9 species of concern and it had to be delivered. The other
10 species, if you chose to discard them, you had to pay a
11 mortality rate that was associated with each species and it was
12 just deducted from your quota holdings.
14 The species that we were dealing with, there was seventy-seven
15 species that had to be recorded in the logbook. There were
16 sixteen of those that had annual TACs and if you caught it, you
17 had to have quota to account for it, because there was nineteen
18 other non-quota species that were going to be on trip limits
19 that varied from one sector to the other.
21 There was forty-two others that we didn’t encounter very many of
22 them, but we still had to record them in the logbook, but there
23 was no consequences attached to discarding them. We have
24 standardized the management areas into the coast for all the
25 fisheries and that’s what it looks like now.
27 We have six different sectors that are trying to fish within
28 those areas. You can’t see it very well, but those are some of
29 our rockfish species. At first glance, they sort of all look
30 the same and a lot of fishermen felt that too, that because they
31 were discarding them they -- Some of them really didn’t know one
32 from the other and that was part of the learning curve.
34 In this system, we couldn’t just allow unlimited bycatch. There
35 had to be some caps in place that controlled it, because there
36 just wasn’t enough to go around and we called them vessel caps.
38 At the start of the season, on all of the fisheries except
39 halibut, you could preload or arrange for your quota before the
40 season started, up to the vessel caps. In the halibut fishery,
41 that didn’t work. If everybody maxed out their vessel caps,
42 again, there wasn’t enough fish to go around. You could put
43 your non-directed catch onto your license, but in blocks of it
44 varied anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 pounds, depending on the
47 If you went over your vessel caps, you were stopped from
48 fishing. You weren’t allowed to go out anymore until you
1 cleaned it up and acquired the quota to cover the overage and
2 then for the rest of the season, you weren’t allowed to catch
3 that species anymore and how you did that was your problem. It
4 was not allowed.
6 At the end of the season, if you had put more quota onto the
7 license than what you had caught, there was a provision there to
8 carry it into the next year and again, this varied between
9 sectors and between species. It was anywhere from 10 percent to
10 30 percent that could be carried over from one year to the next.
12 If you actually caught more quota than what you held, again, you
13 could clean it up in that year or if you didn’t, it was taken
14 off the next year. If you went over the over, you had to pay
15 double, whatever the overage was, in order to clean it up and be
16 able to go fishing again.
18 We’ve been working on this plan for three years to put it
19 together and still, when it was implemented in 2006, fishermen
20 couldn’t believe that we were actually going to go to this.
21 There was all kinds of concerns of actually being able to catch
22 their directed catch, the cost of obtaining and leasing, the
23 cost of monitoring, and where would they find the quota?
25 It’s hard to tell what percentage of fishermen were actually
26 totally against this program, but it was a small number, but
27 they put up a lot of resistance and even the ones that were in
28 favor of integrating these licenses were nervous about whether
29 it would work or not.
31 The new logbooks were way more detailed than anything we had
32 done before and the set locations and the times and the species
33 that you caught and discarded and cut up for bait, everything
34 was listed.
36 Everything that happened on the boat that you caught had to be
37 listed there and the big challenge for the fishermen at this
38 point was to develop a method for counting these fish, because
39 at the end of the trip, whatever was written in the logbook had
40 to match the pieces that came off the boat when you delivered,
41 as well as what the electronic monitoring equipment was
42 indicating that you had caught.
44 It was a challenge, because in the past, the logbooks were more
45 a matter of estimating catch and actually, the logbooks were
46 more an indication of what you could make fit for what you were
47 landing on a particular trip. The two didn’t necessarily go
2 Electronic equipment for monitoring, there was a lot of nervous
3 around it as to how reliable it was going to be, because part of
4 the rules stated that if the monitoring equipment stopped
5 working that you had to come in. You were allowed to haul your
6 gear, but the trip was over. That part of it didn’t end up to
7 be very much of a problem.
9 The validation, dockside validation, had to change, because now
10 we were counting pieces as well as weight. It took a little bit
11 longer and it was part of the evolution.
13 The audit reports on the monitoring, within seven days of
14 landing, you got a report back on how well you had filled out
15 your logbook. There was a comparison between the logbook and
16 what you had actually landed and after the catch video was
17 reviewed, there was a report on how well your discards in the
18 logbook matched up with what the video equipment had seen.
20 Fishermen had a lot of trouble understanding the reports to
21 start with and there was disbelief from the fishermen that they
22 could be that far out on their piece counts, because for the
23 most part, they thought they were trying.
25 The cons on this program was the monitoring costs. There was a
26 lot of unknowns at the beginning of this process as to what
27 these costs were actually going to be and as of today, for my
28 trips, the costs on the monitoring is around $200 a day, or
29 twelve cents a pound, is the cost, which is a little bit higher
30 than what our estimates were at the time, but that’s what it is.
32 The costs of acquiring quota, there was a lot of fear with this,
33 because the fear was what we call armchair-fishermen, the
34 fishermen that don’t really want to go fishing anymore, but they
35 lease our their quota and they lease it for as much as they can
38 On average, it works out to about 12 percent of the landed
39 value, for the majority of the species. For halibut, it’s up
40 around 75 percent of the landed value and for sablefish, it’s
41 about half.
43 The increased paperwork, there’s a more detailed logbook and the
44 quota transfers, the audit reports. This was all new to the
45 fishermen and it all had to be dealt with. When the initial
46 quotas were attached to the licenses, they were spread over the
47 seven areas that the coast was divided into. The fishermen had
48 to learn how to trade their fish around to get the fish into an
1 area where they wanted to fish.
3 The fishermen were more responsible for the logbook accuracy.
4 In order to get the monitoring costs down, we had to put the
5 onus on the fishermen to keep an accurate logbook. There was
6 another option, and it’s still available to fishermen, of they
7 can take an observer, but the cost there is $450 a day, compared
8 to the $200 if he does it himself.
10 Having to count the fish slows down the operation on the deck
11 and so the high producers were complaining that it was slowing
12 things down too much and that they weren’t getting the
13 production that they were hoping to get. By learning to count
14 the fish better, I think for the most part that problem has
15 probably gone away, but anyway --
17 For the first time, we have individual accountability for the
18 catch. Everybody is responsible for themselves and it allows
19 for flexibility for individual fishermen.
21 The way it was in the past, two or three openings would happen
22 all on the same day and you had to make a decision as to what
23 you wanted to fish and if -- You made a decision that you were
24 going to fish for lingcod, but by the time you got that done,
25 then rockfish or one of the other fisheries would have been done
26 and finished and you didn’t get an opportunity to participate
27 there. You had a choice, one of two or three.
29 By going to the quotas, the fishermen now are participating in
30 all the fisheries, if they have a will. By combining one or two
31 of the fisheries into one, it makes for a more economic fishery.
32 You’ve got better catch information and TACs are never exceeded
33 and that includes the landed and the discards and you got
34 accounted for all the catch.
36 We’re a year-and-a-half through this three-year pilot and it’s
37 still evolving and it’s still changing. We’re tweaking the
38 rules as we go and so it’s becoming more and more streamlined.
39 Fishermen are learning how to deal with the program and they’re
40 still making money, some more than before the program.
42 There’s still a handful that don’t want it to change and they’re
43 still fighting this whole program, but on the whole, it appears
44 to be working. That’s it and thank you.
46 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you both very much for coming down here.
47 If you both would come back up to the mic, I think we have some
48 questions and we’re going to take some of those. It’s my
1 understanding that both of you will be here this afternoon or
2 this evening, after this session is over with, and so we’ll get
3 some individual questions, but I know there’s some folks that
4 really would like to ask a few questions. We’re going to
5 entertain a few, but we can’t get to everybody, but do come back
6 this afternoon. With that, are there questions?
8 MS. WALKER: Can you tell me what percent of the commercial
9 halibut quota is exported?
11 MR. ERICKSON: I’m guessing about 90 percent and it’s all
12 exported down here.
14 MS. WALKER: In our fisheries, especially our snapper and
15 grouper fishery, they’re domestically sold, here in the United
16 States, and we, of course, can’t, unfortunately, control the low
17 cost of imports and our TACs aren’t really large enough for us
18 to export fish either. How would these circumstances compare
19 with yours economically?
21 MR. KOOLMAN: In our lingcod fishery and live rockfish fishery,
22 they are domestic markets, local markets. The problem they
23 faced before was that it -- The lingcod fishery at one time
24 lasted three weeks. They were trying to land I don’t know how
25 many hundreds of thousands of pounds in that three-week period
26 and the local markets just couldn’t accept it.
28 Now, it’s a nine-month fishery. The local markets have expanded
29 because it’s almost year-round. The price has gone from -- Two
30 years ago, before integration, live lingcod were selling for a
31 dollar or a dollar-and-a-half and now it’s at $2.60. The
32 rockfish market has gone from around a $5.00 average on the cost
33 for the price to around $11.00 a pound.
35 MS. WALKER: Do you have imports of these live lingcod and
36 rockfish that your fishermen are having to compete with?
38 MR. ERICKSON: We have. Absolutely we have substitutes, like
39 tilapia, the same thing I’ve seen in the markets here, catfish,
40 all that stuff. We’ve got whitefish substitutes for our
43 What happened when we went to an individual quota system and
44 improved our quality was what was once a fish-and-chip fish
45 became a white-tablecloth fish. Prior to that, it was probably
46 70 percent exported and the rest was used domestically. We
47 became a sought-after product and more export oriented and
48 therefore, getting a far higher price to the commercial
3 MS. WALKER: Okay, but you didn’t have those same species like
4 we do with red snapper to compete with.
6 MR. ERICKSON: Actually, we did. We had all those species. The
7 same fish I’m seeing in the supermarket here, the same red
8 snapper we got --
10 MS. WALKER: I’m sorry, but you misunderstood my question. Live
11 lingcod and rockfish, did you have imports of those with your
12 domestic fishery? I see one of the gentlemen shaking his head
15 The other thing I was interested in was when I read this paper,
16 it said that only 80 percent of the allowable TAC was allocated
17 to the fishermen and 20 percent went to a non-profit groundfish
18 development authority. Can you tell us a little about that?
20 MR. ERICKSON: That’s in the trawl fishery. That’s not ours.
22 MR. KOOLMAN: Except for one fishery, the dogfish shark fishery,
23 had a similar plan, but it was one of seven.
25 MS. WALKER: I have just two more questions. One, the picture
26 that you showed of the boat that was sinking, I find that very
27 hard to believe that anyone is going to be out there worried
28 about fish when the boat is sinking. Who took the picture and
29 was that possibly just a rogue wave that hit that vessel?
31 MR. ERICKSON: On the slide, you can see there was $10,000 worth
32 of catch that had to be thrown overboard in order to save that
33 vessel. That was a true photograph. It’s from the Sea Grant
34 Program and it’s documented.
36 MS. WALKER: Sea Grant was there taking the pictures then?
38 MR. ERICKSON: No, the skipper took the picture, but it’s a book
39 put out by Sea Grant.
41 MS. WALKER: I have one last question. Do you have to lease the
42 shares before you harvest? In other words, when you go out
43 there if you run up on fish and you catch 2,000 pounds, can you
44 easily find the shares or the coupons to be able to buy them
45 before you land them?
47 MR. KOOLMAN: I apologize that I missed that. I actually was
48 going to speak on it. You don’t have to -- On your directed
1 species, you have to have at least one pound of that species on
2 your license to be able to go fishing. As far as a non-directed
3 catch, as long as you’re not in a deficit situation, like you
4 haven’t already caught more than what you have on your license,
5 you can go fishing.
7 If you go out and you make a trip and you come back in and
8 you’re over your quota holdings, you have one trip to make it
9 up. You can go back out fishing again, but by the time you land
10 the second trip, you had to have cleaned up the first one.
11 Otherwise, you’re stopped.
13 MR. CORKY PERRET: Thank you, gentlemen, for being here. Mr.
14 Erickson, if I may -- Both of you did a very fine job, whether
15 you were nervous or not. It was very informative. One of the
16 bullets that you had was buyers control the price and then after
17 your system was implemented, you had a bullet of buyer
20 Well, we all know that in fishing and agriculture that products
21 are dumped because the harvesters are complaining about the low
22 prices. Other than more smaller independent buyers after
23 implementation of your program, how do you get away from buyers
24 controlling price?
26 MR. ERICKSON: I guess to some degree, buyers still do control
27 the price, but we work with the buyers now and we time when we
28 go out. It’s nine months now as opposed to six days. The buyer
29 will tell us to wait a week or Thanksgiving is coming up and we
30 choose not to fish.
32 Myself too, I sell directly to some restaurants. I take some
33 3,000 pounds at a time, sometimes, and sell directly to the
34 public after purchasing a fish vending license for a couple of
35 dollars a pound more. There’s lots of ways to get a higher
36 price for your fish.
38 I bring some halibut in live now and sell it to the Chinese
39 market and get a premium price for that. A rockfish dead is
40 worth about $2.00 a pound. If I can bring it in live and take
41 good care of it, it’s worth $11.00 a pound. It’s given us a lot
42 of choice.
44 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Other questions?
46 MR. GILL: I have a couple of questions. Would you all discuss
47 -- First of all, thank you for coming. I find this very
48 informative and helpful to try and figure out what we’re
1 supposed to do, but would you all discuss what you see as the
2 pros and cons of the lease option on the IFQ side?
4 One of the comments that’s been made relative to it is that
5 oftentimes a smaller fisherman may well take the financial
6 incentive and opt out and to the detriment of the folks that’s
7 he with, but would you all discuss how you evolved on the pros
8 and cons on that?
10 MR. ERICKSON: I’ll just make a quick comment. The pros and
11 cons depends on the price at the time. If the armchair
12 fisherman is getting a real high price, then the lessee doesn’t
13 like it and if the lessee is getting a real good price for his
14 fish, as opposed to the armchair fisherman, then the armchair
15 fisherman doesn’t like it.
17 It goes up and down. It’s given us the ability to be flexible
18 in our fishery. When we go out on a trip targeting one species
19 and end up encountering another one, we now have the ability to
20 retain that species and lease fish to cover it off. We now keep
21 everything we catch and stay within our TACs. There’s no more
22 discards and if we do discard, we pay for the mortality on that
25 MR. GILL: I have a follow-on question. The electronic
26 monitoring is principally cameras, as I understand it, and from
27 the costs you indicated, relative to our fisheries, it may be
28 problematic to absorb on a per-trip basis.
30 It would also seem that they’re high enough that the impact is
31 much stronger on the smaller vessels, the smaller producers, to
32 the point of which it would drive them away from the fishery so
33 that you would be sliding towards larger vessels and larger
34 producers and eliminating the smaller producers. Is that the
35 case? If so, how do you address that?
37 MR. KOOLMAN: Initially, a few fishermen got out of it, because
38 of those concerns and also because they were afraid of the
39 program and they didn’t know whether -- They were sure that they
40 couldn’t stay within their bycatch caps.
42 There was all kinds of reasons for it, but generally the cost of
43 the monitoring has been picked up by the increased value of the
44 landings, because you can’t discard anymore or there’s some
45 species you can’t discard and other ones and you have the choice
46 of whether you discard it or land it.
48 By delivering those fish that you couldn’t before, it more than
1 offsets our monitoring costs and the -- The cost of the
2 monitoring is -- It’s going to be based on how complicated your
3 system is or what you actually want to monitor.
5 We are trying to monitor discards or total catch and to do that,
6 it involves reviewing 10 percent of the video data. There’s
7 some -- There could be as many as fifty tests within the audit
8 as to whether or not you pass or fail and the consequences that
9 are attached to that fail. It all depends on what you’re trying
10 to monitor.
12 I was talking to a fellow from I think it was Australia and they
13 wanted a monitoring program, but all they wanted to do was
14 monitor the turtle catch and they weren’t interested in the rest
15 and so their monitoring costs were way down. That’s just the
16 other end of the scale of where I’m at. It all depends on how
17 you design your program.
19 The fixed costs are basically, in round numbers, $40.00 a day to
20 have the equipment aboard. Everything else beyond that is what
21 you want to build into it.
23 MR. ROBIN RIECHERS: Thank you all for being here as well and
24 I’m going to follow up along the same lines that Bob asked you
25 the question regarding cost. You said $200 per day or twelve-
26 cents a pound. What is your relative poundage on a day’s catch
27 and with that question, I’m assuming you’re about average in
28 your fleet as far as that twelve-cents a pound goes or is that
29 an overall average? Would you like to clarify that just a
30 little bit?
32 MR. KOOLMAN: That was based on my landings during the halibut
33 fishery. You’re right, that 12,000 pounds would have been
34 average and you had one trip that was less than that and another
35 trip that was more, but it -- The day rate and the poundage rate
36 is directly related to production.
38 If I were to land 50,000 pounds on a trip instead of 12,000,
39 then the poundage rate would go way down. If I could catch it
40 in less time, then the day rate would go down and so it’s all a
41 balancing act. It’s really hard to put any numbers around it,
42 because on some of the fisheries, like the live rockfish
43 fishery, it’s a relatively low production, but it’s a really
44 high value. One balances the other out.
46 On the other end of the scale, in our dogfish or shark fishery,
47 the value of the fish isn’t very high, but they’re landing a lot
48 of volume. Again, it balances. Like I said, it’s hard to come
1 up with an exact cost.
3 DR. BOB SHIPP: I’m curious about rockfish. As I understand it,
4 there are about fifty or sixty species of rockfish. Do you all
5 consider them as a single unit and do some species bring a
6 higher price than others?
8 MR. KOOLMAN: All the species are considered separate. Some of
9 them are considered a coast-wide stock, but it’s still broken
10 into the different areas or managed in different areas and the
11 value between them varies anywhere between forty-cents and
12 $11.00 and just about everything in between.
14 MS. JULIE MORRIS: Thank you both for being here today. Wes,
15 you had a slide that had sort of three things that you would
16 recommend, based on your experience, and one was a loan program
17 and the other was be more inclusive in initial allocation and I
18 missed the third, but could you talk about those three things a
19 bit more?
21 MR. ERICKSON: My memory is not very good and I can’t remember
22 the third either, but more inclusive means -- We had a minimum
23 amount of fish to qualify and the lingcod fishery, when they
24 went to quota, were very inclusive and some guys ended up with
25 fifty pounds of quota, but as a result, there was virtually no
26 appeals. Everybody was included. Maybe you didn’t end up with
27 much fish, but at least you were given credit for the fish that
28 you had caught in the past.
30 Those individuals probably won’t go fishing with fifty pounds,
31 but they have the ability to sell or lease and they’re given
32 some recognition for the participation they had in the fishery.
34 A loans program -- I apologize, but at the beginning of my
35 presentation, I should have introduced Lara Hutton, we have in
36 the audience, and she’s with the International Halibut
37 Commission and very familiar with the fishery up in Alaska and
38 Alaska looked at our system and they couldn’t go to a quota
39 program fast enough in halibut once they saw us in a quota
40 program, because of the price difference and the safety
43 I believe Alaska has a loans program in place to help new
44 entrants enter the fishery and that could also be in place to
45 help anybody who feels displaced and wants to enter into the
48 Like I mentioned before, it’s very expensive for anybody to get
1 into the halibut fishery now, because it’s very high value and
2 it’s a very well managed fishery and people want to be halibut
3 fishermen. If you want to quiz Lara about the Alaska model,
4 she’ll be available to take questions.
6 MS. MORRIS: A second question on a different topic is that how
7 is this penalty for discarded fish calculated? How does that
8 all work? It sounds like you can both keep discarded fish --
9 Instead of discarding, you can keep it and if you decide to
10 discard it, there’s a penalty. Could you give us a little
11 insight into how that all works?
13 MR. KOOLMAN: It started with for the discards, the fish we’re
14 allowed to discard, we had to establish an average weight.
16 MS. MORRIS: An average weight?
18 MR. KOOLMAN: An average weight per species and then with the
19 help of science, and there isn’t a lot of information out there
20 about mortality rates, we established what the mortality rate of
21 a discard is.
23 Like with halibut, it’s 16 percent. If you catch a halibut and
24 bring it to the surface and let it go again, 16 percent are
25 going to die. With lingcod, it’s 4 percent and dogfish, it’s 2.
26 Sablefish, I think it’s 7 or 8 percent.
28 By combining the two -- If you discarded a fish, you take the
29 weight and divide it by the mortality and that’s what gets
30 deducted off your quota.
32 MS. MORRIS: It’s not a cash thing, but it’s quota.
34 MR. KOOLMAN: It’s quota. It ends up cash out of your pocket at
35 the end of the day, because you have to have your quota to cover
36 it off.
38 MR. ERICKSON: I might add to that that this is the first time
39 in the world in a complete groundfish fishery that all catch is
40 accounted for. The scientists have to reconsider how they do
41 stock assessment, because prior to this, a catch mortality in
42 another sector was just factored into natural mortality. The
43 scientists are real excited about this.
45 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Finally, Mr. Gill.
47 MR. GILL: I have two quick questions. One is who funds the
48 loan program, in your estimation? Two, I wanted to confirm that
1 you all will be available after this meeting for discussion. I
2 have a bunch more questions I would like to ask you all.
4 MR. KOOLMAN: I didn’t get the first question.
6 MR. GILL: Who do you envision would fund the loan program that
7 Wes indicated would be something he would change?
9 MR. ERICKSON: Like I say, I would encourage you to talk to Lara
10 about what Alaska does. I believe what’s in place is government
11 just basically helps individuals to secure loans. They have
12 similar sort of things for small businesses in my jurisdiction
13 and I don’t know if you have something similar here too, if
14 somebody wants to start a small business that the government
15 helps out a little bit. We don’t have anything like that in
16 place in commercial fishing, but something along those lines.
18 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Again, gentlemen, thank you very much for
19 coming all the way down. We certainly appreciate it and we look
20 forward to seeing you this evening.
22 MR. ERICKSON: Thank you and we will be around all evening.
24 CHAIRMAN MINTON: You’ll save some money that way. Now, we’ll
25 go back to Mr. Gill and the minutes.
27 MR. GILL: I did find it and it’s page 27, the last line of the
28 fourth paragraph, the number should be “0.86” rather than “0.6”
29 and it’s line 26.
31 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Anything else?
33 MS. WALKER: Mr. Chairman, we have a Tab B, Number 3 and I read
34 it, but who sent it to the council and if we have questions, who
35 do we direct them to on this study that was done on the
38 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Staff, can you help me out?
40 DR. ASSANE DIAGNE: I think that was just supporting material
41 for this IFQ discussion, if some of the council members wanted
42 to see that document and that’s all.
44 MS. WALKER: Assane, who would we send questions to, the writers
45 of the document, I guess?
47 DR. DIAGNE: I didn’t imply that, but given that we will be
48 responsible for the IFQ amendment, you could send it to us. You
1 can send it to me.
3 CHAIRMAN MINTON: With those changes to the minutes, is there
4 any objection to adopting the minutes? Hearing none, so
5 ordered. That takes us to Item IV, which works in very well,
6 because a lot of the discussion we had earlier is listed in this
7 document. If you’ll turn to Tab B, Number 4, the first one is
8 Summaries of Scoping Meetings, which is Tab B, Number 5.
10 SCOPING DOCUMENT ON AMENDMENT 29
12 DR. DIAGNE: We will just give you a quick summary of the
13 scoping comments that we received for Amendment 29. The scoping
14 hearings were conducted at the same time as we were having
15 public hearings for Amendment 30A.
17 What I want to do is just summarize the comments that we’ve
18 received from the commercial sector, do the same thing for the
19 recreational sector and, finally, say a word about the comments
20 we got from environmental organizations.
22 Let me start with the commercial sector. The majority of
23 commercial fishermen who spoke at these public scoping meetings
24 support the IFQ program and some of the reasons that they’ve
25 given include the fact that they think that a grouper IFQ
26 program will allow them to become more professional as a
29 It will also allow them to reduce bycatch. Third, it will give
30 them an opportunity to trade shares with the participants in the
31 red snapper IFQ program. One of their recommendations was that
32 this program should be implemented as soon as possible,
33 basically for the council to see about having this program
34 implemented as fast as it could.
36 The scoping document included five actions. The other four
37 actions, the buyback or buyout program, the elimination of
38 latent permits, endorsement programs and effort-based quotas,
39 were not supported, in general. In fact, for several of these
40 actions, participants suggested that they should be moved to the
41 Considered but Rejected section.
43 The other comments that they made, some participants indicated
44 that they were strongly in favor of reducing or eliminating the
45 size limits and maybe, if needed, extending the closed season to
46 give more protection to the spawners and that is if there is no
47 IFQ and that’s all.
1 The comments that we’ve gathered in the recreational sector,
2 most participants who spoke were in strong opposition to an IFQ
3 program and the reasons that were given included a perception
4 that there is a lack of enforcement on the ground.
6 Some were opposed to the fact that an IFQ would -- I put this in
7 quotes, but “privatize” a public resource. Number three is that
8 with an IFQ program, the consolidation would basically lead to
9 creation of monopolies, meaning consolidation of shares in very
10 few hands.
12 Some recreational participants who expressed support or
13 basically were not opposed to the program indicated that they
14 would appreciate the opportunity to buy shares, to participate
15 basically in the trading of shares, and indicated that in the
16 red snapper program, let’s say five years after implementation,
17 those shares will be available for everybody to buy.
19 Other participants also mentioned that perhaps the recreational
20 sector as a whole could participate in effort reduction by
21 buying latent permits and that would help the fishery. That was
22 a suggestion and finally, environmental organizations, those who
23 spoke at the scoping hearings, indicated that they support an
24 IFQ program, provided that the program was well designed and
25 that, of course, such a design accounted for bycatch
26 consideration and so forth. Mr. Chairman, that is a summary of
27 the comments we received during scoping of Amendment 29. Thank
30 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you, Assane. Good job. Are there
31 questions for Assane? Thank you. Reef Fish Advisory Panel
32 Recommendations, Tab B, Number 6.
34 MR. STU KENNEDY: Tab B-6 on page 11, to add just a few
35 comments. At first, they were -- After they started to discuss
36 this and went over some of the issues and some of the actions,
37 they considered removing Action 5. However, in the end -- The
38 AP did this to several other pieces of amendments as well, but
39 they asked to review this thing again after they found out what
40 the Grouper IFQ AP said about it.
42 They essentially tabled that first motion, which was to remove
43 one of the action items. However, at the end of the meeting --
44 If you look at the bottom of page 11, they reopened the topic of
45 IFQs and they talked about cumulative effects of the IFQs across
46 the entire Gulf of Mexico and felt that the impacts discussion
47 that we normally have in one of these amendments might not be
48 enough, so they passed a motion asking that a much more
1 extensive cumulative effects analysis be done for this
2 amendment. At the top of page 12 is the motion. That concludes
3 my --
5 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Questions for Stu?
7 MS. MORRIS: Stu, can you give us any insight into what concerns
8 about cumulative effects or what cumulative effects the AP was
9 concerned about?
11 MR. KENNEDY: I’m not sure that I can give you all the pieces of
12 it. I think that there was discussion about it, a lot of
13 problems or potential issues with it that were far and above
14 looking at just grouper IFQ, and they felt that it would roll
15 over into other species and other fisheries, all sorts of
18 I didn’t cover in the summary all of their comments. They’ll be
19 in the minutes when they come out, but it was basically that it
20 needed to be a much more extensive cumulative effects analysis
21 across the entire Gulf across all fisheries.
23 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Other questions?
25 DR. CRABTREE: Assane, in the discussions in the development of
26 the potential program for the grouper IFQ, I saw where they had
27 a recommendation there about what constitutes substantially
28 participated. It was something like an average of 4,000 pounds
29 per year and is that correct?
31 DR. DIAGNE: Yes, that’s correct.
33 DR. CRABTREE: When they were considering that, were they only
34 considering that in the context of the referendum?
36 DR. DIAGNE: Yes, that was just for participation in the
37 referendum, as mentioned in the Act, but for as far as the
38 initial share, everybody would receive their share.
40 DR. CRABTREE: If you look in the Magnuson Act under some of the
41 new sections, on the section under allocation -- If you have a
42 copy of the blue book, that’s on page 83. It says: “In
43 developing limited access privilege programs to harvest fish
44 that a council or the Secretary shall” -- Then if you go down to
45 Number (e), which is on the top of page 84, it says: “Authorize
46 limited access privilege to harvest fish to be held, acquired,
47 used by, or issued under the system to persons who substantially
48 participate in the fishery, including in a specific sector of
1 such fishery as specified by the council.”
3 Maybe Mike would want to comment, but it appears to me that one
4 of the revisions of the Act is limiting people who can
5 participate in the IFQ program to those who have substantially
6 participated in the fishery. Has that been discussed?
8 MR. MICHAEL MCLEMORE: It hasn’t been discussed that I know of,
9 but if you read the preceding provisions under 5 -- The section
10 in the Act is 303A(c) (5) (a) through (e), but there’s a lot of
11 discussion about considering fair and equitable in terms of
12 these different sectors, harvesting and processing sectors and
13 investments and dependence on a fishery and fishing communities.
14 It looks like it’s broader than just fishermen as well, but they
15 have specified who is supposed to be authorized to participate
16 in the limited access privilege program.
18 DR. DIAGNE: Also, when the AP made this recommendation and
19 selected 4,000 pounds, they didn’t have really access to the
20 Reauthorized Magnuson and so perhaps this is something that they
21 will reconsider at a later meeting.
23 MR. PERRET: Roy, with what you bring up, since Florida has had
24 a trip ticket program for X number of years, should we or would
25 we not know -- I’m not trying to find out what each individual
26 fisherman harvests in a year’s period of time, but couldn’t that
27 data be broken down to those that caught zero to 5,000 pounds,
28 5,000 to 15,000, 15,000 to --
30 I know we’ve been able to do it in some other fisheries, but
31 don’t we have that information or shouldn’t we have that
34 DR. CRABTREE: Yes, but what we’ve normally used in IFQ programs
35 is based on the logbooks and not the trip tickets and we have
36 gone through -- Recall that we tallied the votes up for a
37 segment of the grouper industry when they did the buyback
38 referendum and so we did look back and have done that.
40 We have not done that with the trip ticket system, although we
41 did, when we did the rock shrimp limited entry program in the
42 South Atlantic, we used trip tickets, but we ran into problems
43 there, because some fishermen had landings that nobody filed a
44 trip ticket on and so that ran into some difficulties.
46 MR. PERRET: Have we tried to compare trip ticket information
47 with the logbook and see if indeed you’re getting similar
2 DR. CRABTREE: Not in this specific context, but we have, on any
3 number of occasions, looked at logbook reported landings and
4 trip ticket reported landings and they defer to varying degrees.
6 MR. RIECHERS: I’m not on your committee, but I want to echo
7 Assane’s viewpoint that if you all remember, we sent this to
8 scoping probably at a point where the Magnuson criteria, the new
9 Magnuson-Stevens, hadn’t been reauthorized.
11 It basically left that question about substantially fished
12 criterion that’s on page 14 and we kind of basically put --
13 That’s what our AP had suggested, but we were looking for
14 feedback in the scoping document. We’ve probably gotten some
15 feedback and we’ve gotten some AP feedback.
17 They may want to revisit that and we will also probably get some
18 guidance from NMFS on how “substantially” might be defined when
19 they come out with their guidance. I think we have some
20 forthcoming things that allows us to keep having this discussion
21 without getting too hung up on the poundage that’s been chosen.
23 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Actually, Mr. Chair, you’re ex-officio on all
24 committees. Any other questions? Next is Item IV(c), Ad Hoc
25 Grouper IFQ Recommendations.
27 DR. DIAGNE: I’ll try to provide a quick summary of the
28 recommendations of the AP. Basically, at their meeting they did
29 two things. First, they looked at the scoping documents and
30 made some recommendations and second, they revisited some of the
31 recommendations that were presented before the council, I think
32 two or three council meetings ago. I will start first with
33 their motions and comments on the scoping document.
35 The first thing they did was to strongly suggest and actually,
36 it’s in the form of a motion, that Action 5, the effort-based
37 quota, be moved to the Considered but Rejected category and that
38 motion passed.
40 For the four remaining options, the IFQ and the three others,
41 they passed a motion indicating that the development and
42 implementation of an IFQ program would be their preferred course
43 of action and it’s in the form of a motion.
45 The other three actions, latent permit elimination, endorsement,
46 and buyout programs, were considered unfavorable options and
47 those are the words that they used in their motion, to consider
48 these as unfavorable actions.
2 One panel member inquired about status quo and it was indicated
3 to him that status quo, by default, was always an option,
4 because that was the benchmark that we use for comparison, but
5 they went ahead and passed a motion to make sure that it would
6 be there.
8 The panel felt that a loan program would be really important in
9 the success of the future IFQ plan and so they expressed their
10 concerns in the form of a motion and the motion reads: That the
11 AP recommends a government guaranteed loan program for IFQ
12 financing using IFQs as collateral. The motion passed.
14 One idea that they started discussing towards the end of the
15 meeting was to look at optional participation in an IFQ program,
16 basically the commercial portion of -- The commercial quota
17 would be split in two parts, one part for those who wanted to
18 participate in an IFQ and the other part left for those who felt
19 that they wanted to fish under the status quo, under the current
22 That is an idea that they started discussing at the very end of
23 the meeting and it was important for us to put it in the
24 recommendation for the council to share.
26 After this, they looked at modifications concerning the
27 recommendations that they presented before the council, and I
28 believe it was at the Destin meeting, and they offered several
31 I skipped one thing. They requested that perhaps their charge
32 be amended and the motion reads as follows: The panel requests
33 that the council identify the panel’s charge as to develop IFQs
34 including tilefish and that the council develop separate TACs
35 for gray and golden tilefish. That motion passed.
37 Now on to the changes in the preferred alternatives that were
38 presented before the council at the Destin meeting. They
39 basically revisited the definition of the multispecies, let’s
40 say the split between deep and shallow-water, and that is in the
41 document. They revisited the restrictions in terms of
42 ownership, what maximum amount of shares should be allowed to an
45 They re-discussed initial apportionment and here, if you look at
46 the document, everywhere there is 2004, or at least in several
47 spots, there is an asterisk. That asterisk is just to remind
48 panel members that there is a control date and that control date
1 was set for October 15, 2004. Basically, if we were to count
2 landings from 1999 to 2004, 2004 would have to stop at October
5 Some motions simply reworded alternatives that are in the
6 documents containing their recommendations, such as the motion
7 concerning the appeals process.
9 They also discussed the flexibility measures and requested that
10 as soon as possible that we provide a formula allowing them to
11 compute, or at least have a very good idea, about their
12 allocation, the share they would receive.
14 Sarah DeVido from NMFS has started already putting that together
15 and she will supply shortly the denominator, so each fisherman
16 will be able to take his or her catch history and plug it in and
17 have an idea. That’s just an idea and not to suggest that that
18 is the final allocation, but just an idea concerning how much
19 they will get. Finally, they would want to revisit the
20 flexibility measures down the line when we will have an
21 opportunity to do more work.
23 On an unrelated note, the AP felt that it had to share its
24 opinion concerning Amendment 30B and they passed the following
25 motion: The panel states that in Amendment 30B, Action 5, Red
26 and Gag Grouper Allocations, the panel recommends Alternative 3,
27 which would set allocations based on all available years of
28 data. That motion also passed. That concludes the AP
29 recommendations. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
31 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you, Assane. Are there questions?
33 MR. PERRET: Assane, they passed a lot of motions. I have to
34 assume there was probably a great deal of discussion on some and
35 probably a lot more on some than others, but the make-up of the
36 committee, were these unanimous votes or close votes or what?
38 DR. DIAGNE: In the minutes, it will give you a vote count, but
39 several of these were unanimous. For example, what should be
40 moved to the Considered but Rejected and so forth, those were
41 unanimous motions, but I cannot recall really the vote counts.
43 MR. GILL: Assane, does the draft grouper IFQ outline include
44 the current recommendations of the ad hoc group at the beginning
45 of this month?
47 DR. ASSANE: No, the draft outline is left as it was back then.
48 The recommendations were separate and are presented to you
1 separate. This is the draft outline that you saw when the AP
2 made its initial recommendations before you.
4 MS. MORRIS: Assane, can you explain a bit more about their
5 request that we clarify their charge and specifically, they’re
6 asking about tilefish and gray and golden tilefish. What kind
7 of clarification do they need and what’s the confusion and what
8 is it they’re asking from us?
10 DR. DIAGNE: They just perhaps wanted for the charge or the name
11 of the group, if you will, to reflect the scope of the work
12 being done. Initially, I believe that the name of this group is
13 Ad Hoc Grouper IFQ Advisory Panel, with emphasis on grouper.
15 Now that we are talking about widening the scope to other
16 species, including tilefish, panel members felt that perhaps it
17 should be reflected in the charge and hence, Grouper and
18 Tilefish IFQ, if you want. They also indicated that one of the
19 tile fishes was really a directed fishery, quote, and the other
20 one was mostly a bycatch fishery. That’s why the request was
21 made to have separate TACs for those.
23 MS. MORRIS: Is it just a simple change in the title or do we
24 need to look back at their original charge and reword it?
26 DR. DIAGNE: I think at this point a simple change in the name
27 and if you want to add that term in the charge, it would be
28 fine, too.
30 MS. WALKER: Assane, can you tell us why the committee was not
31 interested in the elimination of latent permits?
33 DR. DIAGNE: I didn’t say that they were not interested. They
34 said that for Action 1, Elimination of Latent Permits, the panel
35 considers it an unfavorable option. It is not an option that
36 all panel members said directly to basically just discard.
37 Perhaps they are open to listening to more arguments.
39 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Other questions? Before we start into the
40 next part of this, why don’t we take about a ten minute break
41 and we’ll come back at twenty-five to.
43 (Whereupon, a brief recess was taken.)
45 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Let’s get the Reef Fish Committee back to
46 order, please, some semblance of order. While you’re at the
47 table, I would like to recognize Felicia Coleman, Dr. Coleman.
48 Welcome, a former council member. She’ll be doing a
1 presentation for us later and Chris Koenig. Chris, welcome.
3 If you’ll go back to your agenda, we’re now on Committee
4 Recommendations. If you’ll go to Tab B, Number 4 and I believe,
5 since we’ve been through this, that we can go to page 6. What I
6 would like to do here is to go through these different actions
7 and have some discussion and primarily discussing whether or not
8 we feel like they’re a viable option here.
10 If we don’t want them, we can put them in Considered but
11 Rejected. At this point, if we keep them, then staff will be
12 making up the bevy of different actions underneath there that
13 need to be taken.
15 I talked to Stu a little bit about the latent permits and it’s
16 not just as black and white as you think, because there’s a lot
17 of folks that have a permit for the reef fish fishery that don’t
18 land grouper, but they certainly land red snapper. That’s
19 something we need to be thinking about.
21 Initially, you would think that under the latent permits if you
22 didn’t have any landings that you’re not going to get any quota,
23 but there may be some other alternatives there. With that, I
24 would like to open discussion up under Action 1, Elimination of
25 Latent Permits.
27 MS. MORRIS: Can I back up a bit? It seems like in the big
28 picture what we’re trying to do is give the staff enough
29 direction that they can go ahead and start writing a public
30 hearing draft for this amendment and is that right?
32 CHAIRMAN MINTON: An options paper, correct.
34 MS. MORRIS: We have a scoping document and is the next step an
35 options paper or a public hearing draft?
37 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I think it would be an options paper and then
38 we would go through it and prepare it for public hearings.
40 MS. MORRIS: We have a lot of options already laid out here and
41 could this kind of be partway to an options paper?
43 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Absolutely.
45 MS. MORRIS: Based on the Ad Hoc Grouper IFQ Committee meeting
46 report, I would like to introduce for discussion by the
47 committee the idea that we would narrow what we’re looking to by
48 moving both the buyback and the individual transferable effort
1 quota to -- We’ll no longer consider those as we develop the
2 options paper and keep latent permit endorsements and ITQ as the
3 main things that we’re focusing on. I would like some committee
4 discussion of that idea.
6 MR. GILL: I’ll second that, Mr. Chairman.
8 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Is that a motion?
10 MS. MORRIS: I could make it a motion, but I was just asking for
11 some discussion.
13 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Sure, we’ll take one. Go ahead.
15 MS. MORRIS: The motion would be to move buyback and individual
16 transferable effort quota to no longer be considered in the
19 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Mr. Gill seconds that. If you consider the
20 discussion we had earlier on the British Columbia experience, I
21 think that’s exactly what they went through in the salmon
22 fishery and they found out that it didn’t work. I think it’s
23 very warranted to move this route. Is there other discussion
24 from the committee or non-committee? Mr. McLemore says we need
25 more discussion.
27 MS. MORRIS: Bob Gill I see is raising his hand as well and so
28 would you like me to talk first or Bob?
30 CHAIRMAN MINTON: You go ahead and then we’ll come back to Bob.
32 MS. MORRIS: It seems like our experience with the buyback was
33 that we were advised that that’s more appropriately done through
34 Congress than through council action and we know that the
35 initiative along those lines is kind of in stall mode.
37 I think that’s a reason to move that to no longer considered and
38 the effort-based individual -- The transferable effort quota,
39 based on the examples that are in the document, it really hasn’t
40 worked to stabilize the fishery in other areas of the country
41 and people tend to intensify their capital investment in getting
42 bigger and more efficient boats, so that they can catch more
43 fish within the ever shrinking days that they’re allowed to fish
44 and so it leads to capital stuffing and that seems like a major
45 problem with that approach.
47 MR. GILL: Taking Action 5, the ITEQ first, to my knowledge, the
48 ITEQ has never worked anywhere, although I don’t know that
1 exhaustively. I do not believe there’s been a successful ITEQ
2 to date and so it seems at this point reasonable to not put any
3 more effort into fleshing that out.
5 CHAIRMAN MINTON: You mean ITEQ, right?
7 MR. GILL: Yes, sir, ITEQ. In terms of the buyback program, for
8 similar reasons, that has been investigated and, as Ms. Morris
9 said, mentioned in one fashion and not well received and not any
10 further and it’s currently stalled. At this point, I think it’s
11 appropriate that we not do any further looking at that.
13 Clearly the APs have indicated a strong preference for the IFQ
14 variety, or perhaps some other un-fleshed out item at this
15 point, but I would concur in that motion.
17 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you, Bob. Are there other comments?
18 Any objection to the motion? We’re going to move Item 2 and 5
19 into the Considered but Rejected.
21 That takes us back to Item 1 then. I guess we’ll have three
22 items left here on the possible alternatives or actions. Does
23 the group want a little more staff discussion of what they
24 talked about with the latent permit and what all is entailed in
25 that? Assane or Stu, could you go into that a little bit
26 further and kind of give us a little better discussion on what’s
27 involved with all the latent permits?
29 DR. DIAGNE: With the latent permits, fundamentally, the latent
30 permit elimination does not change or does not affect the
31 incentive structure in the fishery. In a nutshell, that’s what
32 it is. If we buy out or eliminate latent permits, whoever is
33 left in the fishery still faces the same incentive to be as
34 competitive as he or she can.
36 You can go get a bigger boat, more gear, a bigger engine and so
37 forth and in terms of effective effort, you will not have
38 reduced anything. You will end up exactly where you started
39 from, with fewer participants that’s true, but each one of them
40 will fish harder and basically, that will go back to one of the
41 points that Ms. Morris just made when she was talking about
42 transferable effort quota.
44 The AP realized that the elimination of latent permits will not
45 impact the incentive structure prevailing in the fishery and
46 that is the major reason why this is not a great option and that
47 they rated it unfavorable.
1 CHAIRMAN MINTON: They also left it as not -- They didn’t give
2 us a recommendation to eliminate it.
4 DR. DIAGNE: They rated it unfavorable and they indicated their
5 preferred course of action and so I do not know --
7 MR. GILL: It seems to me that Action 1 and Action 3 need to
8 remain in the document, however we regard them as an alternative
9 to the IFQ action, just to satisfy the requirements for looking
10 at alternatives. They may not be highly desired, but on the
11 other hand, we need to look at them and consider them and have
12 something in place in case the IFQ is not passed.
14 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Another thing, Bob, is they may also give us
15 an additional alternative, not just in terms of a separate
16 program, but maybe weave some of this into the ITQ program
17 itself, so that it may be useful for us. I kind of think we
18 should leave it alone and have staff further develop it, but
19 obviously it’s not -- We’ve got experiences to know that a
20 straight buyout or something like that won’t work.
22 MR. GILL: One of the concerns that I have is that if the
23 referendum IFQ fails, the way the document is currently
24 structured is latent permits and permit endorsement.
26 It seems to me we’re left with an uncomfortable mix of options
27 in the event of IFQ not moving forward. The other side of that
28 coin is that no other options that are reasonable or favorable
29 have come forth. I think we’re caught between two sides of the
30 coin, that there’s no favorable alternative unless someone comes
31 up with yet another plan for effort limitation that we have not
32 yet seen to date.
34 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Remember now that we do have status quo. That
35 is one of the, I guess, inaction action items.
37 MS. WALKER: I know I spoke with one of the fishermen during the
38 break and to me, a latent permit is a permit that somebody
39 hasn’t used for two or three years. I guess maybe we need some
40 discussion among the committee as to the definition of a latent
41 permit. Maybe Dr. Crabtree has a definition.
43 DR. CRABTREE: I don’t think it’s officially defined anywhere.
44 I can tell you what it means to me. I consider a latent permit
45 to be a permit that’s had no activity, or a very minimal level
46 of activity, perhaps, but generally, I think of it as having no
47 activity and I don’t tend to think of a permit as being latent
48 for Species A, but not latent for Species B.
2 I tend to think of it as the permit has either been inactive or
3 it’s been active. I would think in this case if a permit had
4 any reef fish landings or if someone has been fishing in any
5 aspect of the reef fish fishery, then that is not a latent
8 CHAIRMAN MINTON: In addition to -- In the first paragraph
9 there, it talks about 185, or 13.5 percent, had no grouper, that
10 doesn’t necessarily mean they had no reef fish at all, right?
11 That’s what you’re saying?
13 DR. CRABTREE: Right. If your intent is that they’re not going
14 to be allowed to continue to participate in the grouper fishery,
15 then you would do that, to me, by establishing a grouper
16 endorsement and then they wouldn’t qualify, but I wouldn’t
17 consider the permit to be latent unless it just hasn’t been
18 fished at all.
20 CHAIRMAN MINTON: The other thing that’s pointed out is if you
21 didn’t have any landings, you will not issue any shares and so
22 it’s kind of almost a moot issue, too.
24 DR. CRABTREE: Arguably, it may be that you have not been
25 substantially participating in the fishery, in which case you’re
26 not eligible under the Act anyway. I guess “latent permit” may
27 apparently mean different things to different people.
29 MS. WALKER: When you say they haven’t been substantially
30 fishing and then Mike reminded us of in the Magnuson Act where
31 it talked about community shares and things like that and how do
32 we handle that and define substantial? I think that’s where
33 we’re going if we do an ITQ, is we have to define what
34 substantial is. It’s probably very different in all of our
37 DR. CRABTREE: I think that’s right and I think you have two
38 things you’re going to have to define. One will be participants
39 who substantially fished and they are then eligible to vote in
40 the referendum.
42 The agency will likely put out a proposed rule with some
43 guidelines about how to conduct the referendum and then it seems
44 to me there’s a second thing you have to do, because only people
45 who substantially participate are allowed to be issued quota
46 share or buy quota share.
48 Someone may substantially participate in the fishery but not
1 have any landings. Someone who is a dealer, for example, and
2 buys and sells fish, but doesn’t fish themselves, is arguably
3 participating in the fishery. Somebody who is filleting grouper
4 may be, in some sense, participating in the fishery.
6 I think there’s a lot of room for discussion in how that is, but
7 it seems to me that it clearly goes beyond fishing and so
8 clearly someone who has no landings may have substantially
9 participated in the fishery and thus, would be eligible to buy
10 shares, at least, or even be given an initial allocation,
11 depending on how you lay it out. I think there’s a lot of work
12 and a lot of things there that we’re going to have to think
15 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Roy, do you know of any -- This is new
16 language and so we’re kind of plowing new ground here, but is
17 there any other language in any of the other fisheries that uses
18 that term that we might look at or get staff to look at to help
21 DR. CRABTREE: I don’t know of any right now, Vernon, but we can
22 keep looking around and we can keep talking around the country
23 and see what other people think.
25 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Larry, how does your thing with the chicken
26 and the hog go now?
28 MR. LARRY SIMPSON: Breakfast. The chicken is involved with
29 breakfast, but the hog is committed.
31 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Is that what we’re talking about with
32 substantially involved?
34 MR. SIMPSON: I have a comment, Mr. Chairman. We have a history
35 of, in my opinion, substantial involvement. You’ve got income
36 qualifiers and you’ve got landings requirements in various
37 fisheries. To me, that’s substantially involved. I don’t know
38 what you mean that we don’t have any precedent on that.
40 DR. CRABTREE: I agree that Larry is correct about that. We
41 have set up income qualifiers and we have used landings
42 qualifiers in other fisheries.
44 MS. MORRIS: Just in summary on Action 1, Latent Permits, it
45 seems like wherever this document goes next, we should have some
46 information in it that tells us of these permits with no grouper
47 landings how many of them have no landings at all and how many
48 of them have landings in other reef fish fisheries.
2 It may also be -- It seems like what we’re interested in is
3 which permits have no grouper landings, regardless of whether --
4 Do you understand? We want to know who has grouper landings and
5 who has no landings. We want to be able to tease that apart,
6 which permits.
8 It might make sense to combine an examination of latent permits
9 with an endorsement, since the endorsement seems like it’s -- It
10 gets at the question of people who have reef fish permits, but
11 aren’t landing grouper.
13 CHAIRMAN MINTON: What you’re talking about is adding another
14 sentence on to Paragraph 1 then.
16 MS. MORRIS: Just some analysis that helps us see of these what
17 we’re calling latent permits how many of them just have no
18 grouper landings and how many of them have landings in other
19 reef fish fisheries.
21 MR. GILL: Of course, the other thing that comes here is no
22 matter how we slice this pie, it’s not going to be black and
23 white. It’s going to be gray fuzzy edges, et cetera. There’s
24 going to be folks, for example, I suspect, and I have no idea
25 how many or what type, that don’t fit our definitions that we
26 may want to consider in some fashion.
28 I’m not necessarily suggesting an appeals process, but somehow
29 at least address whether they can remain in the fishery or not
30 that don’t meet our criteria.
32 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I don’t understand how that would work.
34 MR. GILL: We set some criteria for participation in the
35 fishery. There’s going to be, I’m sure, some subset of the
36 current participants that do not meet those criteria. All I’m
37 suggesting is we should not go forth to establish criterion and
38 let the chips fall where they may without understanding what
39 happens or the rationale or whatever for those folks that don’t
40 fit that.
42 Exactly how we do it -- One of the common ways is an appeals
43 process and I’m not suggesting necessarily that we should do it
44 that way, but I think we ought not ignore -- How many is it, for
45 example? Do we have a substantial problem or a small problem?
46 We need to address it in some fashion.
48 CHAIRMAN MINTON: If the program is in place today and a person
1 had a near latent permit, they would still be in, but what
2 you’re saying is you would leave the door open to where if that
3 person wanted to come back later and buy shares -- They would
4 have the permit, but they could then buy shares and move back
5 up? You’re only going to have so many shares out there and so I
6 don’t quite -- That’s why I didn’t get the connect there. I’m
7 sorry, but I’m just not following it.
9 MR. GILL: At this point, Mr. Chairman, we’re only talking
10 latent permits. We’re not tying it to an ITQ or anything and so
11 what we’re talking about is segregating the fishery into those
12 that can and those that can’t. My suggestion here is that those
13 that can’t -- I don’t know what the numbers are. It might even
14 be substantial, I have no idea.
16 We need to know what we’re doing to those folks and whether or
17 not we want to consider an alternative for them or not. We may
18 want to exclude them and that’s fine. All I’m suggesting is we
19 make a conscious decision as to those folks that don’t fit, as
20 opposed to letting it slide.
22 CHAIRMAN MINTON: All right.
24 DR. CRABTREE: Remember, this is early in the development of a
25 document and before you make any final decisions, or even go to
26 public hearings, all this would have to be carefully analyzed
27 and we would look at, as best we can, the make-up of that group
28 of people and their dependence on other fisheries and the
29 estimates of the impacts on all those kinds of things.
31 To the extent that we have data to analyze that sort of thing,
32 it will be in the document and you’ll see it before you make any
33 decisions, if that helps.
35 MR. PERRET: Vernon, you and I are -- I, like you, am not quite
36 understanding some of this. Roy, you mentioned your examples
37 were those that filet grouper or buy and sell. In my opinion,
38 the whole purpose of these type exercises, and hopefully
39 implementation at some date in the future, if indeed that’s the
40 direction we go, is to better manage the fishery by allowing
41 harvest for those individuals, fishermen, not the guys that
42 filet the fish and not the guys that buy the fish and so on.
44 Mr. Erickson mentioned that prior to their program being
45 implemented that the buyers controlled the price and once his
46 program got implemented, there was more flexibility and more
47 buyers now. What do you mean about limiting the number of
48 fileters and buyers and sellers and so on? That certainly
1 wouldn’t be part of a fishery that would limit the harvesters,
2 in my opinion.
4 DR. CRABTREE: All I was pointing out, Corky, is the language in
5 that particular part of the Act is different. I’m not saying
6 that you would want to do that necessarily, but it seems to me
7 that it would allow you to more broadly interpret what
8 participating in the fishery is than just having landings.
10 You could decide that it’s just those people who have landings.
11 I think that’s something that would be up to the council, but at
12 some level, it appears they would have to participate in the
13 fishery in some way to be eligible to buy shares or to be
14 initially allocated shares.
16 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Julie, one last try?
18 MS. MORRIS: No, I was going to move on to another topic and so
19 go ahead.
21 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Where we’re leaving this then is with staff to
22 help flesh out this area for the next document. Stu is nodding
23 his head yes and so this -- I guess this would move us to Action
24 Item 3. Is that where you’re headed, Julie?
26 MS. MORRIS: Not quite, but it’s okay. I’ll hold off.
28 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Action 3, Permit Endorsements, this is where
29 they would create a grouper endorsement to the reef fish permit
30 to allow the harvest of grouper in the Gulf of Mexico. We’ve
31 got basically two commercial harvesters, longline and vertical
32 line, and I’m assuming they would set this up based on some type
33 of percentage-wise. Are there comments on the committee?
35 MS. MORRIS: I don’t really -- I think that this also has
36 problems related to capital stuffing and is problematic, but I
37 think we need to keep it in the document just so we have a
38 reasonable range of ways to address the overcapitalization in
39 the grouper fishery.
41 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Other comments? If I don’t hear anything,
42 we’re going to just move on then. That takes us to Action 4,
45 MR. GILL: If I understand this correctly, the Tab B-7(c), which
46 is the Draft Grouper IFQ Outline, incorporates all the
47 recommendations made by the ad hoc group at our March meeting
48 that Lee Deaderick presented.
2 It would seem to me that how we can improve that document is
3 consider the changes that the ad hoc group requested at their
4 October meeting this year and add or not add, as we so choose,
5 to that document and then we can proceed through the document,
6 if you so please.
8 CHAIRMAN MINTON: That sounds good. Are there other comments?
9 Anything else? Is there anything you want to direct staff on
10 for adding to the document, like he just added?
12 MR. GILL: Are you looking for motions at this time, Mr.
15 CHAIRMAN MINTON: What we’re doing now is just making sure we
16 get enough information to staff to where they can come back with
17 the options paper, hopefully fleshed out to the point where we
18 can move through it and prepare it for a public hearing
21 What I think now, since we’ve got three items left, is look at
22 those and see if there are other discussions that need to take
23 place to direct staff to help us in preparation for the next
26 MR. GILL: The three items left you’re referring to on the
27 scoping document and is that --
29 CHAIRMAN MINTON: That’s correct, 1 and 3 and 4, the action
30 items. We took out 2 and 5 and so now you’re down to three
31 items, plus I guess you could count status quo, and so you’ve
32 got four, and staff is going to have to work those up into
33 different options underneath those and give us a better amount
34 of information so we can proceed on.
36 MR. GILL: In that case, I would like to move that we add Tab B-
37 7(c) to Action 4, the ITQ action item.
39 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I think what we would do is direct staff to
40 add it in there as part of that action, without objection and
41 seeing none. Julie, you had something else?
43 MS. MORRIS: I was going to suggest that the most recent
44 recommendations of the Ad Hoc IFQ Panel be added to the work
45 product that we had in December. Do you understand, Bob? We’ve
46 got the December B-7(c) to be added into the document and then
47 there’s some nuances from the Ad Hoc IFQ Committee report that
48 we just received at this meeting that should be incorporated in
1 there as well.
3 CHAIRMAN MINTON: All right. Is there anything else?
5 DR. RICK LEARD: I think I remember when first started
6 considering a grouper IFQ that I mentioned something to the
7 council about as far as staff doing the work and whatnot that we
8 could probably do the same amount of work even if we considered
9 all reef fish species. I was wondering if there was any
10 interest in considering all reef fish species, as opposed to
11 just the grouper species, in an IFQ.
13 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I’m concerned, personally, about the timing
14 that it would take. Julie, what was the amendment that we put
15 it in, put it out, put it in and put it out? Amendment 18?
16 Thank you, Steve. This could delay this for years, I’m afraid.
17 Julie, did you have a comment?
19 MS. MORRIS: I was going to say a similar thing. I think that
20 we should clarify that tilefish are included, but beyond that,
21 it seems like adding amberjack -- We definitely don’t want to
22 add red snapper, or I wouldn’t at this point.
24 It seems like we need to start with what we have and then once
25 we move a little further down the road, we could talk about
26 connecting everything up with each other, but I think I’m
27 comfortable now with grouper and tilefish.
29 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Other comments? I think that’s the feeling.
30 Rick, thank you, but I think that’s the general feeling. We’re
31 afraid we would get so bogged down trying to figure out where we
32 went with it that we would never come to closure on it, or at
33 least it would take us a while, not that we move at a very fast
34 pace anyway.
36 MS. MORRIS: Can we -- Do we need to have a motion to clarify
37 that tilefish are included in their charge, since they asked us
38 to clarify that?
40 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We just re-titled them and so I guess we had
43 MS. MORRIS: I move that we clarify that the charge to the ad
44 hoc group includes tilefish.
46 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Is there a second?
48 MR. GILL: Second, Mr. Chairman.
2 CHAIRMAN MINTON: It’s seconded by Mr. Gill. Is there any
3 discussion? Is there any objection? The motion carries. Thank
4 you, Julie. Stu and Assane, does that conclude where we’re at
5 here? Any other comments on this?
7 MR. GILL: Mr. Chairman, would it be appropriate at this point
8 to go through this document and see if the committee would like
9 to either modify it or select preferreds, et cetera?
11 CHAIRMAN MINTON: On 29? There’s no options.
13 MR. GILL: I’m talking on Action 4, the addition that we just
14 put in there of the recommendations from the ad hoc panel.
16 CHAIRMAN MINTON: What’s the committee’s feeling? Do you want
17 to go through that now or do you want to let staff kind of mock
18 those up a little bit better and possibly do it later?
20 MS. MORRIS: We can’t choose preferred alternatives with no
23 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I think we would be better off waiting,
24 although I appreciate your aggressiveness to get this thing
25 done. I just got mine and so we’ll take that up at the next
28 MR. BILL TEEHAN: I was just wondering if staff could give us an
29 idea of what the timeframe of developing of the next stage of
30 this is.
32 DR. DIAGNE: I think for the next meeting that we will bring an
33 options paper that will include your recommendations, as well as
34 the recommendations from the AP that you’ve directed us to
37 We’ll start putting some analysis looking at the distribution of
38 permits, who lands what and what are the latent permits and so
39 forth. We will have a perhaps well developed options paper at
40 the next meeting. That is the timeline that we want to follow.
42 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you. That concludes Item IV and let’s
43 move on then to the Reports on Marine Reserves. We have a
44 report by the Southeast Fisheries Center on Madison-Swanson and
45 Steamboat Lumps. It’s Tab B, Number 8. I’ve got Chris Gledhill
46 and Andy David. Are you both doing a presentation or just one?
48 DR. CHRISTOPHER GLEDHILL: We were going to tag-team it.
2 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Okay. Is it possible that we could get a copy
3 of the presentation when you’re finished?
5 DR. GLEDHILL: I think you do, don’t you?
7 MR. STEVEN ATRAN: It’s in your handouts that you would have
8 received either today --
10 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Or tomorrow?
12 MR. ATRAN: It should be in your handout package today.
14 CHAIRMAN MINTON: It’s there somewhere and thank you. Go ahead.
16 MR. ATRAN: It’s also, I believe -- If you’re on our Gulf
17 Council mobile network, it’s on our shared drive that you can
18 download, but you should have received it as about a fifty-page
21 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Please proceed.
23 REPORTS ON MARINE RESERVES
25 DR. GLEDHILL: Andy and I are going to talk about our work in
26 Madison-Swanson and Steamboat Lumps. I’m going to tell you a
27 little bit about the trends in fish populations that have been
28 going on, occurring since 2001.
30 Andy is then going to talk about work done by Dr. Steve Smith at
31 the University of Miami. We conducted an aerial survey of
32 fishing activity on the West Florida Shelf and then answer some
33 of the questions the council had about MPAs.
35 First, as a reminder, we are working at Madison-Swanson and
36 Steamboat Lumps. They’re both located along the West Florida
37 Shelf. Madison-Swanson is about fifty to sixty nautical miles
38 south of Panama City and Steamboat Lumps is west of Tampa.
40 During our surveys, we’re also monitoring a fished area that we
41 call the Twin Ridges, which is exactly what it says it is. It’s
42 two different ridges that are analogous to the ridge that’s
43 located in Madison-Swanson.
45 As a reminder, again, what we’re doing is monitoring trends in
46 gag, primarily, within the two MPAs. These were set aside as an
47 experiment to determine whether or not MPAs can protect spawning
48 aggregations of gag grouper and so I’m going to focus on gag,
1 though we have noticed over 160 taxa during our surveys. I’ll
2 also present information on red grouper, scamp, and red snapper
3 as well.
5 One thing to keep in mind, or two things to keep in mind, when
6 you’re trying to consider whether the MPAs have been working or
7 not, is what might happen with an MPA. One thing you should
8 expect to see is an increase in abundance of the protected
9 species and another thing might be an increase in their size.
11 Our objective since 2001 has been to first establish baseline
12 estimates. This was done in 2001 and describe habitat features
13 and species assemblages and habitat relationships. I’m not
14 going to talk about that today, but I do have some slides, if
15 anyone is interested in it later, and what I’m really going to
16 talk about is any changes in abundance of gag.
18 One of the first things we did is have these two areas mapped
19 with multibeam bathymetry. We used these to identify strata
20 within Madison-Swanson and Steamboat Lumps and we’ve been
21 conducting annual surveys since 2001 using video gear. What
22 I’ll do today is compare what’s been occurring within the two
23 MPAs, between that and what’s been occurring along the Florida
24 Shelf, West Florida Shelf, data that we collect during our Gulf-
25 wide SEAMAP video surveys.
27 This is the gear that we’ve been using. It’s a camera array.
28 This is baited with squid and soaks on the bottom for thirty
31 We randomly select one camera for viewing. This is a time
32 consuming process and so only one camera gets selected. Twenty
33 minutes of video are actually viewed and we determine an
34 estimator that we call a minimum count.
36 This is the maximum number of any particular fish, species of
37 fish, in the field of view at one instance. We also classify
38 habitat and try to estimate the relative proportions in the
39 field of view.
41 This is Madison-Swanson. Madison-Swanson was divided into
42 initially seven strata, though that was only in 2001. We’ve
43 since only used five strata. Number 1 is the northeast region,
44 Stratum 2 is ridge-like feature in the northeast, Stratum 3 is a
45 large central area, Stratum 4 are the pinnacles located in the
46 southern part, and Stratum 5 is a series of mounds right
47 practically in the middle.
1 Steamboat Lumps, again, we divide it into five strata: a
2 northeast region with some dunes; a small Stratum 2, which is an
3 area of pits that were excavated most probably by red grouper;
4 Stratum 3 is a large central area; Stratum 4 is to the south and
5 it’s a ridge, an old paleoshoreline; and then Stratum 5 is a
6 sloping, hard, ridge-like feature.
8 These are the Twin Ridges. One thing I failed to point out is
9 the sizes of these two areas. The total area of Madison-Swanson
10 is about 360 or so square kilometers. We only view or survey
11 266 square kilometers and the amount of habitat where we
12 regularly see gag is only fifty-nine square kilometers.
14 Steamboat Lumps is a little smaller. We only survey 216 square
15 kilometers and just Stratum 5 is where notice gag and that’s
16 only about two square kilometers in size. The Twin Ridges area
17 has about five square kilometers of habitat.
19 For comparative purposes, we’re taking a look at the abundances
20 of gag and a couple of other groupers along the West Florida
21 Shelf. These are data collected during a SEAMAP video survey
22 that goes from Brownsville, Texas to the Dry Tortugas and this
23 shows our primary sampling units. The same camera methodology
24 is used, thirty minutes soaks and twenty minutes of video are
27 Where have we been noticing gag? Basically, all along the shelf
28 edge and mostly north of Pulley Ridge, which is the area just
29 northwest of the Dry Tortugas, but gag are in abundance from the
30 Mobile Pinnacles all the way through Steamboat Lumps and the
31 Florida Middle Grounds.
33 The highest abundances we’ve noticed actually have been in
34 Madison-Swanson. These are the data collected from Madison-
35 Swanson. It’s very small, I’m sorry. It’s mostly zero
36 observations in the central portion, but the highest
37 concentrations are along the ridge, the pinnacles to the south
38 and the mounds.
40 I’m going to show you two sets of slides for the abundance
41 estimates. One is nominal data and this is just the straight
42 index of abundance, numbers of fish and minimum counts of fish.
43 The error bars here are one standard error and then we’ll also
44 standardize these to the mean of each of these time series. It
45 lets you compare the trends in abundance a little easier between
46 the surveys.
48 This shows the SEAMAP survey in the blue diamonds. The survey
1 extends back to 1992, but I’m only showing the data here that
2 overlaps the years that the MPA surveys have been conducted.
3 Along the eastern Gulf of Mexico, gag have been increasing in
4 abundance through 2005 and since then, they’ve declined.
6 In Madison-Swanson, they’ve increased through 2003, a dip in
7 2004, back up in 2005 and again, they’re decreasing. You’re
8 going to see the same pattern for all the fish I show you. This
9 is the standardized index and again, you can see in the most
10 recent years that gag are declining within Madison-Swanson and
11 the West Florida Shelf.
13 Twin Ridges is the little pink. It peaked in 2003 and it’s
14 declined and has been relatively level since then. Steamboat
15 Lumps, you can barely see in the nominal index, because the
16 numbers are so low.
18 However, when you standardize it, you can see, again, the same
19 peak for Twin Ridges in 2003 and that there was a peak abundance
20 of gag, although it was a very low number, in 2006 at Steamboat
21 Lumps and it dropped back down in 2007.
23 Red grouper, again, here a general increase in the SEAMAP survey
24 through 2005 and it’s decreased since then. In Madison-Swanson,
25 there was a general increase until 2006, with the most recent
26 data point down again. Again, in the standardized index, you
27 can see the same downward trend in the most recent year. There
28 are no differences between the MPA and the eastern Gulf of
31 Within Twin Ridges, there’s been an increase through 2005 and a
32 decrease in 2006 and slightly up again in 2007. Steamboat
33 Lumps, the numbers are low. The numbers are low. The
34 standardized index, you can really pick this out, what’s going
35 on in Steamboat Lumps, a little bit better. It peaked in 2002
36 and we had a data holiday in 2003 and 2004, because of weather,
37 and down in 2005, but up again in the most recent years,
38 different than what’s been going on. In Twin Ridges, it peaked
39 in 2005 and has been down since then.
41 Scamp, it’s a similar pattern. It increases from 2003 to 2005
42 and in most recent years, a decline, both on the eastern Gulf of
43 Mexico and within Madison-Swanson. It’s a little bit better to
44 see that with a standardized index, a general decline in the
45 most recent years.
47 Within Twin Ridges, it peaked in 2003 and a slow decline since
48 then. Again, numbers in Steamboat Lumps, the yellow or greenest
1 squares, have been very low. It’s a general decline to level
2 trends within the Twin Ridges and, again, in Steamboat Lumps, a
3 decline in most recent years.
5 Red snapper, the largest abundance we noticed with Madison-
6 Swanson was the very first year. It dipped down and then came
7 back up again slightly in 2005 and again, the most recent years
8 are down.
10 Within the eastern Gulf of Mexico, going back to 1992, there’s
11 been a general increase until 2004. With the latest years,
12 again, a decrease in abundance. You can see that again with the
13 standardized indices, declines in the most recent years.
15 At the Twin Ridges, red snapper have been up and down. It
16 peaked really in 2004 and 2005 and decreased again in 2006 and
17 it’s slightly up again in 2007. Steamboat Lumps, the numbers
18 are very low, but they peaked. You can see the big data point
19 in 2006 and it crashed back down again in 2007.
21 Twin Ridges, there’s been really no change over the time series
22 and so what’s been going on? We almost have two separate
23 periods and this been occurring along the eastern Gulf of Mexico
24 in the MPAs and in Twin Ridges. The Twin Ridges is not
27 We did see gradual increases from 2003 to 2005 for both the
28 eastern Gulf of Mexico and Madison-Swanson and little changes in
29 Steamboat Lumps. However, what’s very depressing here is the
30 decreases we’ve noticed recently, declines in Madison-Swanson
31 for gag and red grouper, scamp and red snapper decreases,
32 mimicking what’s been going on in Madison-Swanson for all those
33 species, with a little bit of mixed results, either no change or
34 an increase or a decrease, at Steamboat Lumps or at Twin Ridges.
36 We use non-destructive gear and so we get very little size
37 information. The way we get a size estimate is the use of
38 lasers that have been placed above and below our camera. If a
39 fish swims in the middle of them, you get an estimate and so you
40 get very low numbers.
42 Hopefully in 2008, we’ll be switching to stereo cameras. The
43 gear is being put together right now and hopefully it will be in
44 operation by January and we’ll be able to get size estimates on
45 every single fish we see, but what all this says is that there’s
46 been no change in size since 2001.
48 The averages here are not significantly different from each
1 other. They’re all in the means of around 700 millimeters and
2 so there’s been no increase in gag and these are all from
5 In summary, Steamboat Lumps has very little habitat and very low
6 numbers of gag. It’s also very small in size, at least the
7 habitat that’s prime gag habitat. It’s only two square
10 In Madison-Swanson and Twin Ridges and the eastern Gulf of
11 Mexico, there’s been a general decrease in groupers and red
12 snapper in the most recent years and for gag within Madison-
13 Swanson, there’s been no change, no increase or decrease, in the
14 size of gag that we’re observing.
16 Poaching is an issue. Andy is going to address that next and
17 one other thing that’s important in considering the usefulness
18 of MPAs is how much habitat you’ve set aside. The gag habitat
19 within Madison-Swanson is only about 5 percent of the area that
20 we actually survey during the SEAMAP surveys in the eastern Gulf
21 of Mexico.
23 I’m not saying we survey during SEAMAP all habitat, but most of
24 the topographic features that have been mapped out in the
25 eastern Gulf of Mexico. In Steamboat Lumps, that percentage is
26 less than a tenth of a percent.
28 Funding from this has been initially from MARFIN and then the
29 Coral Reef Initiative. We’ve been using the Caretta, Gandy, and
30 the NOAA ship Oregon II. There are a slew of people that have
31 to view these videotapes and go out to sea. I would especially
32 like to acknowledge Kevin, Paul, and Brandy. Their efforts
33 enabled us to get the 2007 data point this year. They did a lot
34 of work. Now I’m going to turn this over to Andy David.
36 DR. ANDY DAVID: The work I’m going to talk about first was not
37 done by NOAA Fisheries. This was done by the University of
38 Miami, but while we have a good handle on what’s going on with
39 the fish, we really have no idea what’s happening with the
40 fishing effort and this study has done something to address that
43 This was an aerial survey that was conducted by Steve Smith at
44 the University of Miami. The area that he has surveyed is the
45 longer box south of the Cape San Blas area. The brighter red
46 area is an Air Force bombing range and so they don’t fly the
47 NOAA planes in there very often. This was using a NOAA plane,
48 but it was contracted to the University of Miami.
2 As I said, Steve Smith conducted this. He looked at 3,200
3 square miles. Essentially, they flew two passes every day, from
4 the forty-fathom contour off of Tampa up along the shelf break
5 to an area south of Panama City, where they flew in and refueled
6 and ate lunch and went back.
8 They randomized whether they flew the inshore half or the
9 offshore half each time. This was done from a Shrike airplane
10 flying at a thousand feet.
12 They used georeferenced cameras and so when they saw a vessel
13 fishing or transiting, they would take pictures of it, from the
14 side first, to tell what kind of vessel it was and get some idea
15 of what they were doing, and then from directly overhead, where
16 they have a GPS hooked up to the camera so they know exactly
17 where the boat is fishing. If it’s close to an edge or the
18 border of one of the MPAs, they can tell precisely whether it’s
19 inside or outside.
21 The MPAs are just over two hundred square miles. They were just
22 under 7 percent of the area surveyed by the plane. The flights
23 were stratified by three factors. One, the time of year,
24 whether it was a spawning season for the target species or not,
25 the commercial and recreational closed seasons for grouper and
26 snapper, and also the day of the week, whether it was the middle
27 of the week or a weekend or a holiday. We were looking at
28 commercial and recreational. Commercial boats would likely be
29 out at any time of the week, but recreational boats have higher
30 activity during the weekend.
32 There were forty-nine flights made. Twenty-four of them were
33 considered to be the spawning season time, between January and
34 April, and twenty-five were the summertime, between May and
37 These are some of the photos that were taken. They may be a
38 little far away. They’re a little far away from me, from where
39 I’m standing, but when you look at the photos they’ve taken,
40 they’re very clear. You can count the number of people on the
41 boat and if you knew who owned the boat, you could probably
42 identify the people onboard.
44 I think Chris and I are actually on the back deck of the Caretta
45 in the lower right-hand photo there. That’s the NOAA vessel.
46 There’s really pretty definitive photos of what type of boat it
47 was, whether it was transiting or motionless, anchored or
48 running, whether there was fishing gear in use or stowed.
2 I would like to point out in the CDs I think that were
3 distributed that the headboats are listed as commercial boats
4 and I’ve since been told that Steve actually included those as
5 recreational boats. The recreational boats were all those
6 through which the anglers were using the recreational bag
9 Just some of his results -- He plans to issue a full report on
10 this, but we thought it was important at this time, as you’re
11 discussing it, to get some preliminaries. He saw just under a
12 thousand boats during these flights. I believe it was 994 boats
13 and they were a fair parity between the two seasons.
15 However, there were quite a few more commercial vessels than
16 there were recreational vessels. In the wintertime period,
17 about three-quarters of the boats were commercial and just under
18 12 percent recreational and a few that were in the Other
19 Category, which would be freighters, Coast Guard vessels,
20 research vessels.
22 In the summertime, it was a little higher number of recreational
23 boats. They were almost 35 percent. The commercial boats were
24 a little over 50 percent and roughly the same number of others.
25 About three-quarters of the commercial boats that they saw were
26 actively fishing, whereas it was somewhere right around 70
27 percent of the recreational boats seen were fishing.
29 The majority of the other vessels, as I said, were freighters,
30 about three-quarters of those. It’s important to point out that
31 this data was collected for scientific purposes only. There
32 were no enforcement actions taken from this. Even though there
33 were photos of vessels taken, they weren’t used for anything
34 other than identifying what type of boat it was and where it was
35 when it was seen.
37 These very hard to see shots are distributions of the different
38 types of vessels by the different types of seasons. The four
39 panels on the left only include the boats that were seen
40 fishing, whereas -- Actually, it includes all the boats that
41 were seen, but the numbers in the panels there are only the
42 boats that were seen fishing.
44 What we see here is the commercial boats had a smaller
45 percentage of boats that were seen fishing in the closed areas,
46 but they had a larger total number. The recreational boats had
47 a higher percentage of boats fishing in the closed area, but
48 their total number was smaller.
2 The total number of boats was greater for commercial, but the
3 recreational were a higher percentage. You can see, and
4 hopefully it’s clearer on the handouts, that the larger number
5 of recreational boats were clustered up at the northern end, at
6 the Madison-Swanson end of the survey track. That’s the closest
7 point to land.
9 The majority of the non-fishing vessels generally were freighter
10 traffic moving in and out of the Port of Tampa and you can see
11 almost a line across the lower portion of the plots and there
12 really is a fair parity between the winter season and the summer
13 season in this.
15 This is just a close-up of the northern end, for say
16 recreational vessels for the summertime. You can see the red
17 box sort of in the bottom portion of it, that’s the Madison-
18 Swanson area. You can see -- Whether or not we found there to
19 be any spillover effect, it’s difficult to dissect from the
20 data, but certainly the fishing community believes there may be,
21 because there’s an awful lot of fishing along the edge of this
24 We were also asked to address a series of questions by the
25 council. All of the questions that were given to us, some of
26 them were beyond the scope of what our project is aiming to
27 address and so we’ll try to answer them as best we can.
29 The first is how do we define a successful MPA and what criteria
30 do we use to measure success? I guess a successful MPA is one
31 that achieves its goals. Different MPAs have different goals.
32 In our case, or this case, the goals were to protect gag
33 spawning aggregations and to provide locations to assess the
34 efficacy or the practicality of marine reserves to protect these
35 spawning aggregations.
37 Using these criteria, the Madison-Swanson MPA has had mixed
38 results. After several years of a gradual increase, gag
39 abundance within Madison has declined since 2005. A similar
40 decline from 2004 through 2006 has been observed for the Greater
41 West Florida Shelf and so at best, we could say these two MPAs
42 have not been able to provide consistent protection for gag.
44 The second question is have you seen any changes in the male to
45 female gag ratio, the sex ratio here, both within the closed
46 areas and within the general gag population that might be
47 attributable to these reserves and how do you attribute the
48 change to any areas outside the reserve?
2 Since our survey uses a non-destructive sampling technique -- It
3 doesn’t seem to make much sense to catch and kill a couple
4 hundred gag from your closed area to tell what sex they are if
5 you’re trying to protect them and so we use a non-destructive
6 photographic method.
8 While you can tell some pigmentation from the video data,
9 whether a gag looks like it’s a copper belly or not, using
10 visual data from fish that are alive underwater has proven
11 extremely unreliable.
13 Using visual data from fish in a fish house that are dead,
14 copper bellies that are dead tend to be males, at a much greater
15 rate than copper bellies, or apparent copper bellies, that you
16 see swimming along the bottom. There are a very large number of
17 fish swimming in the water that look like they may be males, but
18 they aren’t.
20 Since our survey does not do this, we really can’t address this
21 question. However, it should be pointed out that gag
22 populations are driven by these episodically high and strong
23 year classes and there’s a lot of skewing of sex ratios that can
24 go on by very large influxes of females coming into the
27 We’re also interested in removing males from the large size
28 range of the population, but we just wanted to stress that
29 that’s not the only way that you can change sex ratios and I may
30 have a slide about that.
32 The third question is have you seen any changes in abundance,
33 size, or distribution of gag outside the MPAs that could be
34 attributed to them and if so, how is it attributed to the
35 reserves and not other regulatory actions that have changed over
36 the last seven years?
38 The index of abundance of gag on the West Florida Shelf has
39 decreased in the last two years and we see no evidence, really,
40 of a spillover effect. There’s not a concomitant increase in
41 the adjacent open to fishing area.
43 However, the aerial survey does indicate that at least portions
44 of the fishing community believe there is some sort of a
45 spillover effect, because they certainly are spending a lot of
46 time fishing the edges of Madison-Swanson, not so much with
47 Steamboat Lumps.
1 Then we had three questions that were really beyond the scope of
2 our project. These were general MPA questions on larger scale,
3 are there any measurable impacts of marine reserves that can be
4 incorporated into the stock assessments and if so, how do you
5 measure the impacts?
7 The next one was do you feel that marine reserves are an
8 effective way to control fishing mortality on a stock? Lastly,
9 is there any evidence that marine reserves increase yields
10 outside the reserves or inside?
12 Those really are well beyond the scope of what we are trying to
13 do, which was strictly look at an experimental protection of a
14 small area for one specific purpose, which is the male gag on
15 spawning aggregations. However, these questions have been
16 addressed by others.
18 I would point out the Halperin paper of 2003. In fact, the
19 entire volume of ecological applications that that paper is
20 written in is a -- It’s a supplement and it’s devoted entirely
21 to MPAs and so there’s a large range of things you can look at
22 in there that address the different factors that make MPAs
23 successful, depending upon the goals that you set up when you
24 start them.
26 On Number 7, do you feel that the MPAs can have large-scale
27 benefits or are the benefits primarily localized in the
28 immediate areas in and near the MPA? They certainly can have
29 large-scale benefits, particularly for species such as gag, ones
30 that have strong site fidelity to a well defined habitat type,
31 to a well defined spawning aggregation on a reef, for example.
33 Coupling these characteristics with the hermaphroditic life
34 history of gag, where the large numbers or all of the
35 individuals in the population are exposed to fishing pressure
36 long before they can attain sexual maturity or switch to males
37 and so you have a good chance that you can skew your sex ratio
38 just with heavy fishing pressure, before you have enough fish
39 even switch to male and allow sexual reproduction to occur.
41 There are some caveats here. The strongest one assumes that
42 closed areas are of sufficient size to protect enough
43 individuals to maintain a genetic diversity within the stock and
44 produce enough propagule to populate the entire range.
46 Size and the next question, which addresses poaching, those seem
47 to be the two driving forces of whether the MPAs are successful,
48 is it large enough to actually do the job and protect the home
1 range of the fish you’re looking to protect and are you
2 enforcing it?
4 That brings up the last question, Number 8, do you think
5 poaching in Madison-Swanson has adversely affected the results
6 and if so, in which years was that a big problem? The simple
7 answer is yes, we saw poaching almost every year we were out
8 there. There was only one year, I believe, that we saw no
9 poaching and that was about in the middle of the project.
11 The aerial indicates about 2 percent of the commercial vessels
12 and somewhere between 3 and 5 percent of the recreational
13 vessels were fishing within MPAs.
15 We’ve spent well over a hundred days at sea in these sites since
16 this project began in January of 2001 and during that time, we
17 saw gradual increases in the amount of poaching, particularly in
18 Madison, that started out at fairly low levels and increased
19 each year until the middle of the project.
21 At that point, there was a fairly high profile enforcement
22 action and a very significant fine handed to a captain and an
23 owner and it was as if a light switch had been turned off. The
24 boats just were no longer there. We went for an entire year and
25 we did not see any poaching at all after that.
27 Subsequently, poaching has gradually increased again and we see
28 boats that are anchored with fishing gear over the side and so
29 it’s not -- We don’t think we’re misrepresenting what they’re
30 doing. That peaked in 2007. I would say we saw more boats
31 fishing in 2007 than we did in any of the previous years,
34 I guess we’ll just wrap that up with that. There are a couple
35 of more slides, if the council is interested and the committee
36 is interested in seeing them, that touch on some of the gag
37 SEDAR information. There’s five of them and would you like to
38 see those or would you like me to stop at this point?
40 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I think we’ve got a lot of questions for you
41 guys and so we might be better off to go on to those questions.
42 Thank you. That was a good presentation. There’s a lot of
43 hands up already.
45 MS. WALKER: When you talked about poaching and you identified
46 poaching as maybe one of the reasons why these closed areas
47 didn’t work and yet, you showed us graphs with Twin Ridges, I
48 think you called it, where fishing is allowed and that was the
1 only area that showed any level or increasing.
3 Can you help me understand how poaching on that area would
4 affect it any more than Twin Ridges, which is allowed fishing
5 year-round? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
7 DR. DAVID: Any fishing in the MPA would be poaching, right?
8 Almost no fishing on the open area would be poaching, except
9 when it’s during the closed month, when you have closed it for
10 spawning aggregation protection. There’s several things -- The
11 only thing that should be driving down the populations in the
12 closed areas, from a fishing mortality standpoint, would be
15 Outside of the closed areas, there’s legal fishing, but there’s
16 also recruitment rate changes. I can tell by the look on your
17 face that I’m not answering your question in the way that you
18 would like.
20 MS. WALKER: The same thing is happening in Twin Ridges as in
21 Madison-Swanson, except that in Twin Ridges, people are actually
22 fishing there. When you talked about the boats that you saw in
23 the area and you mentioned some recreational boats, the National
24 Marine Fisheries Service allows trolling in those areas. Were
25 you able to determine how many were trolling as opposed to
26 bottom fishing?
28 The one answer that I need more than anything is why are we
29 seeing a reduction in these closed areas due to poaching and
30 yet, we’re seeing level stock or increased stock in open areas
31 that are open year-round to fishing?
33 DR. GLEDHILL: First, in general, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico
34 there’s a decline. There’s a decline everywhere. Twin Ridges
35 is a very small feature. It’s only about eight miles long and
36 it’s very narrow, less than five square kilometers, and gag
37 there are declining. It was red snapper or red grouper that
38 might have been increasing toward the end, but there is a
39 general decrease everywhere in the Gulf of Mexico.
41 If you’re protecting things, if there were no poaching in a
42 protected area, you might expect them, rather than following
43 what the rest of the eastern Gulf of Mexico was doing, you would
44 expect the opposite. You would expect numbers to go up.
46 This has been shown again and again. It’s been shown especially
47 most recently with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary,
48 the closed areas where there are distinct increases in abundance
1 of many species that are targeted by fishermen within the
2 protected areas and level or decreases outside of those areas.
3 As far as why Twin Ridges is different for like red grouper, I
4 can’t answer that. I don’t know.
6 MS. WALKER: One other comment I wanted to make, Mr. Chairman,
7 and this is the last one, is I don’t know what MRFSS says for
8 Wave 4 on grouper, but I do know that off the west coast of
9 Florida for Wave 4 that MRFSS reported a 62 percent increase in
10 landings of red snapper for recreational anglers, which
11 something is not right.
13 DR. SHIPP: Both Chris and Andy, first of all, you know I’m a
14 real fan of fishery independent research and I just love this
15 kind of stuff, but I’m a little concerned about your comments on
16 all the species in the eastern Gulf trending down.
18 When I hear the word “trend”, I think multiyear trends. I think
19 in every instance, from 2001 on, if you started at the 2001
20 base, you would see the stocks higher in 2007 than in 2001.
21 Some of your stocks, your trend is just one year and some are
22 two. Don’t you -- Let me put it this way. I guess what I’m
23 saying is I’m really encouraging this to go on for three or five
24 or ten more years, so that we get a multiyear trend, rather than
25 just making conclusions based on one or two years.
27 DR. GLEDHILL: Absolutely. I think you’re right. One data
28 point or two data points, a trend do not make, but from 2005,
29 2006, and 2007, they’re all sequentially lower than each other,
30 especially for gag, but you’re right that we need more years.
31 As far as assessing the MPA, what’s very disheartening is that
32 it’s the same trends within protected areas as areas that aren’t
35 MR. SIMPSON: I’m not on your committee, but a question, Chris
36 and Andy. Did you make any attempt to correlate trip tickets
37 and recreational data landings off of Florida for those
38 particular areas, to see if there’s a concomitant increase,
39 since there’s more poaching and more utilization of those closed
42 DR. GLEDHILL: No, I didn’t, but as far as I know, with the trip
43 tickets, the scale or the geographic --
45 DR. DAVID: The statistical reporting zone is very large.
47 DR. GLEDHILL: Yes, it’s very large.
1 DR. DAVID: You would have a very difficult time resolving where
2 the landings were reported from.
4 MR. SIMPSON: The answer is you haven’t?
6 DR. DAVID: Correct, no.
8 MR. PERRET: Chris and Andy, the effectiveness of MPAs, you
9 mentioned several times they can be effective if the areas are
10 large enough. What’s large enough? If the reef area is so many
11 square kilometers, do the experts in this area feel that the
12 MPAs should be a certain percentage larger? Just what are we
13 talking about when we say large enough?
15 DR. DAVID: It depends on the movements of the fish. Say if you
16 have a fish that never swims around an area any larger than that
17 table in the middle, clearly then if you protected an area of
18 the table plus three or four feet around it, that would be large
19 enough. That fish would never be exposed to fishing pressure
20 and so you would protect him year after year. He would do his
21 thing and increase the population.
23 If that fish has a home range that he runs around in every year
24 that’s the size of the opening here between all the tables and
25 you protect an area of the small table plus two feet, he’ll be
26 protected at certain points of the year, at certain points of
27 his movements, but he swims back out and he’s vulnerable a lot.
28 You only have to catch him once to make him --
30 Large enough depends upon the demographic of the species you’re
31 after, what is its home range for the life stage that you’re
32 trying to protect.
34 DR. GLEDHILL: There’s another issue here in affecting the
35 actual population dynamics of the entire stock and the general
36 theory of that is that the percentage of the habitat you would
37 want to set aside would be similar to what the percent spawning
38 potential ratio of that stock might be. Jim Bohnsack keeps
39 mentioning 20 to 30 percent of the habitat, but, again, you look
40 at the percent SPR figures.
42 DR. DAVID: If you look at the literature that we’ve referred
43 to, most of those papers have somewhere between 25 and 30 and
44 some as high as 40 or 50 percent of the habitat of a species
45 that was protected to have population level effects.
47 MR. PERRET: If I understand you correctly, if we want an MPA
48 for bluefin tuna, we’re talking about the world oceans.
2 DR. DAVID: Half of it.
4 CHAIRMAN MINTON: That would be real popular.
6 DR. DAVID: Extremely popular.
8 MS. MORRIS: I have a couple of comments and a couple of
9 questions. First, the questions. You showed us a close-up of
10 recreational fishing activity around Madison-Swanson, but you
11 didn’t give us a comparable image about commercial activity
12 around Madison-Swanson.
14 I’m looking at it in the slide and it’s little, but could you
15 just elaborate on the combination of your own experience doing
16 fieldwork and these flyovers that the University of Miami did,
17 characterize the commercial activity within Madison-Swanson?
19 DR. DAVID: I would say the commercial was a little bit less
20 than the recreational this year. We didn’t pick the figure that
21 we showed from Steve’s slide to blow up to pick on one side or
22 the other. We used it more as an example of spillover effect
23 rather than to show that one group or the other was fishing
24 inside more than the other.
26 In some information he sent us late Friday afternoon,
27 essentially what Steve says -- His analysis is the commercial
28 boats treat -- They fish in a way that makes the borders of the
29 MPA at Steamboat Lumps indistinguishable in the summertime.
30 Essentially, it’s worded in a somewhat awkward way. I’m sure it
31 will be in his final report, which he’ll provide to you.
33 The way the boats treated themselves along that habitat was not
34 any different than it would be if there were no MPAs. Now,
35 that’s the commercial boats in the summer at Steamboat.
37 Commercial boats at Madison-Swanson, the MPA border was present
38 in the distribution of those boats. For recreational boats,
39 they weren’t very -- There were few of them in Steamboat Lumps
40 and they did not fish -- They appeared to respect the borders of
41 the Steamboat Lumps. The recreational boats could not be
42 distinguished. Their distribution did not distinguish the
43 Madison-Swanson borders in either the summer or the winter.
45 DR. GLEDHILL: I have one other comment about that slide that
46 you’re talking about. A lot of that distribution is because
47 that ridge feature in the northeast section just continues to
48 the north and to the west. They’re just following that ridge
1 line. It’s really good habitat for snappers and groupers. It’s
2 more than just about spillover there. It’s about habitat as
5 MS. MORRIS: I have another question and then a comment. The
6 question is in other presentations we’ve heard from you all,
7 you’re talked about the site fidelity of both gag and red
8 snapper at Madison-Swanson. My recollection of that is that
9 there’s very strong site fidelity for the gags and the red
10 snapper. Could you elaborate on that?
12 DR. GLEDHILL: I’ll let the man who does all that work answer
13 that. Chris Koenig, are you here?
15 MS. MORRIS: He’s up later. I’ll ask him when he’s up.
17 DR. GLEDHILL: All that comes from Chris.
19 MS. MORRIS: Then my comment. The poaching has really been a
20 problem at Madison-Swanson and it seems like your comments
21 support that conclusion. Am I wrong about that, that poaching
22 has been a problem at Madison-Swanson?
24 DR. DAVID: We want to be clear that our observations are
25 anecdotal. We don’t write down how many we see and we don’t
26 call enforcement. We’re trying to stick strictly on counting
27 and measuring and locating the fish.
29 We see more boats in one day in 2007 than we did in 2004 during
30 the entire year, for example. When trends -- Even if it may be
31 a trend with two points -- When the change from zero boats in
32 one year to five or six boats in one day at the same time,
33 that’s a change that’s hard to miss and so we do see an increase
34 in recent years in people fishing out there where they shouldn’t
35 be and this is during the time of the year when there’s no
36 fishing whatsoever allowed. Surface trolling is not allowed
37 between October and May and we were out there in February and
40 MS. MORRIS: Finally, my comment is, as we all know, we now on
41 the commercial fleet have VMS and so we have an enforcement tool
42 that’s just come into play the spring of this year that we
43 haven’t had in this commercial fishery in the past and it’s a
44 key component towards testing whether this reserve idea works or
47 Without that enforcement, obviously we can’t really test the
48 feasibility of the reserves for that goal and we have at least
1 anecdotal evidence, and some aerial photography evidence, that
2 fishing has been taking place within the reserves.
4 MR. ATRAN: You mentioned, when you described your sampling
5 method, that it’s the camera type method and you indicated that
6 you can’t do a real good job of separating males from females.
7 One of the primary objectives of these two reserves was
8 specifically to protect the male population, which our
9 understanding is they tend to stay offshore in these areas,
10 whereas the females will do onshore/offshore spawning
13 Right now, I guess the females are making 95 percent plus of the
14 total population. Since the females are only protected a
15 portion of the time, I really wouldn’t expect to see much
16 response if you’re just looking at a total population census.
18 Is there any way that you could add in the ability to
19 differentiate males from females and monitor specifically the
20 male population to see if there’s been any changes there,
21 perhaps a tagging study added on to this?
23 DR. DAVID: To do it non-destructively would be difficult and
24 really, Chris Koenig’s work is probably better than ours. We
25 don’t have -- NOAA won’t let us do some of the diving that he’s
26 able to do to catch those fish at the depths at which they exist
27 in Madison-Swanson and bring them to the surface without
28 significant barotrauma to cause their death.
30 We just can’t do that, but he’s doing it and doing it well and
31 so we don’t see any -- We think it’s better not to duplicate
32 efforts. He has a handle on that and is addressing that well
33 and we’re trying to address a different question. I think the
34 sex ratio issue is something that Chris Koenig is addressing.
36 DR. GLEDHILL: One other thing, you just mentioned male sex
37 ratios and the gag that we observe, almost 40 percent of them, I
38 think about 40 percent, we see are copper bellied from the
39 video. We certainly don’t believe there’s 40 percent male sex
40 ratio out there, but on the video, you can see about 40 percent
41 of them that are copper bellied.
43 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you very much. We appreciate you taking
44 the time. Since we just mentioned Felicia and Chris, I think
45 we’re ready to move into that report now. Thank you again.
47 MR. ATRAN: Just to let you know, there is a middle item there
48 that I was going to give on a memo that I received from Alex
1 Chester in response to some questions we put forward to him. In
2 any event, that memo is now out of date, because the information
3 we received, which was basically that they hadn’t worked up the
4 2006 and the 2007 data yet, has been updated by the presentation
5 that we just got and so I would suggest we just skip over that.
7 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Go ahead, Felicia.
9 DR. FELICIA COLEMAN: Is all right if Chris goes first?
11 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Whatever you all want to do.
13 DR. CHRIS KOENIG: Many of you have seen some of the data that
14 I’m going to present here and so this is by way of review and
15 I’ve been asked to make it fairly quick and so I’m going to zip
18 This is work that we’ve done in Madison-Swanson and over about a
19 three-year period. We did a number of different things, but
20 I’ll go over the sex ratio detail in fair detail and not just
21 simply the percentages that are historical and the percentages
22 that are recent.
24 This is a catch I thought you would be interested in that was
25 given to me by a high-end charterboat fisherman, Danny
26 Tankersly, which a friend of his gave him, of a catch on
27 Madison-Swanson, on that lower ridge that Andy and Chris showed,
28 in about a half day’s fishing. Most of those big fish are
29 warsaw and the other are gag.
31 Starting out on the shelf edge, that habitat is very important
32 for gag. All of our data indicate that they spawn on the shelf
33 edge exclusively. They typically don’t spawn any shallower than
34 about 140 feet of depth. Most of it is along the forty-fathom
37 Larvae spend about six weeks in the plankton and they settle out
38 exclusively in estuaries. Sea grass appears to be the dominant
39 juvenile habitat. After about six months in the sea grass beds,
40 they move to shallow reefs and spend the remaining three to four
41 years on those reefs and then become entrained into the female
44 During the spawning season or just prior to the spawning season,
45 the females move to these pre-aggregation sites, sort of staging
46 areas. Those staging areas can be in fairly shallow water,
47 eighty feet or less, or way out to the shelf edge. The Florida
48 Middle Grounds are considered a staging area or pre-spawning
1 area for gag, as told to me by a lot of commercial fishermen.
3 They move out to the shelf edge and spawn with the males that
4 remain out there. The males don’t go into shallow water, as far
5 as we’re aware, and then a majority of them move back into the
6 shelf edge after the spawning season is over.
8 What started a lot of this concern about the male reproductive
9 issue was the sex ratio declines that were observed between the
10 1970s in a study that was done in the Gulf of Mexico and the
11 South Atlantic Council. Both showed approximate percent males
12 that were 17 percent.
14 Then in the recent times, the late 1990s, studies were done that
15 showed that the sex ratio in the Gulf was 2 to 4 percent and 3
16 to 5 percent in the Atlantic and those sex ratios presumably
19 This just shows the estimate of fishing impact in the 1970s, or
20 when the historical data were taken, relative to recent. You
21 can see it wasn’t zero and so the sex ratio was apparently being
22 affected even then, in the past times. To give a little bit
23 more detail, the historical male/female size frequencies looked
24 like the upper panel in the past and now it looks like the lower
27 The vertical dashed line is actually the one meter line and so
28 you can see that the females are on average smaller than larger,
29 that hip of females that occurred then is not there and then the
30 male population is very low, as you can see in the lower panel.
32 Presented in a different way, what I did is I broke the year up
33 into three biologically relevant timeframes. December to March
34 is the aggregation period, including pre-spawning aggregation
35 and the spawning aggregation, and then April through July is the
36 post-spawning period. It’s very important for a transitional
37 time in these fish and then August through November is the pre-
38 spawning period, when these fish appear to be fattening up for
39 the spawning season.
41 You can see the blue is the historical percent males in those
42 periods and the red is the recent percent males. You can see
43 that there’s a jump during the post-spawning period in the
44 percent males and this is all the data that I could get from the
45 Gulf and the South Atlantic regions put together. This is the
46 pattern that occurred.
48 If you look at the percent of the males that were in transition,
1 that is were half female and half male, on their way to becoming
2 males, full-fledged reproductive males, again, the historical is
3 the blue and the recent is the red. You can see that there’s a
4 small amount of percentage of the males that are transitional
5 during the December/March period and it jumps dramatically.
7 Those are significant differences between the historical and the
8 present in the April through July post-spawning period and these
9 are fairly large ends to show this is occurring. Those are
10 significant, whereas historically, they weren’t significant.
12 If you look at the catch of males, I’ve got two data sources for
13 that. Those are the upper two panels. One is the seventeen-
14 year long log of a commercial fisherman who fished out of Panama
15 City and that shows a jump in the percent males during the post-
16 spawning period and then the second dataset was collected by
17 Alan Collins and his colleagues and published. That also shows
18 a jump in the catch of males, the number of males caught in that
19 post-spawning period.
21 Then what you see in the lower panel is the number of fishing
22 trips during those three periods and so the effort is
23 approximately equal, but there is a jump in the proportion of
26 One of our main objectives in our work was to disentangle the
27 mechanism that was responsible for males being lost under
28 intense fishing pressure and it appeared that the more intense
29 the fishing pressure, the fewer the males in the population.
30 Madison-Swanson, that was one of our major objectives, at least
31 for this presentation. This is what I’m going to look at.
33 Others were home range, as we discussed before, and the third,
34 which we haven’t been able to really figure out in great detail,
35 is what that actually means in terms of reproduction. That’s
36 the sixty-four-dollar question.
38 Along that lower ridge, which is the same one that Chris
39 Gledhill showed, you see all those numbers are spawning
40 aggregation sites. The commercial fishermen, primarily, showed
41 me these spawning aggregation sites. Since then, we’ve
42 discovered a number more. There’s about twenty in there.
44 We compared those spawning aggregation sites with the same type
45 of spawning aggregation sites outside the reserve for a
46 comparison of actual spawning aggregation sites and we learned a
47 fair amount from that.
1 In order to do this work, these fish were brought up from as
2 shallow as about 180 feet to as deep as about 350 feet and the
3 way to do that is, and the only way I’ve been able to figure out
4 to do it, is to go down and vent the fish when the swim bladder
5 gas about doubles in volume.
7 I vent them with a pole spear. I can’t get that video to work
8 with this thing, but there’s a video there and I hit him with a
9 pole spear and you can see the bubbles come out of the fish.
10 It’s very easy to do and so they’re vented before the damaging
11 effects of gas expansion occur and then we haul them to the
12 surface in these traps and then we do various types of sampling
15 We tag them. We put in acoustic tags as well as standard tags.
16 We do gonad biopsies and we do genetic samples and spines and
17 rays. Now the spines and rays provide us aging data and we’ve
18 validated this by comparison with otoliths on some of the fish
19 that died.
21 This is a three-year-old gag, for example, and here’s a five-
22 year-old red snapper. Again, it’s been verified by comparison
23 with otoliths, which have validated in other ways.
25 For acoustically tagged fish, we use these VEMCO receivers that
26 are put down at about a hundred feet below the surface on these
27 moorings and the base there, on the bottom, you can see an
28 anchor and then the black spot there on the line is the receiver
29 and this archives the presence of those individual fish that
30 were tagged over -- We usually sample them between three and six
31 months and then a sub-surface float and then a surface float, to
32 make it easier for us to find them.
34 I only included the male gag data here, because of time
35 constraints, and this is very difficult to see, particularly for
36 me. On the y-axis, you have number of detections per day. In
37 other words, these pingers, these acoustic devices that we put
38 into the body cavity of the fish, are putting out a certain
39 number of pings per day.
41 The maximum number of pings, you can see in the upper left-hand
42 corner of the graph, that cluster up there. It was right after
43 we tagged the fish. The detection range of the receiver is a
44 quarter-mile radius from the spawning site.
46 The fewer the detections in a particular day, the lower a point
47 will be on that graph and so you can see that the fish hung
48 around virtually every day. It visited at least once a day for
1 over 90 percent of the days on that spawning site and this is
2 the same thing true for that fish and this fish moved from one
3 spawning site to another that was about a half-mile away and
4 remained there for the duration.
6 This information then shows us that the males stay on those
7 spawning aggregations year-round. They may shift from one
8 aggregation to another, but they maintain very close contact
9 with those aggregations.
11 The largest migration in a male that we saw was a mile and so
12 the average home range is probably on the order of a quarter of
13 a mile. With the females, it’s a little larger. It’s probably
14 on the order of one to two miles, but we don’t have a lot of
15 data on females and so I don’t feel comfortable with that.
17 As I said, most of the females after the spawning season go back
18 in, but a large percentage stay out there. What we saw in terms
19 of sex ratio was the closure period, you can see from the arrow
20 in the baseline pointing up, that’s the time we started our
21 study. It was 2003, 2004, and 2005.
23 I got this from the Coast Guard representatives and they said
24 that during 2004 and 2005 the Coast Guard assets were devoted
25 completely, almost completely, to the effects of hurricanes,
26 Ivan in 2004 and in 2005, Katrina and Rita. There was virtually
27 no enforcement during those two periods of time and you can see
28 a decline in that proportion of males in the population.
30 As far as the mechanism, again, I’ve cut out a lot here, just to
31 get through this quickly, but the mechanism that we -- Our model
32 mechanism is that thee is a compensatory sex change, which you
33 can see from that one slide of transitional, and it responds to
34 the paucity of males in the population.
36 That sex change takes place only after the aggregation period.
37 Males remain on the aggregation sites all year-round and
38 fishermen fish those same aggregation sites, along with other
39 sites, all year-round.
41 The net effect is that males and transitionals are fished
42 outside the spawning season, that is after the spawning season,
43 and not necessarily during the spawning season. Even the
44 transitional that have not fully formed into males then, we
45 believe, and we’re going to get more data to back that up, hang
46 around those spawning sites year-round and so they too are
47 caught up. That’s basically the model that we’re working with,
48 based upon the data that we have.
2 With other species, we’ve found -- The red is inside the reserve
3 and the blue is outside the reserve, comparing those sites.
4 Again, with validated ages, we’ve got significantly larger
5 fishes and significantly higher ages in the reserve relative to
8 With red snapper, the same thing is true. Those lower two
9 panels, age on the left and size on the right, show that not
10 only is red snapper significantly larger in the reserve than it
11 is outside the reserve over those three years, but it’s
12 significantly increasing. That was a NOVA analysis.
14 Scamp shows a significant increase over our initial study,
15 whereas outside it doesn’t, and amberjack does not show any
16 change, which you would expect with amberjack. With gag, we
17 showed no significant changes inside and out and this brings me
18 to the poaching issue.
20 Poaching on those sites -- Every time we saw poachers, we saw
21 them on those fifteen aggregation sites. The vast majority of
22 the commercial poachers targeted gag and so it’s not surprising
23 to me that we couldn’t show a difference between inside and out.
25 DR. GLEDHILL: What are the three years?
27 DR. KOENIG: 2003, 2004, and 2005.
29 MS. WALKER: Thank you for coming. I’ve got two questions. Why
30 doesn’t it show a decline in males outside the area of Madison-
31 Swanson when it shows a decline of 8 percent to 1 percent inside
34 DR. KOENIG: Those are not significant differences. When you
35 get down into the 5 percent range, those aren’t significant. In
36 other words, the variation in that percentage at that number is
37 not -- They’re essentially the same thing. The only significant
38 difference we saw was in 2003.
40 MS. WALKER: I want to make a comment first. I noticed on the
41 red snapper when you were saying the age was higher in Madison-
42 Swanson, am I correct in that the fish was a year older? It was
43 five instead of four?
45 DR. KOENIG: That was an average value of a year older and I
46 think ten centimeters larger.
48 MS. WALKER: Do you have the data separated out so that we could
1 see just the Gulf? I noted that most of your slides were Gulf
2 and South Atlantic and do you have the Gulf?
4 DR. KOENIG: Only the overall slide that showed the changes in
5 sex ratio from the historical to the present were both the Gulf
6 and South Atlantic. The transitionals were in the Gulf.
8 MS. WALKER: Do you have those slides in just the Gulf, the
9 beginning ones that you showed?
11 DR. KOENIG: It’s even worse. It’s even more dramatic. Yes, I
12 don’t have them in this, because I was told to cut this short,
13 but I just wanted to show you that it was a generalized,
14 regional phenomenon.
16 MS. WALKER: I know that I was hopeful about what was going to
17 happen in the Madison-Swanson and I’ve certainly supported it
18 and I guess I would have to ask you, are you disappointed?
20 DR. KOENIG: I’m very -- You can see what effort I went through
21 and you saw the ends there. That’s the number of fish. Look at
22 there. For gag, four-hundred-and-sixty-something, and each one
23 of those fish had to be personally punctured in order to get
24 them to the surface and back to the bottom alive.
26 That’s an immense amount of effort, let me tell you, diving on
27 every one of those traps and running ten traps a day. It’s a
28 tremendous amount of effort and I could not get -- Every year,
29 from the beginning of that study to now, I give a presentation
30 to the Mobile Air Training Center for the Coast Guard and tell
31 them how important it is to enforce these things, at least as
32 long as I can get these data and find out if these things are
33 working as we expect them to work or as we think they might
36 You know we’ve got fishermen supporting us and we’ve got high-
37 end recreational charterboat fishermen, Danny Tankersly and
38 Chuck Gilford. Those people have been in that area for a long,
39 long time and they’re top-end people, million-dollar boats.
40 They are all for keeping that reserve closed, because they
41 believe it will work, but without the enforcement, we can’t
42 evaluate that question properly.
44 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Other questions?
46 MR. COLUMBUS BROWN: Chris, has there been any evidence of any
47 of the fish that you’ve tagged being removed by fishermen?
1 DR. KOENIG: Yes. There was a certain type of tag that I put in
2 some fish, because I wanted to see spawning frequency. Many
3 reef fish undergo a spawning assent when they spawn. Red
4 grouper and gag, I put this pinger in that indicates depth and
5 it pings every five to fifteen seconds. In other words, it puts
6 out a separate signal every five to fifteen seconds and random
7 within that range.
9 I tagged a red grouper with that tag and the next day, when I
10 took the receiver a month later and downloaded it, that fish
11 went straight to the surface. That was about as direct evidence
12 as -- That was in 200 feet of water. Yes, that fish was caught.
13 There was other -- We find pinger fish missing at times, but we
14 can’t -- That’s only circumstantial that it was caught. I can’t
15 show it, but that was about as direct as we could see.
17 MR. GILL: Chris, a question on transitionals. What is the
18 duration for the time of say a gag to transition and does that
19 vary amongst groupers?
21 DR. KOENIG: It varies tremendously among fish, from as short as
22 -- Even serranids, bass fishes, from as short as two weeks to
23 probably as long as months. I think gag is at the other end of
24 that. I think individuals that are induced to undergo
25 transition, however a social mechanism is used to do that,
26 probably are not spawning as males during that season, but only
27 spawn as males the following season.
29 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Chris, thank you very much. Go ahead,
32 MS. MORRIS: Mr. Chairman, we don’t have either of these
33 PowerPoint in our background materials or do we? No? Okay.
35 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Can we get these, Steve?
37 MR. ATRAN: I think we can get them. Do we have them on our
38 current -- Do you have them? We have a shared drive. If I can
39 get them, I can put them on our network drive and let you folks
40 know how to access that, if you want.
42 DR. COLEMAN: I guess a change of gears a little bit from the
43 talks that you’ve heard, just to talk a little bit about the
44 ecological and behavioral information that we’ve been getting on
45 red grouper, particularly in Steamboat Lumps, but to some extent
46 in Madison-Swanson.
48 The kinds of things we wanted to know were focused on the life
1 cycle, what were their habitat preferences, where were they
2 spawning and under what conditions, and what effect did fishing
3 have on communities that were associated with red grouper? The
4 reason we asked that question will become clearer in a minute.
6 This is a -- Obviously red grouper has a very similar life cycle
7 to most reef fish, in that there is a planktonic larval stage,
8 but the juveniles -- Red grouper inshore are on hard bottom and
9 not really in sea grass, unless they’re also associated with
10 rock and sea grass. They stay inshore until they mature, and so
11 this is four or five years, and then they migrate offshore and
12 spawn in relatively small groups.
14 We were looking at red grouper both in Madison-Swanson and in
15 Steamboat Lumps. This sidescan image on the right is a fairly
16 large area in Steamboat Lumps and all the little dots on there,
17 each one is a red grouper hole.
19 We thought initially that they were springs and that’s what we
20 were looking for and then when we ground-truthed them using a
21 manned submersible, we found out that each one of those holes
22 had a red-grouper associated with it. That’s a red grouper and
23 each hole was about five meters in diameter and about two meters
24 deep. That little sub would go right smack down into the hole
25 and in the bottom is a series of carbonate rocks.
27 We’ve found out what we think is a lekking system, that is that
28 the main hole is occupied by a male red grouper and there are
29 satellite holes around it, each of which contains a female. The
30 female is attracted to the male, who is in the -- We’re calling
31 it an excavation now. Originally, we just called them pits,
32 because we weren’t sure what was going on.
34 They actually produce a unique spawning sound and if you look at
35 the oscillogram on the top, and it’s mimicked in the spectrogram
36 on the bottom, but the sound that they produce has two pulses in
37 the beginning, followed by a long tonal signal that grades down
38 into that broader band you see over to the right. That’s a
39 female on the left and the fish on the right is a male.
41 I wanted to show you some of the pictures of the fish actually
42 excavating the bottom, but this isn’t going at all. What we
43 found when we looked at the habitat is that typically it was a
44 flat veneer of sand that had solution holes in it.
46 They’re just big holes in the bottom that have a high percentage
47 of carbonate rock, the rock in the places where the red grouper
48 lives, but nowhere else on the bottom, were covered with
1 crustose coralline algae and sponges and sea fans and a whole
2 really diverse community and we started wondering about how that
3 would happen and those kinds of habitats offshore.
5 Each one of the holes seemed to be excavated by a resident
6 grouper. One of the things that we did was using the manned
7 submersible, we had a front-mounted camera and bottom-mounted
8 camera and did systematic surveys over the bottom to find out
9 where there were differences in abundance and diversity.
11 In any of the places that we found had active red grouper living
12 in them, both the abundance that’s in the top graph and the
13 diversity in the bottom graph was higher, both in Madison-
14 Swanson and Steamboat Lumps, in those areas within which a red
15 grouper was actively manipulating habitat.
17 We decided that it was very difficult to do anything
18 manipulative in 300 feet of water with a manned submersible and
19 so we went to the Keys, where the juveniles are, and we worked
20 in a couple of places to start playing around with these fish.
21 The first question we asked was could these fish actually
22 excavate habitat.
24 We caged individual fish over a place in the bottom that we knew
25 had a solution hole below it. We knew that just by sticking a
26 rod down into the sand. The cage has no bottom in it and we
27 left the fish for -- I think this one may have been overnight,
28 but we did this with a series of fish and they basically just
29 pulled all the sand out to the outside of the cage and the fish
30 was completely underground when we came back and they would do
31 this repeatedly.
33 The next question we wanted to find out is will they do that in
34 their homes and so what we did was we dumped charcoal -- We
35 surveyed this whole expanse of bottom and we dumped charcoal
36 that was the same density and size as the sand particles and we
37 used charcoal so that we could see it on the white sand.
39 We dumped it into each hole that had a red grouper in it and the
40 red grouper would in fact move all of the charcoal out of the
41 hole. Then we would ask the question of does anybody else in
42 the hole do it or are they the only diggers?
44 What we did then was we removed red grouper from all the holes.
45 Actually, we left half of them with red grouper in and half
46 without and went back and redid the charcoal experiment and the
47 only ones that moved anything out were the ones that had red
48 grouper in them.
2 We also set up a series of cameras on a bunch of different
3 holes, cameras that were set right on the hole, three meters
4 away, and six meters away, and monitored activity on a bunch of
5 different sites to see where diversity and abundance of fish was
6 highest. They were always highest associated with the
7 structures that red grouper had made.
9 This just shows the size of the excavation. There was actually
10 a positive linear relationship between the size of the
11 excavation and the diversity of species associated with it.
13 The excavation on the left is -- This is actually in Florida
14 Bay, if you can believe that. When I mentioned this to Billy
15 Causey, he was surprised to see coral heads that size. We think
16 these are multigenerational structures. In other words, once
17 there’s a good red grouper hole established, when that fish
18 matures and moves out, somebody else moves in just like that.
19 You could actually tell the good real estate from the bad real
20 estate after a while.
22 Then what happens when you have actively maintaining the habitat
23 -- It is a hole and there are currents there and it just fills
24 in with sand and everything disappears, all of the sponges and
25 all the anemones and all of the diversity declines in the
26 absence of active manipulation by red grouper.
28 We know that red grouper at all life stages are diggers. Chris
29 has reared these guys in captivity and the minute they settle
30 out, at about twenty millimeters, those little suckers start
31 digging their way under shells and rocks and anything they can
32 in the aquarium. We saw it first actively in the juveniles in
33 the Keys and then more recently, offshore.
35 One of the reasons that we’re even interested in this question -
36 - This is something that ecologists ask all the time, what kinds
37 of things create biodiversity or ensure that there are high
38 levels of biodiversity?
40 Whenever you have species that are competing for space and food,
41 there’s increased diversity and predator/prey interactions also
42 do that. Red groupers role in habitats is, one, they are a top-
43 level predator, primarily on invertebrates, and so they may be
44 acting to drive biodiversity from that function alone, but
45 they’re also excavators and they could be ecosystem engineers,
46 which I’ll explain in a minute, but we don’t know the answer to
47 that question yet.
1 What is an ecosystem engineer? It’s a species that either as a
2 result of their behavior or their morphology create more complex
3 habitat and by creating more complex habitat, that results in
4 greater biodiversity.
6 Everybody who has ever messed around in the ocean knows that the
7 more structure you have, the greater the diversity. Just to
8 sort of clarify what kind of organisms do things like that,
9 beavers are probably the ecosystem engineers of all time. They
10 chew down trees and they dam up rivers. There are lots of --
11 People may not like what beavers do, but ecologically, there is
12 an important function of the dams in terms of water clarity,
13 retention of sediment and all sorts of other features.
15 The marine habitat engineers that we know about, there are a
16 suite of them that manipulate habitat from their behavior.
17 Gobies will just move little sand particles out of their little
18 tunnels that they make and triggerfish dig out beds to lay eggs
21 Tilefish did these deep holes on the shelf edge and there’s a
22 whole suite of commensal species that live in those tilefish
23 burrows, including things like yellowedge grouper, and there are
24 also a suite of cleaners that are associated with the tilefish
25 in the burrows and we saw the same thing with red grouper.
27 We saw a number of invertebrates and other fish species that
28 were acting as cleaners and so in a tilefish burrow, the burrow
29 itself influences the biogeochemistry of the sediments and it
30 also increases community diversity and serves as cleaning
33 Then there are a suite of organisms that engineer habitat by
34 their shapes. There’s a morphological effect. We all know the
35 morphological effects of sea grass in terms of decreasing
36 erosion and oysters with water clarification. The benefits, for
37 instance, of an oyster reef -- In the top, that’s oyster from
38 Chesapeake Bay that have been harvested and the little picture
39 on the bottom left is what was an active oyster reef and on the
40 right is what happens in the absence of those reefs.
42 Reefs like sea grass beds and all provide refuge for suites of
43 other species, they increase productivity in the regions, they
44 increase diversity, and their removal can have direct effects on
45 things like water quality and increasing turbidity, causing sea
46 grass to die off when not enough light penetrates and so forth
47 and so on.
1 This is why we’re interested in this for red grouper if they are
2 in fact -- They are, in fact, excavating habitat. The
3 advantages for them is when they build this cone or this pit and
4 they’re exposing rock at the bottom of the pit, there’s a whole
5 suite of species that come there.
7 It attracts fish in to eat and it attracts things in for
8 shelter. They’re attracting their own food and we’ve
9 demonstrated that they attract mates, because the females are
10 coming into the male’s excavation, and they appear, at least in
11 shallow water, to serve as cleaning stations.
13 There’s some advantages for other species by the red grouper’s
14 excavation activity and that is that it serves for settlement
15 sites for corals and sponges and a whole suite of other species.
16 They may be serving as nursery sites for other fish.
18 We’ve seen juvenile vermilion and red snapper associated with
19 these holes and our concerns are that in areas where red grouper
20 is overfished that not only do you have a population decline of
21 the organism that’s being fished, but there’s also the potential
22 for a biodiversity decline and decline in other fishery species
23 if in fact this is serving as nursery habitat.
25 In this case, it’s not just fish being attracted to the
26 structure, the red grouper. They’re creating the structure that
27 increases the diversity of the system. Anyway, that’s why we
28 like working in Steamboat Lumps. Are there any questions?
30 MS. WALKER: Felicia, I can remember back a few years ago that
31 the area that you identified as Steamboat Lumps was not the
32 actual Steamboat Lumps that the council adopted. I think the
33 latitude and longitude lines were wrong.
35 DR. COLEMAN: I don’t know anything about that.
37 MS. WALKER: Wayne, do you remember?
39 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SWINGLE: That’s correct. You’re correct.
41 MS. WALKER: My question is since it wasn’t the area that you
42 identified though, do you still believe that this area has been
43 helpful to you?
45 DR. COLEMAN: It’s helpful in the sense that it made us go out
46 there and look at this and learn an enormous amount about red
47 grouper behavior and what the potential follow-on effects are
48 from overfishing.
2 I don’t know where it was supposed to be. If it was supposed to
3 capture more gag habitat, it didn’t. I think that Chris
4 Gledhill and Andy David have demonstrated that and so I don’t
5 really know how to answer your question. There’s some very
6 interesting turf in this area and if you hadn’t chosen that area
7 and hadn’t found an area that had those pits, we would never
8 have looked at this problem. I think it was fortuitous. If it
9 was in fact the wrong site, so be it.
11 Here’s some red grouper coming out of the holes right there and
12 they scoop this stuff up in their mouths and just blast it out
13 their gills and their mouths. What you’re seeing is not a loop.
14 This is five different fish that we looked at on the bottom that
15 are cleaning out the sediments.
17 We worked with a geologist on what the rocks are in the bottom
18 of these holes and they appear to be some sort of limestone
19 aggregate and as the fish starts digging out, a lot of that rock
20 is falling down into the bottom of the hole. It’s sort of like
21 antlions. We called them doodlebugs.
23 It’s sort of the same sort of thing in terms of aggregating the
24 rock, but when you go over -- When we started doing the
25 transects and seeing the diversity that’s associated with those
26 rocks, it was really -- I see you nodding madly and yes, you’ve
27 seen this stuff, too. It’s pretty remarkable. Are there other
30 DR. GLEDHILL: I know, Felicia, that you do work in the Middle
31 Ground as well. Do you see some of these same features in the
32 Middle Ground, because there’s a lot of red grouper there.
34 DR. COLEMAN: We haven’t really done this kind of work in the
35 Middle Grounds. The stuff that we did in the Middle Grounds was
36 specifically to go back and take a snapshot of some work that
37 had been done there in the 1970s.
39 There had been a tremendous amount of MMS work in that area and
40 we were just trying to get a sense of whether we thought there
41 were problems with the coral bleaching or any other kind of
42 thing like that and the snapshot we took, we really didn’t see
43 that many big reef fish, but we had a really good assessment on
44 the sponges and corals and algae and stuff. We didn’t -- We
45 would like to go back there and look more, but we don’t have
46 those data from the Middle Grounds. Are there other questions?
48 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Anything else? Thank you all very much. We
1 appreciate it. We’re now at Ecosystem Modeling Workshop Report,
2 Tab B, Number 10, Mr. Carl Walters. Thank you for bearing with
3 us all afternoon.
5 ECOSYSTEM MODELING WORKSHOP REPORT
7 DR. CARL WALTERS: What I’m going to do with you real quickly --
8 I know it’s been a long day and I’m sure you’re tired and I’m
9 tired and I’ve got to drive to Baton Rouge and so I’m going to
10 try to whip through this quick.
12 I’m going to review for you some work that the Ecosystem SSC has
13 sponsored, looking at this question of whether we can develop
14 ecosystem models, computer simulations, like stock assessment
15 models, but with lots of species in them, to look at some issues
16 of ecosystem management.
18 The driving idea behind this is that you guys have enough
19 trouble dealing with some of your single species assessment and
20 regulatory issues and you start looking at ecosystem management
21 issues and lots more nastiness comes out. The idea is maybe we
22 can use these models to do a little troubleshooting on things
23 that could go wrong with ecosystem management policies.
25 Our approach to this, instead of sitting around and doing a
26 bunch of standard scientist naval gazing, was we said if we’re
27 going to find out if these models work, we’ll just build one and
28 make some predictions with it and see if the predictions make
29 any sense.
31 We used a software that’s being widely used around the world for
32 ecosystem food web analysis, a thing called Ecopath/Ecosim. We
33 fit that model to historical time trend data from the Gulf of
34 Mexico to make sure it behaves when we try to replay the history
35 of Gulf abundances of various species, it behaves like the best
36 understanding we have from stock assessments.
38 We evaluated it and improved it through a number of agonizing
39 workshop steps, something like a mini SEDAR process, and then we
40 looked at a set of policy issues, ecosystem-related policy
43 We’re getting pretty good now with software like Ecopath at
44 looking at fairly complex food webs. This is a look at the main
45 species that we put in the food web model for the Gulf of Mexico
46 and it ranges from basic production processes, algae and sea
47 grass and so on at the bottom of the food web, right up to the
48 major large piscivores fishes at the top of the web.
2 We do fairly detailed population dynamics models, like used in
3 single species assessment for the species up at the top of the
4 food web, and took a look at what’s going on. We pulled
5 together an awful lot of historical data on trends of things,
6 biomasses and feeding habits, in order to produce all those
7 arrows that represents who eats who in the system.
9 We had to look at lots and lots of stomach content data and so
10 on and we look at growth patterns to estimate productivity and
11 turnover and mortality rates, everything we could stick in to
12 understand how those food web linkages play out in terms of the
13 dynamics of the various species and how they interact with one
16 What we’ve found right away is that we could get this model to
17 behave very much like the single species stock assessments. You
18 see some solid black lines there that are time trends from stock
19 assessments or surveys for major species, like mullet and red
20 drum and so on, and then the little lighter lines are the
21 ecosystem model running forward from 1950 to 2006, with no
22 driving information except fishing mortality.
24 It’s doing a pretty good job of tracking the abundance trends
25 for major species, mainly because those abundance trends are
26 largely driven by fishing efforts and fishing mortalities.
28 Then we pulled together a large number of other time trend
29 series from SEAMAP data and so on and we showed that the model
30 does a pretty good job of reproducing patterns of abundance
31 change in some of the non-harvested species as well.
33 When you look at one of these ecosystem models as they’re being
34 developed around the world today, there’s three things that are
35 different about them from single species stock assessment
36 models. The first thing is things up at the top of the food
37 web, like mackerels and groupers and so on, behave in the
38 ecosystem models pretty much the same way. We make the same
39 predictions about how they’ll respond to fishing and other
40 disturbances as we get from single species stock assessment
41 models. There’s no big surprises.
43 When we look at mid-trophic level creatures, in the middle of
44 the food web, like menhaden and shrimp, the ecosystem models
45 generally behave very differently under fishing than do single
46 species models.
48 For example, we often predict increases in abundance of
1 creatures in the middle of the food chain, despite increases in
2 their fishing mortality. Menhaden have become more abundant in
3 the Gulf while the fishing mortality rate went up, because the
4 predation mortality rates went way down as a lot of their
5 predators were reduced.
7 In the middle of the food web, there’s complicated stuff going
8 on. The other thing is that these models predict big impacts or
9 changes in basic productivity of ecosystems down at the bottom.
10 Nutrient loading patterns and habitat alteration predict big
11 impacts up at the top of the food chain, a big amplification.
13 A 20 percent change in nutrient loading to the Gulf of Mexico
14 can cause a 50 percent change in the abundance of fish,
15 something that surprises the fish biologists. We think, after
16 doing that fitting exercise, that we can use it to address some
17 policy questions.
19 The test questions we’ve looked at to date include bycatch
20 reduction in the shrimp fishery, some marine enhancement program
21 questions, impacts of fisheries on small pelagics for
22 productivity of large species in the system, MPA effects, and
23 we’ve looked at a number of ongoing changes the council can’t
24 control, like the hypoxic area at the mouth of the Mississippi
25 and changes in nutrient loading and toxic algae bloom effects as
28 This here was a slide written by the SSC as a committee. This
29 is what you get when you have a committee do a PowerPoint slide.
30 The bottom line of what this ecosystem model says about shrimp
31 bycatch reduction is that trawling probably caused a variety of
32 bottom fish species, like Atlantic croaker, to decline a lot.
34 Those species will rebound under bycatch reduction, almost
35 certainly. Those rebounds in the bycatch species are going to
36 cause a decrease of as much as 30 percent in shrimp production
37 and so the notion that bycatch reduction isn’t going to impact
38 the shrimp fishery, we’re fairly certain, is dead wrong. There
39 will be a negative impact on the shrimp fishery and that impact
40 could be very large.
42 Basically, what will happen is the bycatch species that get
43 protected through bycatch reduction are going to end up eating
44 the shrimp before you catch them.
46 There’s also a scary possibility that the buildup in bycatch
47 species may reduce red snapper juvenile survival rate,
48 preventing recovery of the stock. The policies now aimed at
1 bycatch reduction in the shrimp fishery in order to protect
2 juvenile red snappers may backfire and have just the opposite
3 effect. It may cause declining red snapper recruitment.
5 Why can’t we predict the impacts of bycatch reduction? There’s
6 two problems. One problem is how much of those bycatch species
7 are going to recover and what will the impact of that recovery
8 be on shrimp and juvenile red snapper? We don’t know how to
9 tune our ecosystem model to answer those questions exactly,
10 because we don’t know how much the bycatch species declined in
11 the first place.
13 We don’t know whether predation mortality on shrimp is limited
14 by how many predators already eat them or by how shrimp behave
15 and so it could be that even when there’s a lot more predators
16 out there, under bycatch reduction, that the shrimp won’t suffer
17 much higher mortality, because they’re pretty good at hiding
18 from predators already. They’re the favorite food of every
19 predator in the sea.
21 We also don’t know how much impact recovery of the bycatch
22 species will have on red snapper. An important point from this
23 talk is that we can’t model our way out of that. The only way
24 we’re going to gain the knowledge as to whether red snapper are
25 going to benefit from bycatch reduction is to look at how their
26 abundance in juvenile survival performs at higher abundances of
27 competitors and predators.
29 One other thing we looked at is marine enhancement programs. We
30 put stocking programs for red drum and trout, as have developed
31 in Texas and are proposed all the way around the Gulf, into the
32 model. Some of us think that marine enhancement programs are
33 potentially one of the biggest threats to marine ecosystems
34 around North America, because of our ability to grow almost
35 everything in hatcheries these days.
37 The bottom line from the model runs on that is that successful
38 stocking programs, that means if you can get the little buggers
39 out there alive from hatcheries, will result in severe
40 competition between wild and hatchery fish, probably resulting
41 in no net increase in total production and yield.
43 The folks here from British Columbia today have seen that in
44 spades with our coho salmon. We doubled the number of juvenile
45 coho salmon going to sea out in front of your place and we see
46 no increase in yield at all. It just costs a bundle to produce
47 the fish in hatcheries today that nature was producing for us in
48 the first place.
2 There’s a strong recommendation that the council ought to be
3 closely watching the initiatives for marine enhancement going on
4 around the Gulf and demanding that any efforts that do occur are
5 done under careful experimental programs, where you can turn the
6 damn things off if they go bad on you.
8 One thing that was kind of nice is there was concerns raised to
9 the SSC about whether fisheries like the menhaden fishery are
10 impairing the ability of the Gulf to grow large piscivores. If
11 the fishery is catching all those menhaden, does that mean that
12 you can’t grow as many mackerel and snappers and so on?
14 The bottom line is that model predictions say that collapse of
15 the menhaden stocks -- If we go in and fish it right to
16 extinction in the computer model, it has virtually no impact on
17 major predatory species like mackerel, red drum, trout, groupers
18 and snappers.
20 What’s going on out there basically -- Those of you that are
21 fishermen that have looked at stomachs of fish like red drum and
22 mackerel and that know this already, is that the Gulf is an
23 incredibly diverse ecosystem down at the level of the small
26 If the reds don’t have any menhaden to eat, there will be
27 something else. They’ll go eat crabs or they’ll go eat some
28 other small fish and that diversity, which we include in the
29 model calculations, say that if you knock out any one of these
30 pelagic species that it’s not going to have a big impact on the
31 predators, including even the mullet stock.
33 If there were widespread development of harvest of small
34 species, other than menhaden, for example to feed the emerging
35 aquaculture industry for cobia and so on around the Gulf, that
36 would have a catastrophic impact on the capacity of the Gulf to
37 grow large species, like mackerels and so on.
39 The council probably needs to be developing policies relative to
40 forage fish species in some context like Alaska, where they have
41 a simple flat ban on development of fisheries on the forage
42 species. It just isn’t worth going after those little guys when
43 there’s so many valuable fisheries that they little guys
46 One of the more controversial results we had, but you’ve already
47 heard it from at least Chris and Felicia, is that existing MPAs
48 on the Florida Shelf are not going to be an effective tool for
1 regulation of fishing impacts on the groupers and snappers on
2 the shelf.
4 Very much larger cross-shelf MPAs would be needed to protect a
5 range of species from fishing suffered at various parts of their
6 life cycle. The basic problem is that protecting a fish during
7 spawning doesn’t protect females or younger fish from harvesting
8 during seasonal migration at other times of the year. It does
9 help to save some males and it may result in improvement in the
10 sex ratio.
12 That Madison-Swanson experiment is a key test of the effects of
13 sex ratio change in poaching in the MPAs and so I’m just saying
14 that if you really wanted to use MPAs as a fishery management
15 tool, you’ve got to be looking at radically larger MPA areas
16 than are out there now. It doesn’t mean that those experimental
17 studies out in the Northwest Florida Shelf aren’t a very good
20 Right now, in order for us to properly evaluate MPA effects and
21 MPA requirement sizes, there’s a really critical need for better
22 benthic habitat mapping across the shelf for accurately
23 georeferenced logbook data on fishing effort, catch, and
24 discards and for extensive tagging programs.
26 Let me put in a little word here. You guys saw the British
27 Columbia fellows talking and they showed you that horrid, nasty
28 logbook they’ve got to fill out now and I’m one of the
29 scientists that uses that logbook information and I can tell you
30 it’s precious to us.
32 We take their detailed logbooks that give us spatially
33 referenced information on the distribution of fish and we can
34 map the distribution of the major stocks of fish off of B.C. and
35 look at their seasonal and interannual movements and changes in
36 distributions and once we can map those abundances using the
37 information from the fishermen. We can go in and site MPAs and
38 other kinds of protection schemes in a way that minimizes impact
39 on the fishing and also doesn’t backfire.
41 One of the problems with MPAs that its proponents don’t like to
42 talk about is that fishermen don’t go away when you put in an
43 MPA. They go somewhere else. When they go somewhere else, they
44 increase their impact in that other place.
46 Another place may have biodiversity problems even more severe
47 than in the place that’s being protected and so it’s really easy
48 for an MPA to do a lot more harm than good and that’s what we
1 found using the logbook records from the B.C. fishermen about
2 most MPA siting proposals off the B.C. coast. They do more harm
3 than good.
5 I strongly urge you to listen to at least that lesson from the
6 British Columbia guys, is we need much better spatial
7 information on fishing around the Gulf of Mexico before we can
8 evaluate a lot of models and before we can evaluate a lot of
9 management strategies like protected areas properly.
11 Just a quick scan through here at some of the environmental
12 changes that we’ve looked at with the model. Toxic algae
13 blooms, there’s lots of big publicity about it and mostly
14 restricted to the west coast of Florida and a couple other areas
15 around the Gulf.
17 The best evidence from the modeling and analysis of the cause of
18 those blooms is that they’re going to continue to occur. They
19 may not even occur at rates that vary much with anthropogenic
20 nutrient loading.
22 They’ll increase and negatively impact overall ecosystem
23 production and carrying capacity in the areas where they occur,
24 but when we look at the Gulf ecosystem as a whole, they’re not
25 going to have that large of an impact on the Gulf. The places
26 where they can occur, based on historical occurrence, they’re
27 not that extensive and not likely to be much more extensive.
29 Another big worry right around here is increases in the hypoxic
30 area at the mouth of the Mississippi. What the models say is
31 that those increases in hypoxic area have contributed to an
32 overall shift that’s occurring in the Gulf ecosystem, from what
33 we call a benthic to pelagic production web.
35 The Gulf is shifting from having a big part of its fish
36 production concentrated in the bottom fishes to being more
37 concentrated in pelagic fishes, like the mackerel. The mackerel
38 are thriving in the Gulf, while some of the other demersal
39 stocks are going down.
41 That kind of shift from benthic to pelagic production is going
42 on in every major ecosystem in the world right now and hypoxic
43 area effects are going to speed that up, by making bottom areas
44 and benthic community areas uninhabitable.
46 This is, at least so far, a localized effect. When we look at
47 the Gulf as a whole, that hypoxic area around the mouth of the
48 Mississippi kind of looks pretty trivial. It’s about two model
1 grid squares.
3 One thing you really ought to be watching out for, especially
4 when you’re looking at results being presented to you from
5 single species stock assessment models, is that the Gulf of
6 Mexico gets about 85 percent of its nutrient loading that
7 supports its primary production and its fishes from the
8 Mississippi River.
10 That nutrient loading, people talk about more and more nutrients
11 coming into the Mississippi and that’s not true. Nutrient
12 loading from the Mississippi peaked in the mid-1980s and has
13 been declining since then. Changes in composition of the
14 nutrient loading in recent years, but total loading is lower now
15 and it’s probably going to continue to decline, due to land
16 management changes in the Mississippi basin.
18 What that means from a fisheries management point of view is
19 that the carrying capacity in the Gulf for some of these fish is
20 going to drop. For pelagics like menhaden, for sure it’s going
21 to drop and it may drop for some of the large piscivores. That
22 means that the stock assessment results, which are largely based
23 on data through the 1970s to the 2000 period, may not be
24 representative of future productivity for those stocks.
26 The model fits tell us that overall productivity of the Gulf is
27 declining in terms of overall abundances of just about
28 everything except a few of the pelagic species.
30 Should the council take any of these results seriously? There’s
31 some obvious data gaps that limit the credibility of the
32 calculations. In particular, there’s inadequate data on the
33 food web structure on who eats who, diet composition data
36 Who it is that eats the small juvenile fish that are the
37 recruitment to the major stocks, we don’t have good
38 understanding of what the predation mortality patterns are on
39 small snappers or groupers or red drum or anything else. We
40 don’t know who the major predators are on those species. They
41 don’t turn up in fish stomachs. They get digested too fast and
42 they’re too small a proportion of the predator diets.
44 Another thing is that we don’t have long-term trend data for
45 non-harvested species and without that trend data, we can’t
46 answer questions like how some of those species are going to
47 respond to bycatch reduction and we don’t really have very good
48 bycatch data for most of the fishery.
2 We can’t really say how much production is being lost through
3 bycatch as it is and we can’t fill those gaps through timely
4 monitoring, or at least we can’t recover the information that
5 wasn’t gathered back in the 1950s and 1960s, when some of the
6 major fishery developments took place.
8 If we could turn the clock back, we could build you a lot better
9 ecosystem model, is the bottom line. We can’t turn the clock
10 back and we have three major recommendations to you and the
11 third of those I think probably is the most important and
14 One of them is, Number 1, is you ought to continue to fund us to
15 do more ecosystem model development. There’s a self-serving one
16 if you ever saw it. Another thing is we must get better data if
17 we’re going to, as scientists, serve you better in this
18 ecosystem analysis business, as well as single species stock
21 We need better diet composition data and we critically need to
22 have much better logbook information coming in from the fishery,
23 so that we can map the distributions of the stocks and their
24 impacts, as I mentioned a minute ago.
26 There needs to be some basic work on calibration of the main
27 ecosystem program that gives trend indices and that’s now the
28 SEAMAP survey program. There’s serious calibration problems
29 with the data from that program that limit its use in our
30 modeling and assessment.
32 We need habitat mapping and bycatch assessment, but I think this
33 last one, the bottom line, is the most important recommendation
34 that we make to you. That is that given that we can’t model
35 away these huge uncertainties about particularly bycatch
36 reduction impact in the Gulf, we could write a report and tell
37 you that we had modeled them away, like some of the single
38 species stock assessments do, and it would be a damn lie.
40 We can’t do it and we can’t get the data. What we recommend to
41 you instead is that absent our ability to make useful scientific
42 predictions, you really ought to be adopting an experimental
43 management approach in the Gulf.
45 The way to find out whether or not bycatch reduction works is
46 not to implement it Gulf-wide and then have it backfire on you,
47 but the way to find out if it works is to set up a series of
48 experimental areas that have bycatch reduction and other areas
1 that don’t have it and make side-by-side experimental
2 comparisons of those areas.
4 Learn from field trials of your policies rather than putting the
5 policies in place everywhere and learning the hard way, much
6 more expensively, down the way. This is called adaptive
7 management and it’s a very simple concept. Every other
8 discipline except fisheries uses it routinely.
10 When people in agriculture come up with a new idea for how to
11 grow more of this and that, they don’t go put it on every field
12 in North America, but they go try it. They try it in carefully
13 managed experimental areas and look for things that can go wrong
14 and then expand the policies out to larger scales that do work
15 in the small area trials.
17 I don’t know why in the world all fisheries management isn’t
18 done that way. I guess it’s partly because as scientists we’ve
19 been lying to you about what we can tell you with the data that
20 we have available.
22 It’s much more honest of us to say we just can’t answer your
23 question and you’re much better off to proceed experimentally to
24 learn what’s going on. That concludes the formal presentation
25 and I’ll be glad to answer questions.
27 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Outstanding. Thank you very much. Are there
28 any questions? I know there will be a bunch.
30 MR. PERRET: I’ve got three questions. Thank you. You
31 mentioned several times about the model used in various parts of
32 the world. What countries are the leaders in ecosystem
33 management in fisheries or is the United States on the front end
34 or are we lagging behind?
36 DR. WALTERS: Definitely the largest investments -- The two main
37 areas where big investments are being made are in the North Sea,
38 in the EU countries, where it’s been going on for the longest
39 time, and in the United States, particularly in -- There’s this
40 nasty thing about the United States, that everybody is jealous
41 of Alaska. The Alaskans are way ahead of everybody else in
42 this. Ecosystem model development and use in policy is best
43 developed in the Alaska Council.
45 MR. PERRET: The second question is we are questioned about
46 current data, it’s wrong and it’s this and it’s that, yet early
47 on in your presentation, you had graphs, and I think they went
48 back to 1950, if my eyesight was right. What abundance data or
1 biological data did you use in the 1950s and do you indeed think
2 that data was -- Obviously it was the best you had, but --
4 DR. WALTERS: A lot of it was what you call WAGs, a wild guess.
6 MR. PERRET: My final question is it really surprises me on the
7 recommendations and so on that you mentioned quite a bit about
8 nutrient loading and the dead zone and so on and so forth and
9 all I see is habitat mapping, but it seems to me one of the most
10 critical measures in the Gulf is so many of our species are
11 estuarine-dependent and we have had, and continue to have,
12 tremendous vegetated wetland loss. We’ve had development and so
13 on and so forth, but I don’t see that in the models, except for
14 Model 1.
16 DR. WALTERS: You’re absolutely right. If you do Number 1 up
17 there and spend some more money on us, that’s the next priority.
18 In fact, I’m driving straight from here to Baton Rouge to start
19 looking at how we can incorporate a lot better look at estuarine
20 dependence in these models.
22 I live in Cedar Key and I’m an avid red fisherman, red drum
23 fisherman, and there’s an estuary-dependent species if there
24 ever was one. I watch my catches go up and down with the
25 rainfall and the flow of the Suwannee River. There’s no
26 question at all about how critical this is.
28 I think one of the things you can expect here under climate
29 change and growing water problems in this region is declining
30 flows of water to those estuaries, as well as the subsidence
31 issues with the salt marshes.
33 Those declining flows are going to cause substantial declines in
34 productivity of estuarine-dependent species. I think that those
35 declines are reflected in -- When we fit the model, we have to
36 assume some kind of overall decline in reproductive success,
37 which we haven’t been able to explain where it was, but you’ve
38 pinpointed where it probably has been, exactly. We just model
39 it as a change in productivity, without being specific about
40 exactly where it came from.
42 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Other questions? Excellent presentation and
43 thank you again. We appreciate it. We need to make a decision
44 on a recommendation to council as to whether we go with this
45 particular thing. I think their recommendation, obviously, was
46 to continue on. Is that the committee’s viewpoint too, to
47 continue to try to bump this thing along and see what we come up
2 MS. MORRIS: There’s something in these results for everyone to
3 hate and so what’s really challenging about it is that it’s
4 framing issues differently than we usually see them. There was
5 someone on the Reef Fish SSC who made the comment in the meeting
6 back in October that a really strong reason to continue with
7 this work is because the results are so completely opposite of
8 what our assumptions have been.
10 Because of that, they really do bear further investigation and
11 so I think we should continue to support development of the
12 model and I’m not sure how -- I can’t see how down the road it’s
13 going to intersect with our regular fishery management tasks,
14 but I think it’s important to develop the tool and tune it up
15 and think about the indications that it’s presenting to us.
17 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I agree with that totally.
19 MR. GILL: I also agree, but I also think we’re driven by if
20 we’re going to be serious about getting into ecosystem
21 management, then we need to figure out how we’re going to do it
22 and this is the thing we’re working on and we need to continue
23 on and see whether it’s helpful or not.
25 MR. ATRAN: Along those lines, a couple other specific
26 recommendations that the Ecosystem SSC made that are in the
27 report, and Carl didn’t explicitly state them, was to perhaps
28 continue to have these workshops, perhaps a couple of times per
31 It might have to be on a reduced basis, because we no longer
32 have the pilot funds that we had for these two workshops and
33 also, with respect to trying to integrate ecosystem management
34 into our current management approach, the SSC had expressed an
35 interest in trying to develop a SEDAR-like process for
36 evaluating management proposals from an ecosystem perspective.
37 Those are two directions we possibly could go in the next year
38 or two, if the council is interested in that approach.
40 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Do we have a recommendation? Do we need a
41 motion or just by consensus? Is there any objection to
42 recommending that we continue on with this? Wayne, we’ll need
43 kind of an idea budget-wise what we could support meeting-wise.
45 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SWINGLE: We had enough carryover, I think
46 $71,000, that we can proceed on with at least another workshop
47 and maybe more than that.
1 CHAIRMAN MINTON: It appears that maybe we can keep the
2 participants in contact with each other and when we have some
3 information that would warrant putting together another meeting,
4 it would be appropriate.
6 MS. WALKER: What about some of the studies that he mentioned,
7 some of the small studies on BRDs and things like that? Are we
8 just going to get them together so they can talk some more about
9 ecosystem and the data that we need that we don’t have or -- Is
10 it more important for us to go forward and try to address some
11 of these things that they think will improve the data that’s
14 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Would you settle for yes? I think, if you
15 look at his example of how Alaska is ahead, there’s a reason for
16 that. It’s a simpler system, but it’s been much more well
17 funded. We need more money and then we need good people to help
18 us direct those funds into areas where we can get the
21 As we all well know, we can sit here ten years from now and say
22 this is what we needed and we still don’t have it. I think it’s
23 kind of a combination of asking the group to further detail out
24 the types of information that we will need and then us to help
25 make recommendations. Roy, maybe MARFIN or some of those other
26 areas, that we could use to start development of procurement of
27 this type of stuff.
29 DR. CRABTREE: I would be interested, if we can get these folks
30 back together, to hear some more specific ideas on a workable
31 way we could test this idea they have with BRDs and bycatch and
32 all of that. I just don’t know the scale and how long and
33 exactly how you would do it. I would be interested to see if it
34 was something realistically we could try to test.
36 MS. MORRIS: In the written report that we have with our
37 briefing materials, there is a list of data needs that makes
38 about six or seven points. These are all things that we know.
39 They converge with our single species and essential fish
42 We’ve articulated that we need better mapping of bottom
43 conditions and things like that and it would be very helpful to
44 have logbooks for all of our fisheries and spatial information
45 to be entered into those logbooks. I think those data needs are
46 convergent with things we know we’ve needed before.
48 Maybe trying to organize these ideas into a MARFIN proposal or a
1 congressional earmark suggestion, adding the ecosystem modeling
2 value to these other desires that we’ve already articulated for
3 this kind of thing, would be something that the council could
4 develop as a proposal.
6 In addition to continuing to fund the ecosystem workshops, I
7 think pulling together a proposal for the kind of funding that
8 Alaska has been able to get, because of Senator Stevens, to
9 assemble this data that would really make our management work a
10 lot more effective is something we should be pursuing.
12 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Any other comments? Thank you, Julie. Are
13 there any other comments? I think we can go to council with a
14 recommendation -- We’ll pull together those different points and
15 move those forward and we’ll just have a by-consensus
16 recommendation that we not only move forward, but we help
17 continue to flesh out the different points and then also start
18 looking at avenues to possibly fund some of these things. It
19 looks like we recess now.
21 MS. MORRIS: Could you preview for us what we’re doing in the
22 morning and the sequence? I just want to make sure the sequence
23 makes sense.
25 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Right now, we’ll be going through 30B at kick-
26 off at eight o’clock and that’s just basically going through
27 what we’ve already accepted and then any final recommendations
28 and then selecting public hearing sites. The allocation issues
29 on red snapper -- Is Assane here?
31 MR. KENNEDY: What is the question that you’re asking on the red
32 snapper allocation?
34 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Number 8.
36 MR. KENNEDY: It won’t be too long, I don’t think. It’s the
37 first time you’ve seen that document.
39 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Then final action on 30A, which is the gray
40 triggerfish and greater amberjack. That will probably take a
41 while. Then, if we get to it, goliath grouper. My gut feeling
42 is that’s going to be problematic and then we’ve got the Other
43 Business thing with Roy. I think we’ve got a full plate, until
44 at least noon. Does anyone want to add anything to that?
46 MS. WALKER: I just want to ask a question of Dr. Crabtree,
47 because I heard a nasty rumor that we may not be able to take
48 final action on Amendment 30A.
2 DR. CRABTREE: We have not published the draft environmental
3 impact statement. I will advise you and I believe General
4 Counsel will advise you that we should not do that and right
5 now, we need to get the DEIS revisions made and cleared by
6 General Counsel and get it the EPA by December the 7th so that we
7 can come back in January and take final action.
9 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We can still go through and polish the
10 document and get it ready.
12 DR. CRABTREE: Yes, I think there is a lot of work to be done
13 and that’s been partly why we haven’t gotten it finished. I
14 think there are a lot of issues to be resolved.
16 CHAIRMAN MINTON: With that, we’ll recess until eight o’clock in
17 the morning. We’ll see everybody bright-eyed and sun-shiny.
19 (Whereupon, the meeting recessed at 5:30 o’clock p.m., October
20 29, 2007.)
22 - - -
24 October 30, 2007
26 TUESDAY MORNING SESSION
28 - - -
30 The Reef Fish Committee of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management
31 Council reconvened in the Camellia Ballroom of the Beau Rivage,
32 Biloxi, Mississippi, Tuesday morning, October 30, 2007, and was
33 called to order at 8:00 o’clock a.m. by Chairman Vernon Minton.
35 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Let’s get the Reef Fish Committee back to
36 order, please. We have a quorum. We recessed yesterday at
37 about 5:30 and we’re back here today and we’ll take up Item VII,
38 Draft Reef Fish Amendment 30B, Red Grouper/Gag, and that’s Tab
39 B, Number 11. Revisions to the Draft Amendment, Mr. Atran.
41 MR. ATRAN: Amendment 30B, we still consider this to be in an
42 options paper stage, but we’ve been working on putting together
43 the environment effects sections and the other sections in here.
44 There’s some question, and you’re going to have to help us out
45 on discussion, as to whether or not we would be able to stick to
46 a time table that would allow us to go to public hearings
47 probably in early January, in order to take final action in
48 January, or whether we should target April for taking final
3 Since the same IPT is working on both 30A and 30B and there’s
4 still work to do on both of those, it would be a very tight
5 schedule if we were to try to go for final action in January on
6 30B. I don’t think it’s impossible, but it would be very, very
7 tight and there would be no margin for error.
9 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Roy, what’s your feelings on it?
11 DR. CRABTREE: I think I agree with Steve that it would be
12 difficult to meet final action in January, because we would have
13 to have the DEIS filed with the EPA by December the 7th and it
14 really depends on how quickly we all come into agreement with
15 what we want to do and what changes we need to make to the
18 We are under some statutory requirements to get this done and we
19 are late on them, but I think right now my biggest emphasis is
20 on let’s make sure we do it right and make sure we follow the
21 process properly, rather than one meeting.
23 I think we certainly have good reason for why we are late on
24 this one, because of the issues with the science and the
25 corrections and changes that were made. We didn’t really have
26 the final assessment runs, I think, until almost our June
27 meeting last time.
29 I think the main thing we do is we keep moving this forward as
30 best we can and keep making progress, but we do need to move as
31 quickly as possible, but I agree with Steve that March is the --
32 I guess it’s an April meeting is the more likely scenario and
33 that, I think we really have to make.
35 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I think that’s wise. Let’s try to move ahead
36 in a prudent yet expeditious manner, realizing that possibly not
37 going to be there, but let’s get as much done as we can and
38 again, try to get a good, complete document. With that, I’m
39 going to turn it back to Steve and we’ll start going through the
42 DRAFT REEF FISH AMENDMENT 30B (RED GROUPER/GAG)
44 MR. ATRAN: I’m going to start then with Action 1 in the
45 amendment, which begins on page 17 in your handout or on your
46 computer. This is Action 1, Gag Thresholds and Benchmarks.
47 There’s no change from the last time you saw this.
1 Alternative 1 is the no action alternative, which would leave
2 minimum stock size threshold at our pre-SFA level of 20 percent
3 SPR, which actually could be an acceptable threshold under the
4 Sustainable Fisheries Act. It works out to be just slightly
5 above 50 percent of BMSY, which is the absolutely lowest
6 threshold we can go to.
8 The maximum fishing mortality threshold, which is overfishing,
9 is set at F30 percent SPR. That was accepted in our 1999
10 Generic SFA Act and optimum yield, right now, is set at the
11 yield equivalent to a fishing mortality rate at 20 percent SPR
12 and that simply is not acceptable, because that would require a
13 fishing mortality rate equivalent to an overfishing rate in
14 order to achieve optimum yield.
16 Alternative 2 and Alternative 3 are identical, except for the
17 biological baseline that’s used for them. Alternative 2 uses
18 maximum yield per recruit as its baseline and Alternative 3 uses
19 30 percent SPR as its baseline.
21 In the case of the gag stock assessment, the thresholds
22 associated with maximum yield per recruit ended up being the
23 same as thresholds associated with actual estimates of MSY.
24 Alternative 2 gives thresholds that are actually equivalent to
25 using MSY as our basis, rather than a proxy, although we are
26 calling it a proxy of Fmax.
28 Alternative 2 would set the fishing mortality threshold equal to
29 Fmax as the proxy for FMSY and in this case, equal to FMSY, and
30 then it would have three options for setting the minimum stock
31 size threshold, using the formula one minus M times SSBmax,
32 which with an actual mortality rate of 0.14, that would be 0.86
33 times the MSY level.
35 Option B would set it at 0.75 times that level and Option C
36 would set it at 0.5, 50 percent, of that level, Option C being
37 the absolute minimum that we’re allowed to go under the National
38 Standard Guidelines.
40 Then we have three options for setting optimum yield, set it at
41 either 60 percent, 75 percent or 90 percent of the Fmax level.
42 The NMFS technical guidance document that was published after
43 the National Standard Guidelines came out recommends that the
44 one minus M times SSB formula be the basis for the minimum stock
45 size threshold and that 75 percent of Fmax be the basis for the
46 optimum yield threshold.
48 Since you last saw this -- It’s not in this section of the
1 document, but in the environmental impacts section, there’s a
2 discussion of some additional analysis that the Science Center
3 did to try to examine the probability of entering an overfished
4 state under some of the combinations of these thresholds.
6 What they did was, assuming that OY is set at 75 percent of Fmax
7 for the options for setting the overfished threshold, MSST, if
8 it’s set at that one minus M times SSB level, they estimated
9 that there is a 20 to 28 percent probability that the stock
10 could drop below its overfished threshold.
12 If the minimum stock size threshold is set at 0.75 times SSBmax,
13 there would be less than a 2 percent probability and if it’s set
14 at 50 percent of SSBmax, less than 1 percent probability. The
15 lower that number we go with, the less probability we have of
16 having to deal with an overfished stock, but if we do end up in
17 an overfished condition, the deeper the hole will be that we
18 need to dig ourselves out of.
20 As I said, Alternative 3 is the same as Alternative 2, except
21 that it uses 30 percent SPR instead of maximum yield per recruit
22 as the basis for these thresholds. On page 20, I have a set of
23 tables to show where some of these thresholds stand in terms of
24 their numerical equivalents.
26 30 percent SPR is equivalent to F equals 0.27, whereas Fmax is
27 equivalent to 0.20. Using Fmax as the basis rather than 30
28 percent would be a little bit more conservative. I think that’s
29 about it for there. Do you want to take questions or comments
30 on sections as we go by them?
32 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I think that’s the best way. We’ve done that
33 in the past like that and it keeps everybody fresh on it. With
34 that, we’ll stop there and get questions or comments or
37 DR. CRABTREE: If you recall back to a couple of previous
38 meetings, I had raised concerns with some of these long-lived
39 fishes that the natural mortality rate was low and we were
40 setting the MSST, the overfished threshold, very close to the
41 target and I was concerned that just natural fluctuations in
42 recruitment could end up triggering an overfished condition.
44 That’s the basis of the analysis that Clay Porch and the Science
45 Center did, was to try to simulate if we were managing the stock
46 properly what’s the chance that we would just, due to natural
47 fluctuations, drop below the minimum stock size threshold.
1 It works out that the probability, even when we’re at the one
2 minus M times BMSY, is quite low and so I don’t think I have any
3 of those concerns anymore and it appears to me that setting the
4 MSST at one minus M times BMSY, which I think we’ve done for
5 most everything, seems to be a reasonable way to proceed.
7 I would note that the SSC reviewed these alternatives and
8 recommended Alternative 2 as the most appropriate and I think
9 that does reflect the recommendations that came out of SEDAR in
10 terms of Fmax. I would be willing to move, Mr. Chairman, that
11 we adopt Alternative 2 with Sub-Option A as our preferred
14 CHAIRMAN MINTON: There’s a motion on the floor. Is there a
17 MS. WALKER: Second.
19 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Second by Ms. Walker. Is there discussion?
21 DR. CRABTREE: I guess I would also include Sub-Option E in my
22 motion as well, if my seconder is in agreement with that. That
23 sets the OY level at 75 percent of Fmax.
25 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Ms. Walker, are you okay with that?
27 MS. WALKER: Yes.
29 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Now is there discussion?
31 MR. ATRAN: One thing I just wanted to point out is both our AP
32 and our SSC have reviewed this and have recommendations in the
33 briefing book. I don’t know if you want me and Stu to go
34 through those as we do each action or if you want us to do this
35 at the end of the document and then decide whether or not you
36 want to change these motions based upon their recommendations.
38 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I would rather have them upfront. I think if
39 we’re going to start making motions, we certainly need to have
40 them before us before we come in and make motions and come back.
41 I think we’re okay with this, because we do have the
42 recommendations of both of those for this particular bevy of
43 alternatives. Is that correct? I know the SSC is correct and
44 it is right with the AP, too?
46 MR. ATRAN: It’s correct for the SSC. For the AP, I need to
47 check them right now.
1 CHAIRMAN MINTON: While he’s checking that, is there any further
4 MS. MORRIS: This is just a process question. We are going to
5 go through and choose preferred alternatives, even though we’re
6 not at the point of having a fully fleshed out document?
8 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I’ve looked at it and what we don’t have is
9 some of the boilerplate stuff, like the history and that, but
10 other than that, I think we’re in pretty good shape and at least
11 it kind of gives staff direction as to where we’re headed with
14 I would like to, if we can, to go through this as much as
15 possible. We’ll try to frontload discussions with Steve’s
16 presentation on the SSC and AP and then I’ll open it back up for
17 recommendations. If we don’t have any, then we move forward
18 without a preferred.
20 MR. ATRAN: The Reef Fish AP had the same recommendation,
21 Alternative 2, Sub-Options A and E.
23 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I thought that was right. We are in good
24 shape there and so carry on.
26 MR. ATRAN: The next section is Action 2, which is on page 21.
27 This is --
29 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We need to vote on this motion. The motion is
30 on the board. Is there objection to the motion? Hearing none,
31 the motion passes.
33 MR. ATRAN: Now Action 2 on page 21, which is Red Grouper
34 Minimum Stock Size Threshold. This action was included only in
35 the event that the council decided to use an MSST for gag other
36 than one minus M. That’s the current MSST for red grouper and
37 if the council did select something different for gag, it would
38 give you the opportunity to do a compatible type minimum stock
39 size threshold for red grouper.
41 Right now, the alternatives are no action, red grouper remains
42 at an MSST of one minus M times SSBMSY. Alternative 2 would set
43 it at 75 percent of SSBMSY and Alternative 3 is 50 percent of
46 Since right now your preferred alternative for gag is the same
47 as the existing parameter for red grouper, a no action
48 alternative would probably be the most appropriate here, or even
1 removing the section from the amendment.
3 CHAIRMAN MINTON: What’s the recommendation of the SSC and AP?
5 MR. GILL: The Reef Fish AP recommended Alternative 1.
7 CHAIRMAN MINTON: The SSC did not have one?
9 MR. TEEHAN: The SSC didn’t have one and, Steve, could you
10 enlighten us on when exactly in the 30B process the SSC lost its
11 quorum, because I think it’s right about now, as far as any
12 further recommendations, isn’t it?
14 MR. ATRAN: I believe you’re correct. I would have to go back
15 in my original notes, but as I recall, they did 30A. They
16 interrupted 30A to discuss goliath grouper and by the time they
17 got to 30B, they were losing the quorum.
19 DR. CRABTREE: The analysis that the Center did was done for
20 both gag and red grouper and the results were very similar for
21 each. I think I’m comfortable with where we are right now for
22 red grouper. I would move that we remove Action 2 from the
23 amendment to the Considered but Rejected. I don’t believe
24 there’s any need for us to revisit this issue.
26 MS. WALKER: Second.
28 CHAIRMAN MINTON: There’s a motion on the floor with a second by
29 Ms. Walker. Is there discussion?
31 MR. ATRAN: Just as a quick clarification, in the SSC report for
32 this section, there is a consensus motion that the SSC has no
33 objection to Alternative 1, status quo.
35 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Any further discussion? Hearing none, any
36 objection to the motion? The motion carries without objection.
38 MR. ATRAN: Action 3 begins on page 22 and that is setting the
39 gag total allowable catch. Aside from the no action
40 alternative, which is not to set a TAC, we have four other
43 Alternatives 2 and 3 would set TAC based upon an Fmax threshold
44 and Alternatives 4 and 5 would set it based upon a --
45 Alternatives 2 and 3 would set the TAC based upon an OY
46 threshold and Alternatives 4 and 5 would set it based upon an
47 MSY or whatever we’re using for our MSY proxy threshold.
1 The difference is that Alternative 2 would change the TAC on an
2 annual basis for the first five years and at the end of that
3 period of time, we would presumably have a new stock assessment
4 to let us know what the additional TACs would be going forward.
5 If we didn’t get that stock assessment, we would just hold the
6 TAC at year five until we get that assessment.
8 Alternative 3 would change the TAC every three years. It would
9 start out with the 2008 level and hold that until 2011 and then
10 change it to whatever the 2011 TAC would have been under an
11 annual increase and hold that for three years.
13 On the bottom of page 23, Table 2.3.1, there’s a table that
14 shows what the TACs would be under each of these alternatives if
15 TACs were based upon FOY being 75 percent of Fmax. On page 24,
16 there’s a table that is the same table, but it bases the TACs on
17 30 percent SPR instead of Fmax.
19 Basically, the question is whether to use Fmax or 30 percent
20 SPR. You’ve already decided to use Fmax as the preferred proxy
21 for thresholds and then the other question is whether to do
22 annual changes in TAC or do changes every three years, which is
23 slightly more conservative.
25 CHAIRMAN MINTON: What was the recommendation of the SSC or did
26 they get this far?
28 MR. ATRAN: No, they did. The SSC states that Alternative 2,
29 which is -- Let me make sure I’m on the right one here.
30 Alternative 2 seems to be too stringent. That’s the annual
31 changes, while Alternative 3 is not stringent enough.
32 Therefore, no proposed alternative is preferred by the panel.
33 The AP recommended setting TAC on a yearly basis, based upon
34 Fmax. That would be Alternative 2. I’m looking at Table 2.3.1
35 on page 23.
37 MR. GILL: Steve, I believe the AP recommended Alternative 4 and
38 not Alternative 2.
40 MR. KENNEDY: That’s correct. They recommended Alternative 4.
42 MS. MORRIS: The way Magnuson has been reauthorized, they place
43 the responsibility with the SSC for giving us a very strong
44 recommendation on what TAC and catch should be and so I wish
45 that we could get the SSC to give us a clear, strong
46 recommendation on what TAC should be.
48 Maybe there needs to be some feedback to the SSC about that. If
1 I look at Alternative 2 and Alternative 3, it seems like the SSC
2 has said that 2 and 3 are what we should work with and they
3 would like to see something intermediate. According to Bill
4 Teehan, they didn’t have a quorum when they made this
7 Looking at Table 2.3.1, it seems like 2 and 3 have the same
8 result at the end of the six-year period in terms of the average
9 -- Isn’t that right? One just allows an increase every year and
10 the other allows this three-year stepped increases.
12 I’m having trouble -- I think the important part of the SSC’s
13 advice is that we should use FOY as the basis for setting TAC
14 rather than Fmax, but I can’t really differentiate between 2 and
15 3 and I have the feeling that in the past we’ve always used --
17 We’ve preferred the three-year stepped increase as a kind of
18 business management model, so people can know what the TAC is
19 going to be for a series of years, and so I’m leaning in that
20 direction, but if somebody could explain to me really closely
21 what the differences are between 2 and 3, that would be helpful.
23 MR. ATRAN: I’m going a little bit from memory on the SSC
24 meeting here and so Bill might need to help me out, but as I
25 recall, the question was they were looking at the TACs based on
26 OY versus the TACs based on MSY and I need to clarify what I
27 said before. They felt the TACs based on OY were too
28 restrictive and those based on MSY were too lenient.
30 There was a little bit of this discussion about whether or not
31 to recommend something in between and they decided not to make
32 that recommendation.
34 As far as whether to do an annual change versus a three-year
35 stepped, they thought that was just a management decision within
36 the recommended TAC and was not something that they really felt
37 they needed to make a recommendation on.
39 MS. WALKER: Steve, my best recollection is when we did the
40 three-year steps that we averaged the three years and I’ve
41 noticed on all of these that we’ve used actually the lowest year
42 and can you explain to me why?
44 MR. ATRAN: We only used an average for one of our previous
45 attempts at a rebuilding plan. I think that was our first or
46 second attempt at doing a red snapper rebuilding plan under SFA,
47 when we were doing five-year steps, and we tried to average
2 Everything else, we have used the first year, the lowest TAC,
3 and part of the reason for that is that if we were to use the
4 average TAC, that would mean in year one of that three-year step
5 that we would be overfishing. That simply would not be workable
6 under the current requirements for not exceeding overfishing
9 MS. WALKER: The only way that we can obtain optimum yield for
10 the fishery then is to do it on either Alternative 2 or
11 Alternative 4, where we set an annual TAC?
13 MR. ATRAN: That, I believe, is the thinking of the SSC and our
14 IPT team. Another thing that we were considering is that since
15 we don’t have a quota or an absolute cutoff on the recreational
16 sector that as the stock rebuilds that keeping the same
17 recreational management measures is probably going to result in
18 more pounds of fish being landed each year. An annual increase
19 in TAC could help to accommodate that, whereas holding it steady
20 might create some problems in year two and three of a stepped
23 MS. WALKER: Steve, then it’s more conservative for us to adopt
24 an annual TAC, rather than set it at three years? Is that what
25 I’m hearing?
27 MR. ATRAN: No, the way it’s set right now, which is to set each
28 three-year segment at the first year’s TAC, that would be more
29 conservative, but it would probably be easier to keep the
30 recreational sector within its allowance if we did annual
33 DR. CRABTREE: I think it would be helpful to think of this in
34 the context of annual catch limits and accountability mechanisms
35 and those requirements, which are going to be facing us very
38 Optimum yield is essentially your target and I believe the
39 guidelines, when they come out, are going to require that you
40 set a catch limit, which is the annual catch limit and in this
41 case it would coincide with the Fmax level of yields, and then a
42 catch target, which in this case would coincide with the optimal
45 I think we need to treat OY right now as the target and so to
46 me, Alternatives 4 and 5 don’t meet that test and I really don’t
47 think are viable. Furthermore, if you selected Alternative 4 or
48 5, you would be adjusting your management measures to hit that,
1 which means you would have about a 50 percent probability of
2 going over in any given year.
4 Remember, it’s when you go over that Fmax level that the
5 accountability measures are going to kick in. You would be
6 setting yourselves up to have accountability measures kick in
7 almost every other year and I don’t think we want to do that.
9 The advantage, I believe, of Alternative 2, as opposed to
10 Alternative 3, is it would allow the catch limit to go up each
11 year and so as the stock grows, the likelihood of triggering the
12 accountability measures takes that into account and so to me,
13 Alternative 2 seems sufficiently conserve to meet our needs, but
14 I think it’s less likely to hamstring us in terms of triggering
15 these accountability mechanisms down the road.
17 I also believe, based on what I’ve seen of proposals in terms of
18 the guidelines and things, this would be pretty consistent with
19 most of them in terms of constructing ACLs. I think, in my
20 review of this, Alternative 2 looks like the best way to go.
22 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Roy, will we have enough information to
23 evaluate the impacts of this annual increase? That’s one of the
24 things that we got onto the three-year and the five-year
25 scenario, so that we would have some information at the end of
26 that time frame to see how we were hitting those milestones.
28 DR. CRABTREE: I think what would happen is the TAC -- We would
29 probably set it to automatically go up for the first few years.
30 We’ll have to look at the SEDAR schedule and when do we have
31 another gag assessment. The increases in these TACs are
32 relatively small.
34 It’s not likely to mean that you’re going to relax the
35 regulations at all. I suppose we would adjust the commercial
36 quota up to reflect that, but the recreational fishery, I think
37 you would just expect to catch more fish as the stock grows.
39 I don’t think there would be any real changes in the
40 regulations, other than the limit that the accountability
41 measures are based on would go up and probably the commercial
42 quota would adjust along these lines. Is that getting at your
45 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I’m just concerned about the accountability
46 measures and being hit at some point, three years or four years
47 down the road, when we see it and we haven’t got that and have
48 to actually close the fishery because we were exceeding those in
1 each year, possibly, in one sector or the other and then we
2 don’t have any mechanism to help adjust that, except for a
5 DR. CRABTREE: That’s going to depend on how we set up the
6 accountability mechanisms. One way, when we look at this, would
7 be -- If the commercial fishery goes over their quota, it’s
8 going to go over by a relatively small amount and you can
9 probably take that off the next year and it wouldn’t be that
12 With the recreational fishery, they could go over by a
13 substantial amount and if you tried to pay that all back the
14 next year, it could create large problems. Another way to come
15 at that would be if the recreational fishery goes over, then you
16 come in and adjust their target catch level downward, by say 10
17 percent, and adjust management measures to that.
19 You’re not trying to pay it back, but you’re lowering the target
20 a little bit and if you did that over a period of time, you
21 would reach a target catch level that was sufficiently below the
22 limit that you’re not very likely to go over it any and that’s
23 another way to come at it.
25 It probably would be more disruptive in terms of having to have
26 paybacks of -- We’ve had recreational fisheries where they went
27 over it by twice what they were supposed to catch and if you try
28 to pay that all back in the next year, you wouldn’t have a
31 A lot of what people are concerned about is if you get these
32 really big deficits that you’re trying to pay back that it’s
33 going to be very difficult and very disruptive. Looking at the
34 accountability in terms of readjusting the target may be one way
35 to deal with that.
37 MS. MORRIS: I have a question and then I was going to make a
38 motion. The question is do all of these Alternative 2 and
39 Alternative 3 TACs end overfishing within the required time
42 MR. ATRAN: Yes. Don’t forget that ending overfishing is a
43 little bit different from what we might need to do under the
44 ACLs and accountability measures. Right now, ending overfishing
45 simply means getting the fishing mortality below FMSY. For the
46 long term, we are probably going to need some measures that will
47 get us around OY, with some fluctuations allowed.
1 MS. MORRIS: Alternative 2 and 3 both end overfishing and so my
2 motion is that Alternative 2 be the preferred alternative.
4 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We have a motion on the floor. Is there a
5 second? It’s seconded by Dr. Crabtree. Is there discussion?
6 Just as a point of reference, Rick just passed me a note that
7 says that the current SEDAR schedule, gag is to be updated in
8 mid-2011. That works very well, I think, for us. That gives us
9 three years and we look at it and then come back and we’re not
10 getting too far in the hole. I feel a little more comfortable
11 with Alternative 2 with that. Is there any discussion?
13 MS. WALKER: Can you remind me, Mr. Chairman, was this the
14 recommendation of our SSC?
16 CHAIRMAN MINTON: The SSC punted. That’s not a nice thing to
17 say. They said that Alternative 2 was a little lenient and
18 Alternative 3 was too strict and so we’re kind of in the middle,
19 but after Dr. Crabtree’s discussion, I feel more comfortable
20 with it. Is there further discussion? Is there any objection
21 to the motion? Hearing none, the motion passes.
23 MR. ATRAN: That brings us to Action 4, which is Red Grouper
24 TAC, which begins on page 27 and goes over to 28. Red grouper
25 is a different situation from gag. Gag is undergoing
26 overfishing and so we are trying to reduce TAC to end
27 overfishing and achieve optimum yield.
29 Red grouper TAC, the red grouper stock, was determined to be
30 fully rebuilt above its BMSY and is currently at or near its
31 optimum yield biomass levels. In the case of red grouper, we’re
32 at where we wish to maintain equilibrium and so we don’t have
33 these periodic increases or changes in TACs.
35 We just have one TAC going forward until we get the next stock
36 assessment and the alternatives are Alternative 1, no action,
37 don’t change the red grouper TAC, it remains at 6.56 million
38 pounds; Alternative 2, set the red grouper TAC at the level
39 corresponding to FOY, which is 7.57 million pounds; and
40 Alternative 3 is to set the TAC at the level corresponding to
41 FMSY, which is 7.72 million pounds.
43 I would just remind you of what Dr. Crabtree said, that if it is
44 set at FMSY that there would be a 50 percent probability of
45 dropping below the overfishing threshold in any given year.
47 The SSC recommendation is by a vote of eight to zero, which
48 means that we still had a quorum at this point, the SSC
1 supported Alternative 2, which is to set TAC at the OY level,
2 7.57 million pounds. The AP recommendation also was to set it
3 based on Alternative 2.
5 MR. GILL: It seems to me that it’s fairly obvious what we need
6 to do here and so I move Preferred Alternative 2 be our option.
8 CHAIRMAN MOTION: There’s a motion on the floor. Is there a
11 MS. MORRIS: Second.
13 CHAIRMAN MINTON: It’s seconded by Ms. Morris.
15 MR. TEEHAN: I guess I have a question about the notes for the
16 SSC then, because what it says here is after Action 1, at this
17 point a quorum was lost, but the remaining SSC members decided
18 to continue without a quorum. That was after Action 1,
19 according to the notes.
21 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Apparently they had some people come in and
22 vote for them. Steve, can you help us on that? We seem to be
23 in a quandary here.
25 MR. ATRAN: We were moving things around and we weren’t doing
26 things in order and so it’s possible we might have done this
29 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SWINGLE: There’s sixteen members on there
30 and so if you look at it, 50 percent of them were still there,
31 but that wouldn’t be a quorum, I guess.
33 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you, Wayne. Everybody is right.
35 DR. CRABTREE: I think this makes sense to me, to set this at
36 the preferred alternative and set the TAC at the OY level, but I
37 want to talk a minute about where we are with red grouper. We
38 can increase the TAC, but the assessment also shows that the
39 fishing mortality rates are right at the target level.
41 We don’t really have any justification to increase fishing
42 mortality and so as we move through the document, you need to
43 bear in mind that whatever management changes you make need to
44 basically be neutral in terms of fishing mortality, because the
45 fishing mortality rates are right where they’re supposed to be.
47 That’s something we’re going to have to deal with, because when
48 we get further in the document and you start talking about
1 relaxing regulations or relaxing restrictions, those are likely
2 to increase fishing mortality rates and so we don’t really have
3 any justification to do that.
5 The fishery will catch more fish, and that’s okay, but they’re
6 going to catch more fish because there are more fish out there
7 to be caught and by applying the same fishing mortality rate
8 that’s been applied in the past.
10 Just bear that in mind, because that is something that we will
11 have to have the Science Center look at carefully and to go
12 forward with whatever the recommendations are, the Center is
13 going to have to determine that they are neutral in terms of
14 fishing mortality for red grouper.
16 Now, there is one thing that we need to bear in mind. We did
17 phase out fish traps, effective in February of this year. Fish
18 traps have historically caught on the order of 700,000 pounds of
19 red grouper a year.
21 Even if you assume that some of those fishermen have switched to
22 other gear and are still fishing red grouper, and there’s no
23 question that some of them are, there probably is some reduction
24 in fishing mortality that came from the fish trap phase out.
25 Based on how you decide to allocate the catch and look at this,
26 you may have a little bit of flexibility in terms of what you
27 can do with red grouper, but we need to bear that in mind as we
28 move forward.
30 MS. WALKER: Excuse my ignorance, Roy, but help me with this.
31 Our goal for gag is FOY. It’s the same thing for red grouper
32 and yet, FOY calls for a 7.57 million pound TAC, but I hear this
33 fear in your voice of we don’t want to increase mortality or
34 fishing effort. I’m wondering now, is FOY our goal and are we
35 not ever going to be able to be comfortable when we reach that
36 with a stock?
38 DR. CRABTREE: FOY is your goal and we have reached it and I
39 think we are comfortable with it, but what we don’t want to do
40 now is move away from the goal and that’s why we have to be
41 careful as we adjust the restrictions that are in place to
42 control fishing mortality.
44 It’s okay for the fishery to catch more fish. Remember the
45 catch is the fishing mortality rate multiplied by the biomass of
46 fish that’s out there. They can catch more fish, but they need
47 to do it because that biomass has gone up, not because the
48 fishing mortality rate has gone up.
2 Think back to some of the slides we saw yesterday from the
3 Madison-Swanson presentation. A lot of the index showed that
4 the grouper abundance had dropped off some in the last couple of
7 We’re seeing lower grouper catches now than we’ve seen in the
8 last few years and there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to
9 indicate that the population is not quite where it was a couple
10 of years ago. They may not catch that whole level of OY. They
11 may not be able to catch 7.57 million pounds right now, but that
12 may be because the biomass has come down a little bit.
14 That’s always going to be the case, because we know we have some
15 pretty good fluctuations in recruitment over time. If the
16 biomass moves back up to where it was in 2004 and 2005, they
17 would probably have no trouble catching 7.57 million pounds, but
18 we just need to remember that we’re at the target fishing
19 mortality rate and we don’t want to do something that’s going to
20 move us way back up above that and that’s my point.
22 MS. WALKER: Isn’t that the reason we go with FOY instead of
23 Fmax, so that we’ll have that cushion? Maybe I’m
26 DR. CRABTREE: The point is, Bobbi, if we let the fishing
27 mortality rates go back up, we won’t have the cushion anymore
28 and so we need to keep the fishing mortality rates where we are
29 to maintain the cushion.
31 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Other discussion? There’s a motion on the
32 floor. Is there any objection to the motion? Hearing none, the
33 motion passes.
35 MR. ATRAN: That brings us to Action 5, which is Gag and Red
36 Grouper Allocations. The discussion begins on page 28. The
37 alternatives are on page 30 and there’s a table summarizing the
38 alternatives on page 31.
40 The alternatives are -- We originally started out with, I think,
41 about five alternatives and tried to simplify this to bring it
42 down to about three alternatives for the sake of analysis. What
43 we have in here is Alternative 1 is to use as close as possible
44 to the recommendation the direction in the framework procedure
45 to use the years 1979 to 1987, unless some other method is
48 In the case of groupers, commercial grouper landings weren’t
1 identified to species level until 1986 and so we only have a
2 two-year period if we use Alternative 1, 1986 to 1987, for
3 determining allocations.
5 Alternative 2 is to use a recent five-year period for which we
6 have finalized data, 2001 to 2005, and Alternative 3 is to use
7 the full time series of data for which we have final data, which
8 is 1986 to 2005.
10 In terms of what that works out to in allocations, there are
11 some small differences. It’s not nearly as disparate between
12 alternatives on this amendment as it for amberjacks and
13 triggerfish in Amendment 30A, but if we go with the Amendment 1
14 allocations, which is Alternative 1, gag would be 65 percent
15 recreational and 35 percent commercial.
17 Red grouper would be 23 percent recreational and 77 percent
18 commercial. If we do the recent five-year period, gag would be
19 59 recreational and 41 percent commercial and red grouper would
20 be 24 percent recreational and 76 percent commercial. There’s
21 only a 1 percent difference on the red grouper between
22 Alternatives 1 and 2.
24 If we go with the full time series, gag would be 61 percent
25 recreational and 39 percent commercial and red grouper would be
26 the same as it would be under Alternative 2, 24 percent
27 recreational and 76 percent commercial. There’s only a few
28 percentage difference points between any of these alternatives.
30 The SSC had discussed allocations in depth when they were
31 discussing Amendment 30A before they got to 30B and they made a
32 recommendation that they endorsed with 30B that initially they
33 said that they did not have any scientific basis to prefer one
34 allocation over another and then they decided to recommend that
35 the council form an ad hoc working group to develop a set of
36 standardized guidelines for determining allocations. That was a
37 recommendation made under 30A and they reiterated that for this
38 section. The Reef Fish AP --
40 MR. KENNEDY: Steven, do you want me to do that one?
42 MR. ATRAN: Yes, if you understand it better than me.
44 MR. KENNEDY: The Reef Fish AP essentially discussed this one at
45 length, as you would expect they did. They made a first motion
46 and two substitute motions. Essentially, they covered all three
47 alternatives, but in the end, they voted for -- The first motion
48 passed, which was using Alternative 1, the Amendment 1
1 allocations, on a nine to six vote.
3 MS. WALKER: Steve, do we know what the economic net benefit
4 implications are to these allocation alternatives?
6 MR. ATRAN: I would have to punt to either a NMFS economist or
7 Assane, if he’s done any work on this, because that’s completely
8 outside of my understanding.
10 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Can you answer it? Is Assane here? I don’t
11 see him. He stepped out. Roy, do you have anyone who can help
12 us here?
14 DR. CRABTREE: No, I do not. We’ll have to rely on Assane.
16 CHAIRMAN MINTON: This may be one of those areas that we want to
17 hold off on a preferred and get some more input, but maybe not.
19 MS. MORRIS: That was the point I was going to make, Mr.
20 Chairman. I think that the council and the committee are
21 probably pretty closely evenly divided on this issue of
22 allocation and I think it might be good at this point in time to
23 not choose a preferred alternative, since they’re so close
24 together in their percentages anyway, and wait until we have
25 some public hearing comment and a more fully fleshed out
26 document before we choose an alternative in this section.
28 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I think we’re all on the same page.
30 MR. PERRET: Steve, can you -- Were you at the Ad Hoc Grouper
31 IFQ Advisory Panel meeting? Is that the AP meeting you’re
32 talking about?
34 MR. ATRAN: No, I believe either Stu or Assane were at that.
36 MR. PERRET: I guess my question is that group that we
37 appointed, whoever they are -- All I see is Ken Roberts is vice
38 chair. I don’t know who the chair is, but they made a motion
39 and it only states that the panel recommends Alternative 3,
40 which would set allocations based on all available years of
41 data, but there’s no rationale. What was their reasoning for
42 their motion?
44 DR. DIAGNE: Their rationale is they just looked at the
45 percentage that would fall to the two sides, the recreational
46 and the commercial, and also their rationale was to be
47 consistent with what has been done already in 30A.
1 MS. WALKER: It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, that we have several
2 stocks that we’re looking at allocation issues and I agree with
3 Julie. I don’t know that the council has a clear directive of
4 where we want to go with it.
6 I guess I would ask this committee -- I don’t agree with the
7 SSC’s recommendations of forming an ad hoc committee, because I
8 think it’s this council’s job to sit and say this is how we’re
9 going to deal with allocation issues and treat every single
10 stock the same way and not pick and choose among different
13 I’m not so certain that we shouldn’t just leave everything
14 status quo and start an amendment that looks at allocation of
15 all reef fish stocks and decide how the council wants to handle
16 these allocation issues.
18 MS. MORRIS: I have two comments in response to Bobbi’s comment.
19 One is that I think we have significant disagreement on the
20 council of what status quo is and that has come to the surface
21 in 30A. We’re not even in agreement on what status quo is.
23 I asked as chairman of the Administrative Policy Committee for
24 that committee to begin to work on a kind of principled cross-
25 cutting fishery approach to the allocation issues that have come
26 up in the past year and this was actually a request that Bob
27 Gill made in the summer and we haven’t been able to schedule an
28 Administrative Policy Committee meeting to begin to work on that
29 yet. I’m promised that we’ll be able to work on that in the
30 January meeting.
32 I would welcome the thinking of a special kind of SSC/ad hoc
33 working group on what the kind of principles and guidelines
34 might be. I think it would be of assistance to the council.
36 I don’t think it would be replacing the work of the council’s
37 committee and the council itself to come up with an approach to
38 that, but I think it would be helpful to have the kind of
39 working group assistance that the SSC is suggesting. It sounds
40 like we’re kind of in agreement that we should not be choosing a
41 preferred in this section right now and that some larger across-
42 the-board effort would be a good thing to pursue.
44 MR. GILL: To Bobbi’s point relative to the generalized
45 allocation, I welcomed the SSC’s view that we need to consider
46 that and I fully agree. As Julie had mentioned, we have been
47 talking about that and trying to start that ball rolling.
1 I do have concerns about whether it’s appropriate to form an AP
2 to do so and I like Julie’s suggestion that perhaps getting a
3 group of them to give us their input would be indeed helpful,
4 because it’s going to be a difficult issue to tackle and get
5 into agreement and the more input we can get, the better.
7 Given that they made these recommendations for 30A and 30B, it
8 would seem to me that this committee ought to consider whether
9 or not doing it in the Administrative Committee is the proper
10 place or whether they would like to weigh in.
12 I tend to prefer the Administrative Committee, because it’s a
13 generalized thing, but the SSC kind of threw it in to our
14 committee here. I think we ought to consider that and move it
15 forward, as Julie had mentioned, in the Administrative
18 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I think in the past when we’ve had these
19 generic kind of amendments that we’ve actually formed a
20 subcommittee to work on that, because it doesn’t really fit
21 perfectly anywhere. That may be another alternative to
24 DR. DIAGNE: I just wanted to say that the SSC, in its
25 discussions, did suggest that it would be good for the council
26 to have consistent guidelines and a framework by which all
27 allocations would be addressed and they have reservations in
28 what has been done so far in 30A, but basically they just looked
29 at the timeframe, which is really very short.
31 Their strong recommendation is for the council to have once
32 again a consistent set of principles, an allocation policy, if
33 you would, that we can use and allocate across the board.
35 MS. WALKER: I agree with the SSC that we do need something
36 consistent across the board with all species, but I think that
37 it is the council’s duty. Allocation is not going to be a
38 scientific decision and I think we all realize that.
40 We don’t have the economic data to use that. The models aren’t
41 even available for us and so it’s not going to be scientific.
42 It’s something that I think is the duty of this council to make
43 the decision. Julie, I guess I would have to ask Wayne this
44 question, because I don’t see that there is a question on status
47 Amendment 1, in my opinion, has always been used as status quo,
48 or no action, in all of the amendments. If I’m wrong, Wayne,
1 will you please correct me?
3 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SWINGLE: It has until we got into the
4 management of groupers and then we didn’t have the long-term
5 dataset that we had for the other reef fish species. I think
6 some of the grouper allocations have been set maybe in the same
7 vein as this, the best five years and that type of thing. There
8 was some variation from it and the framework procedure allowed
9 variation to occur if the council had rationale for having a
10 different allocation system.
12 MS. WALKER: Did the council take that action or was that action
13 that was taken by the National Marine Fisheries Service in their
14 secretarial amendment?
16 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SWINGLE: The action framework procedure is
17 in Alternative 1 of the reef fish plan. That would apply to
18 that group and the Mackerel Committee took a similar stance, to
19 use the years with the most available data, but at the time they
20 did it, there was only two years.
22 Now, they also changed one different thing, in that the
23 recreational fishery gave back 2 percent of their share to the
24 commercial industry, because a lot of the recreational catch was
25 sold and entered the marketplace and was counted as commercial
28 Otherwise, they were the same and I think there were several
29 amendments that Terry Leary, or a couple of amendments anyway,
30 that he prepared where he gave them the opportunity to go back
31 and use a longer time period for the mackerel fishery and they
32 didn’t do it. They stayed with what they originally adopted.
34 MR. RIECHERS: It’s going to be hard on this one, but I’m
35 probably going to agree or disagree with everyone around the
36 table a little bit. We’ve talked about forming an ad hoc
37 workgroup and the SSC has asked us to do that and in reality, we
38 already have that workgroup working. They’re working on the red
39 grouper allocation as we speak. That was an ad hoc group we
40 formed that will bring us back some of the framework for us to
41 make those decisions.
43 I agree with Bobbi in that ultimately we’re going to have to
44 look at those and we’re going to have to look at their advice
45 and we’re going to have to look at the science that they bring
46 us. That’s where I disagree with you a little bit. It is
47 science they’re going to bring us back and their best cut at
48 that science.
2 Then we’re going to do that just like we do these other options
3 and we’re going to have a suite of options that we’re looking
4 at. I think it would be helpful if we could create some
5 standardization in how we deal with these issues as we move
8 I think we may be kind of getting ourselves wrapped around the
9 axle a little bit here, in that if we could get that group to
10 bring us back to the Administrative Policy group or a special
11 group or the Reef Fish Committee, it doesn’t really matter, that
12 would then set the stage for us creating those common elements
13 we’re going to look at each time, as well as bring us a
14 framework of the science that will help guide in that decision
17 MS. KAY WILLIAMS: I’m not on your committee yet and hopefully
18 in the future I will be.
20 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I don’t think you’re on the council yet.
22 MS. WILLIAMS: Sort of. I’m just not sworn in yet. Even in
23 looking at the allocation measures that I’ve been looking at and
24 you look at the time series, I’m still confused and I think
25 that’s where the SSC and the SEP and some of the others are
26 going to come in.
28 Looking at the landings data, the commercial industry wasn’t
29 even -- They didn’t even really have logbooks mandatory until
30 1993. We’ve looked at some of the landings records by MRFSS and
31 the recreational sector didn’t really agree with those and they
32 actually changed the way now that they collect the data.
34 I think there was a charterboat/headboat survey type thing,
35 where they were looking at landings information in order to help
36 us with these TACs, and I think -- I don’t think it’s just we’ve
37 got to go back and look at Amendment 1 any longer.
39 If we’ve got to set actual catch limits or annual catch limits,
40 we’re going to have to know what those are and use all of the
41 history and the regulations and how that affected the landings
42 each year. I don’t think it’s just simple and going back and
43 looking at what Amendment 1 did.
45 MR. ATRAN: On the question of trying to determine exactly what
46 is status quo, the IPT tried to get around that problem. If you
47 look at how Alternative 1 and Alternative 2 start out in the
48 wording, that would leave the definition of what the allocation
1 is, based upon the default that’s in the framework procedure,
2 without having to change anything that’s in writing, but that
3 does differ from what’s going on in the water in recent years.
5 The recent years division between commercial and recreational,
6 we decided to call it functional status quo, which I don’t think
7 has any legal meaning and so we can make it mean whatever we
8 want. We said that shows what’s actually going on in the water,
9 even if it doesn’t match what’s in the amendment.
11 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Is that opposed to dysfunctional status quo,
14 MR. MICHAEL MCLEMORE: I have several comments. First of all, I
15 want to point out that the time range for allocations in
16 Amendment 1 is in the framework in Amendment 1 and it is
17 specific to setting TAC and the other measures you do through
18 framework, in other words regulatory amendments, but that
19 framework explicitly says alternative allocation procedures will
20 be regularly reviewed relative to the goal to maximize net
21 benefits. Other allocation methods may be developed in
22 subsequent years, but the council intends that those changes be
23 made by plan amendment.
25 That’s what you’re doing. You’ve got a plan amendment here and
26 it’s been done in previous plan amendments, whether it
27 explicitly said we’re looking at this time series or we’re
28 updating it. I think Secretarial Amendment 1 is one example of
31 I would far rather defend a record of rationale for allocation
32 varying from this Amendment 1 time series when you’ve got a
33 record each time you did it as to why you did it that’s
34 consistent with what Amendment 1 said than reverting back to
35 Amendment 1 twenty years later, or however long later it is,
36 just because that’s what you did twenty years ago, when you
37 haven’t done it in the intervening years. That just -- To me,
38 that’s going to take some serious explanation and record
39 building. That’s one point.
41 The other point is I think both of these amendments, 30A and
42 30B, need some explanation and record as to why you’re looking
43 at allocation in the first place. It’s wholly lacking in there
44 and some of us have talked about that.
46 Finally, on the idea of establishing principles for making
47 allocations in the various FMPs and various species and
48 whatever, you’re not starting from scratch. There are some
1 legal parameters that will guide you in that and maybe start you
2 on that road.
4 National Standard 4 and the Guideline for National Standard 4,
5 clearly there’s a lot of useful guidance there, but keep in mind
6 you’ve got to make sure that your allocations don’t discriminate
7 based on state residence, they’re fair and equitable, they’re
8 designed to promote conservation, and they preclude any one
9 single entity from achieving an excessive share.
11 Section 303(a) (14) says you’ve got to fairly and equitably
12 allocate recovery benefits and harvest restrictions when you’ve
13 got an overfished stock among the various sectors of the fishery
14 and you’ve got to take economic impacts into consideration.
16 Read through the Guidelines on National Standard 4. I have them
17 online and if you want them, I can email them to you. I think
18 you’ll find it very useful in getting where you’re trying to go.
20 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you. Assane, can you give us an update
21 as to where the working group is right now so that we can --
23 DR. DIAGNE: Yes, Mr. Chairman. The workgroup is making
24 progress. Our next meeting is scheduled in Tampa for December
25 6th and 7th and so for the next council meeting, which is in
26 January, we will ask one of the scientists to come and present
27 the findings to the council.
29 That being said, if I may add, the working group addresses one
30 question, which is how do you go about allocating, or rather
31 determining, the optimal allocation based on economic valuation.
32 That is only one approach that can be used when you want to
33 allocate a resource.
35 There are additional ways of doing that, which the council may
36 want to consider. Later on, when we’re discussing red snapper
37 allocation, at least the preliminary discussion document, I’ll
38 try to touch on some of those things.
40 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you.
42 MS. MORRIS: I’m going to make a motion that we not choose a
43 preferred alternative in Action 5.
45 MR. GILL: Second.
47 CHAIRMAN MINTON: The motion and second is to not have a
48 preferred alternative on Action 5. Is there any discussion?
2 DR. LEARD: I just wanted to point out that in terms of moving
3 forward with this document, and we are in somewhat of a hurry-
4 up, I guess, mode for getting this done and everything -- With
5 gag, it’s not going to make a whole lot of difference, because
6 you only have about a 6 percentage point change for each one of
7 them, but in doing the impact analyses for these different
8 alternatives, we need to -- We can do that without a preferred
9 alternative here, but I just wanted to remind you that when we
10 get to 30A, which is on even a faster track, we’re definitely
11 going to need to be sure that we’re clear on what your preferred
12 alternative is, so that the impact analyses can reflect that.
14 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you, Rick. Is there further discussion?
15 Hearing none, is there any objection to the motion? The motion
18 MS. WALKER: As Mike has so eloquently stated, we have the
19 perimeters to work with to develop standard criteria for
20 allocations and as I’ve said before, I think that it is this
21 council’s duty to do that.
23 I would move that this committee recommend to the council to set
24 up an ad hoc committee of council members to work towards
25 developing criteria for us to use in allocation issues for all
26 Gulf fish. Does that make sense?
28 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Is there a second to the motion? I’ll second
29 the motion to hear some more discussion, because I think this is
30 a way to get this thing moving, although it may not pass,
31 obviously. Really and truly, I think the motion is kind of
32 where we need to go.
34 There’s more to allocation than simple science or complex
35 science or simple economics or complex economics. The council
36 is made up of a diversity of people, not only to give scientific
37 input, but to give perspectives from different fisheries and
38 non-fisheries. Sometimes these allocation issues go beyond
39 simple math.
41 I think we need to look at that and I like the idea of putting
42 council members on here. I’m sure they will be working in close
43 contact with the ad hoc working group, but to me, it does make
46 MS. MORRIS: I would ask the mover and the seconder to withdraw
47 the motion until Other Business in the Reef Fish Committee
48 agenda, because we have two other discussions scheduled for this
1 morning that deal on this allocation issue, the red snapper
2 allocation agenda item and the 30A allocation.
4 I think after we’ve had those two additional discussions that
5 we’ll have more of a sense of what our advice to the council is
6 about how to form this next step. I think we’ll have -- A
7 better place for the discussion of this motion is under Other
8 Business, after we’ve finished those two agenda items.
10 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Is that all right with you, Bobbi?
12 MS. WALKER: That’s fine.
14 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you. That’s a good point.
16 MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Chairman, we’re kind of lost. The motion
17 withdrawn is the second motion that you’re talking about?
19 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Correct. It’s not withdrawn, but it’s
20 deferred to Other Business.
22 MR. KENNEDY: That’s the one you’re talking about and you’re
23 still left with the motion on Action 5 on the board.
25 CHAIRMAN MINTON: That passed.
27 MR. ATRAN: I would just like a little clarification. Is this
28 being moved to Other Business at the end of the meeting or
29 somewhere in between? At the end of the meeting? Okay.
31 The next section is Action 6, Accountability Measures, which
32 begins on page 32. These are some fairly complex alternatives.
33 Stu Kennedy has been doing most of the work on this section and
34 so I asked Stu before the meeting started if he would mind
35 discussing this section for the benefit of the committee.
37 MR. KENNEDY: Yes, I will. I have been working on these. In
38 fact, I’ve done some of the work on all of 30A accountability
39 and then done these. You’ll find they’re different than what
40 was in the document before and so neither the Reef Fish AP or
41 the SSC has seen these measures.
43 The more we work on these things, the more complicated they seem
44 to get. I think you had some of that conversation earlier, when
45 we were talking about TACs. Before I actually start describing
46 these, I would really like to make a recommendation that you
47 move these all to Considered but Rejected and start an amendment
48 as soon as you can to do accountability measures across the
1 board for all the species, essentially have it in place before
2 the 2010 time period.
4 We don’t have the guidelines yet and although I think we’re
5 following what we suspect those guidelines will be fairly well,
6 there’s just a lot of implications to these things that I have
7 seen in doing them that I’m not sure are well documented, even
8 by me in me trying to write what’s in this document.
10 I think it needs a lot more discussion before they become real
11 and so that’s my recommendation. I’ll go through them if you
12 want and if you decide not to do that, then that’s fine and I’ll
13 go through them and show you what they have.
15 MS. WILLIAMS: Stu, I don’t know that I agree with you that you
16 can put all of the ACLs into one document. The way I understood
17 it is it was supposed to be in each fishery management plan as
18 to how you were going to handle that fishery and I don’t think
19 all fisheries are going to be treated equally.
21 I don’t think red snapper is going to be treated like gag or red
22 grouper and I don’t think the pelagics are going to be treated
23 like red snapper or gag or grouper. I don’t think that you can
24 do it in one generic. I think it’s going to have to be in each
25 individual plan.
27 DR. CRABTREE: I think I tend to agree with Stu, but I do have
28 some concerns. We have four stocks that are undergoing
29 overfishing and that’s gag, red snapper, greater amberjack, and
30 gray triggerfish.
32 We will have to have accountability mechanisms in place for
33 those stocks by 2010 and they’re all in the reef fish plan. We
34 could hold off on this, but we need to get working fairly soon
35 on an amendment to the reef fish plan to do ACLs and
36 accountability mechanisms for these four stocks.
38 I agree that without the guidelines worked up now, and this is
39 getting very complicated and procedurally difficult way to go,
40 and so I think that it might be wise to hold off. These would
41 then come in play not long after this amendment, because to get
42 them in place by 2010, we’re going to have to really get going
43 on this by early next year some time, so a couple of meetings
44 from now.
46 We really need, and I’m going to bring this up when we get to
47 Other Business, but we have got to address the issue of
48 accountability mechanisms in red snapper and we need to do it
1 soon and the law requires that we do it.
3 My biggest concern about holding off on this, and I’ll come back
4 to it in Amendment 30A, is greater amberjack. In that case, we
5 are running out of time to rebuild the stock and we need to come
6 up with some way to deal with potential overruns next year.
8 That’s the one case where I think there is some urgency, but I
9 think otherwise that we could come at these four stocks in a
10 separate amendment to do ACLs and accountability mechanisms for
11 it and then follow that up with the rest of our stocks. I think
12 there’s some merit to what Stu is suggesting.
14 MR. TEEHAN: I think my question has just been answered by the
17 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you. What’s the committee’s preference?
18 I think we got a good recommendation. Kay, in deference to your
19 point, I think that each one will have to be individually
20 analyzed, but I think there are some common grounds, based on
21 common principles, that can be used in all of them, but
22 certainly there will be different measures based on the status
23 of the stock and where we have to go with that, but I do think
24 there’s some commonality that we can use.
26 MS. MORRIS: Mike and Kay and I were at new council member
27 orientation last week in D.C. and we had a presentation by
28 Trumble, who is heading up the effort on developing the
29 guidelines on ACLs and AMs for NOAA, and he indicated that he
30 thought that they would be done with the draft guidelines in
31 January and then they would go to OMB and he expected them to be
32 -- He thought there was a fair chance that OMB would sit on
33 them, or work with them, for several months.
35 It’s possible that we might have the guidelines by January and
36 it’s possible they might not be available until April. I think
37 our proactive stance of trying to get the ACLs and AMs in
38 Amendment 30B and 30A was a really wise move on our part.
40 I hate to let go of that. Sometimes we shed things because we
41 want to move ahead with what we have to do and then it takes a
42 long time to get back to what we had intended to do, what we set
43 aside and put on a slower timeline.
45 It seems like that’s probably the pragmatic thing to do at this
46 point and we have made a lot of progress in the draft so far, so
47 that when we pick it up back up hopefully we will have that head
48 start that we intended by including it in the document as we
1 drafted it up to this point.
3 CHAIRMAN MINTON: That leaves the chair in doubt. We need some
4 motion to either move on with these or set them aside. Somebody
5 help me out. Without a motion, we will be going through them.
7 DR. CRABTREE: I would move for Amendment 30B that we ask staff
8 to start work on an amendment to put in place accountability
9 measures and annual catch limits for our stocks that are
10 undergoing overfishing, which are gag, red snapper, greater
11 amberjack, and gray triggerfish, and that these accountability
12 mechanisms go into that and that we come back early next year
13 and start working on that, to get those put in place.
15 MS. MORRIS: Second.
17 CHAIRMAN MINTON: The motion is seconded.
19 DR. CRABTREE: Just one thing I want to be clear on here though.
20 When we come to 30A, I think we are going to have to maintain
21 some type of mechanism in there to deal with overages, because
22 that one, I think, is going to be upon us next year. While we
23 may need to revisit that, because we don’t know what’s coming in
24 the guidelines, I’m not in this motion suggesting removing that
25 from Amendment 30A, since we haven’t even gotten to that one
28 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We have a motion and a second. Is there any
29 discussion? Roy, is this your motion on the board?
31 DR. CRABTREE: Yes, I’m talking about -- We’re talking about
32 moving these measures in Amendment 30B. I’m not at this point
33 moving anything out of 30A. We’ll come back to that when we get
34 to Amendment 30A.
36 We need to leave greater amberjack and gray triggerfish in
37 there, in case the guidelines change and what we do -- If we do
38 it in 30A. We may come back to it at that time. Is that clear?
39 I’m not prepared to make a motion to move something out of 30A
40 until we get to 30A to talk about it.
42 If I could, in addition, Mr. Chairman, even if we proceed in 30A
43 and do the accountability measures there, we would still need to
44 come in and more formally address the annual catch limits for
45 those species here. Greater amberjack and gray triggerfish
46 likely need to be included in this under any circumstance. It
47 just depends on what we decide to do.
1 CHAIRMAN MINTON: This will be a totally new amendment?
3 DR. CRABTREE: That’s how I’m framing this. I’m open to
4 suggestions from folks.
6 MR. RIECHERS: I think that’s the lines we were working along,
7 if you guys remember the spreadsheet that we had a pretty
8 lengthy discussion about at the last council meeting that
9 basically laid out some of the options for accountability
10 measures and catch limits that we would be seeing in some of our
11 target thresholds and so forth.
13 Probably the only way to get all of those other species included
14 in time is to put them in an umbrella amendment and have that
15 whole amendment moved through the process.
17 We kind of went ahead and started putting them in this document,
18 because we thought we might have guidance and we thought we
19 might be able to fit them into this document, but obviously
20 we’re moving a little faster on this document and the guidelines
21 have been a little slower than we might have thought.
23 I certainly concur with the motion. I think we may have to
24 address these all and it’s going to make it a little complex and
25 it’s going to make it a little bit difficult as we move it
26 through the process, but I think it’s the only way we’re going
27 to meet our deadline, is to do that in an umbrella amendment.
28 If we try to do it species by species, we’re just not going to
29 make it, I think.
31 DR. CRABTREE: I’m expecting that we will next year have to
32 start working on a generic amendment to address the rest of
33 these ACLs. The other thing that I would like to talk about for
34 a minute is we need to recognize that I don’t believe we’re --
35 We will likely be allowed to form multispecies ACLs in some
38 I think grouper is a fishery where we’re going to want to
39 consider putting together a multispecies ACL. I don’t think
40 you’re going to want to come in and have annual catch limits for
41 every single grouper species and individual accountability
42 mechanisms for individual species.
44 That’s going to cause the whole notion of a shallow-water
45 grouper quota to fall apart and aggregate bag limits. I would
46 ask staff in this amendment that we’re talking about to also
47 take a look at forming some multispecies grouper complex issues
48 and address the issue of a multispecies ACL for shallow-water
1 grouper, of which gag would be a part.
3 To me, it’s appropriate to manage the shallow-water grouper
4 fishery as a fishery and I just think from a logistical point of
5 view that it would be very difficult to have individual ACLs for
6 all of them and it would just lead to some chaos. I would like
7 to have that addressed in this particular amendment as well.
9 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Further discussion? Hearing none, is there
10 any objection to the motion? The motion carries. Let’s take
11 about a ten-minute break and then come back and we’ll pick up
14 (Whereupon, a brief recess was taken.)
16 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Can we get the Reef Fish Committee back to the
17 table, please? I think we’re basically here. We do have a
18 quorum. This takes us to page 41, 2.7, Action 7, Shallow-Water
19 Grouper, Red Grouper, and Gag Commercial Quotas.
21 MR. ATRAN: Action 7, as Vernon said, is on page 41. This is
22 setting the commercial quota for shallow-water grouper. Aside
23 from the no action alternative that would leave the shallow-
24 water grouper quota at its current level of 8.8 million pounds,
25 within which there’s a red grouper of 5.31 million pounds, each
26 of the remaining two alternatives works in pretty much the same
29 They add together the commercial allocation for red grouper, for
30 gag, plus an allowance for the other groupers, an aggregate from
31 the shallow-water complex. The difference is that Alternative 2
32 for that other grouper uses 0.57 million pounds, which is based
33 upon the baseline years, using Secretarial Amendment 1, 1999 to
34 2001, and Alternative 3 has a slightly higher allowance, 0.68
35 million pounds, which is based upon a more recent average of the
36 years 2001 to 2004.
38 The AP and the SSC both recommended Alternative 3, which is to
39 add together the allocations for gag and red grouper, and use
40 the base period of 2001 to 2004, or 0.68 million pounds.
42 The SSC stated their rationale was because that alternative, as
43 far as the other groupers go, reflected a more recent time
44 period and a longer time period, that is more likely to
45 accurately reflect average catches.
47 MR. GILL: In the interest of brevity, I move that Alternative 3
48 be our preferred alternative.
2 CHAIRMAN MINTON: The motion on the floor is to move Alternative
3 3 as the preferred. Is there a second?
5 MS. MORRIS: It’s seconded by Ms. Morris. Is there discussion?
6 This could be real brief.
8 MR. GILL: I think we’ve heard from Steve that both the AP and
9 the SSC, or at least what was left of the SSC, recommended that
10 and is the longest time series and the better alternative.
12 CHAIRMAN MINTON: National Marine Fisheries Service, do you have
13 a comment?
15 DR. CRABTREE: Not at this time. I think, based on what I’m
16 looking at, I don’t see a problem with this right now.
18 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Is there any other discussion? Is there any
19 objection to the motion? The motion passes.
21 MR. ATRAN: Action 8 is Application of Quota Closures. That
22 begins on page 42. This is a number of alternatives for how to
23 close the fishery for shallow-water grouper when one or more of
24 the species or aggregate quotas is met.
26 Alternative 1 is no action, which would leave the regulations as
27 they are right now. The commercial shallow-water grouper
28 fishery closes when either red grouper or shallow-water grouper
29 quota is reached, whichever comes first. It ignores the gag
32 Alternative 2 simply incorporates the gag quota into the
33 existing regulations. It states that the commercial shallow-
34 water grouper fishery closes when either the red grouper quota,
35 gag quota, or shallow-water grouper quota is reached, whichever
36 comes first.
38 In both of these alternatives, the problem that we’ve been
39 seeing with the red grouper and aggregate quotas and closing
40 everything when whichever one comes first is reached is that
41 whichever fishery has not reached its quota ends up being under
42 fished, I guess would be the term to use.
44 The commercial sector loses the opportunity to fill that other
45 species quota and so the remaining alternatives in this section
46 would try to come up with some way to allow the individual
47 quotas to be reached without exceeding the overall aggregate or
48 any individual species aggregate.
2 Alternative 3 states that when an individual species quota is
3 reached, either the gag or the red grouper quota, commercial
4 harvest of that species alone closes. The remainder of the
5 shallow-water grouper fishery can continue until either both gag
6 and red grouper quotas are reached or until the shallow-water
7 grouper quota is reached, whichever comes first.
9 What that’s saying is that when the first species quota is
10 reached, that species closes, but shallow-water grouper can
11 continue until any other quota is reached, at which time
12 shallow-water closes.
14 Alternative 4 was an attempt to do a geographical closure of
15 either red grouper or gag by taking advantage of the fact that
16 while there’s an overlap in the species areas of occurrence, gag
17 tend to be more abundant in the northern areas of the Florida
18 Shelf, whereas red grouper tend to be more abundant in the
19 shallow areas.
21 What this alternative says is that it’s an either/or, or we
22 could select some other percentage, of the gag quota is reached,
23 commercial harvest of all shallow-water grouper in Statistical
24 Areas 5 through 21, and I believe -- There’s a statistical map
25 on page 45 and so that’s I guess about Charlotte Harbor
26 northward that would close, but the southwestern part of Florida
27 would still be open to shallow-water fishing, until one of the
28 quotas is reached.
30 On the other hand, if 70 percent, or some other percentage, of
31 red grouper is reached, then the southern statistical areas, 1
32 through 4, would be prohibited, but fishing on all shallow-water
33 grouper could continue in the northern areas.
35 If both quotas are estimated to be reached at approximately the
36 same time, within thirty days of one another, then all
37 statistical areas would remain open until either the shallow-
38 water, red grouper, or gag quotas are met. As I said, if there
39 is an area closure, the remaining area would remain open to all
40 fishing, until any one of those quotas is met, and then all
41 shallow-water fishing would close.
43 The idea is to try to leave a small percentage of the fishery
44 that’s approaching its quota open, so that that species can
45 continue to be caught as an incidental catch in the remaining
46 area that’s open, while targeting the species that hasn’t
47 approached its quota yet.
1 The SSC -- Let me do the AP first. They were a little simpler.
2 For this action, the AP recommended Alternative 3, when an
3 individual species quota is reached, harvest of that species
4 closes and the fishery can continue on the remainder of the
5 shallow-water grouper, until one of the other quotas is reached,
6 at which point shallow-water grouper is closed. That motion
7 carried by a vote of twelve to three.
9 The SSC didn’t really like any of these alternatives. They felt
10 that Alternatives 2 and 3 were inefficient and would result in
11 under harvest of at least one of the grouper species stocks and
12 they felt that Alternative 4, which is the geographic closures,
13 was too complex.
15 They came up with their own alternative, an Alternative 5, which
16 reads: When 90 percent, or some other percentage, of an
17 individual species quota is reached, directed harvest of that
18 species closes. However, harvest of the remaining shallow-water
19 species can continue with a bycatch allowance on the species
20 that is closed of between 5 and 10 percent of the total grouper
21 catch by weight.
23 That would continue until either both the gag or red grouper
24 quotas are reached or the shallow-water grouper quota is
25 reached, whichever comes first. Basically, they’re trying to
26 close a species when it approaches its allocation, but leave
27 enough to allow a bycatch while the fishery continues to target
28 the remaining open species. That concludes that.
30 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you, Steve. That seems to make sense.
31 It should be something we could look at, whether we select it as
32 a preferred or not. Is there any committee recommendations
33 regarding the SSC recommendation?
35 MR. GILL: I think we ought to include it as an alternative for
36 consideration at this time.
38 MS. WALKER: Second.
40 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We have a motion and a second to include the
41 SSC’s recommendation for an Alternative 5. While they’re
42 putting this together, is there any discussion on this, other
43 than it just seems to make more sense than the others, the 90
44 percent and then a bycatch?
46 It does, at least on the outside, appear to work, because we
47 know, I think, intuitively that we will have bycatch, even
48 though they state later on in the document that the commercial
1 fishermen say they can target the species, but they have
2 themselves indicated there would be some amount of bycatch. I
3 think the debate would center about how much that would be. The
4 percentage is 5 by -- Did you say by weight, Steve?
6 MR. ATRAN: Yes.
8 CHAIRMAN MINTON: 5 percent by weight and I think that does make
11 MS. MORRIS: I’m just trying to understand the alternative that
12 the SSC has developed for us to consider. What would happen if
13 the bycatch allowance -- 90 percent of the gag commercial quota
14 is caught and you keep fishing other shallow-water grouper
15 species and what happens if more than another 10 percent of the
16 gag quota is caught?
18 Do you close all shallow-water grouper? That’s not addressed in
19 this alternative. It sounds like you just keep fishing, hoping
20 that the fishermen will choose to fish in ways that it doesn’t
21 exceed the 100 percent of the quota for gag, until the shallow-
22 water grouper quota is reached or the red grouper quota is
23 reached as well and is that kind of how it would operate? It
24 seems like under Alternative 5 you can exceed the gag quota.
26 MR. ATRAN: I believe that was discussed during the SSC meeting,
27 but the idea is that there would be a very small bycatch
28 allowance allowed and possibly in some years there might be the
29 quota of that species being exceeded, but in other years, the
30 fishery would close before that remaining 5 to 10 percent is
33 This would allow some fluctuation around the quota and that
34 would probably fit in with some of the accountability measure
35 considerations that we’re looking at that would allow some
36 fluctuation around optimum yield, as long as on average we don’t
37 exceed that level.
39 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Roy, we would be able to get some analysis on
40 this, wouldn’t we, to give us kind of an idea of just how this
41 would curtain the fisheries, but at the same time not get into
42 the wasteful bycatch that I see with some of the others?
44 DR. CRABTREE: Absolutely. I think we can go into the logbooks
45 and look at what would have happened and some of those kinds of
46 things. We’ll have to analyze it. I have some concerns with
47 it, because it’s not clear to me how effective it will be, but I
48 think it is worth taking a look at. It certainly is a problem.
1 I guess we’re going to vote on this motion at this point, when
2 we’re ready?
4 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We will when we get through discussing it,
5 certainly. Is there any other discussion? What this motion
6 would do then is include this as another alternative. It does
7 not select it, or any of the others, as a preferred. It just
8 allows us to get some analysis on this, to see if maybe there is
9 some merit in moving in this direction and possibly allay some
10 of Julie’s and mine and Roy’s concerns.
12 Without any further discussion, or indication of further
13 discussion, is there objection to including this in the
14 amendment? Seeing none, the motion passes.
16 MR. GILL: Relative to Alternative 4, being a firm believer in
17 the KISS system, and I note that the SSC concurs and it was also
18 the AP recommendation, I move that we move Alternative 4 to the
19 Considered but Rejected category.
21 CHAIRMAN MINTON: There’s a motion on the floor. Is there a
24 MS. WALKER: Second.
26 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Ms. Walker seconds the motion. Is there any
27 discussion? I think with adding the SSC’s alternative in that
28 this one no longer really needs to be in there, because it’s 70
29 percent or some other percentage. Any objection to the motion?
30 Hearing none, the motion carries. Is there any further
33 DR. CRABTREE: I don’t view Alternative 3 as really a viable
34 option. It’s difficult for me to see how we could close gag and
35 have the rest of the fishery remain open, or vice versa. I
36 think I would move, and I will move, that we remove Alternative
37 3 to Considered but Rejected.
39 CHAIRMAN MINTON: There’s a motion on the floor. Is there a
42 MS. WALKER: Second.
44 CHAIRMAN MINTON: It’s seconded by Ms. Walker.
46 MR. ATRAN: I just wanted to remind you that the AP -- That is
47 their recommended alternative.
1 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Any discussion?
3 MS. MORRIS: Steve, can you explain to us why the AP preferred
4 this alternative and how did their discussion deal with the
5 discard mortality that seems to be necessary if this becomes the
6 actual management action?
8 MR. ATRAN: Stu, I think, will respond.
10 MR. KENNEDY: As I remember it, they did not really have a long
11 discussion. They recognized that it would cause bycatch
12 problems, but it was the more lenient of the two of them and
13 they felt they should be able to fish all of their quota, or
14 more of it. That’s the reason, as best I can remember.
16 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Did they consider, Stu, the future and
17 accountability measures and that if by this alternative it
18 allows these overruns that they could be looking at some
21 MR. KENNEDY: They did discuss that, in the sense that they
22 wouldn’t be taken off in the beginning, the bycatch issues, but
23 they would come back during the assessment period and that would
24 potentially cause a problem. They did that on several cases,
25 they talked about bycatch.
27 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Further discussion?
29 MR. GILL: I’m going to speak in opposition to the motion. It
30 seems to me that every alternative that we have on the table
31 here has problems and it comes down to choosing your poison. I
32 think we need to leave it in there and flesh it out a little bit
35 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Any other discussion?
37 DR. CRABTREE: I don’t disagree with you on that, Bob. I think
38 the only really good solution to getting out of this is
39 something along the lines of an IFQ type approach. I would be
40 more interested in pursuing a couple of variations of the SSC’s
41 recommendation or something along those lines, because it just
42 seems to me that Alternative 3 is just going to result in large
43 amounts of waste and bycatch.
45 I’m agreeable, if staff can come up with a variant or two, of
46 Alternative 5. It says -- It has the 5, 2, 10 percents. Maybe
47 there’s a couple of variants that could be looked at in order to
48 try and find different ways around this, but it just seems to me
1 that Alternative 3 just really isn’t acceptable, given the
2 levels of discards that would likely occur.
4 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you, Roy. Would you like to respond,
7 MR. GILL: Roy, I agree with that. I think the goal of the
8 SSC’s alternative is worthy, but I think it’s a little complex
9 in its own right and if I think if we flesh out some variants,
10 as Roy suggested, it would be a good idea.
12 CHAIRMAN MINTON: So you’re agreeing and disagreeing?
14 MR. GILL: A nice middle-of-the-road position.
16 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Let’s vote on this. I think this first one
17 we’re going to have to actually do a vote. All in favor of the
18 motion to move Alternative 3 to Considered but Rejected signify
19 by saying aye; opposed same sign. The motion carries. Is there
20 any other discussion on Action 8?
22 MS. MORRIS: Because we like the new Alternative 5, but we don’t
23 have any analysis and we’re not sure how it works, we’re not
24 going to choose a preferred alternative in this section, is that
27 CHAIRMAN MINTON: That would be my feel also, Julie. I think
28 with Roy’s discussion and also Bob’s, and with the SSC, what we
29 would like to see under the new alternative is some additional
30 analysis as to what those percentages might be and possibly some
31 sub-alternatives, or something along that line, to give us a
32 better idea of where we’re headed with this. At this point, I
33 don’t think, unless someone has a strong feeling that we need to
34 pick a preferred, I think we need more analysis before we get
37 MR. ATRAN: I was just going to say as far as the request to
38 perhaps develop some variations on the SSC alternative that we
39 can do that, but I just wanted to make sure you realize it won’t
40 be for tomorrow. We would go back to our IPT team to work on
41 that and bring it to you in January.
43 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Certainly. With that, move us along.
45 MR. ATRAN: The next action is Action 9, which the discussion
46 begins on page 47. There is, on page 48, a table of what the
47 recreational allocation would be under various combinations of
48 TAC, whether we do the MSY or the OY-based TAC, and which years
1 we use for a baseline.
3 This tells us what percent reduction is needed on both the
4 commercial and the recreational side under those allocations to
5 reduce overfishing. The alternatives -- There’s some discussion
6 about how bag limits and size limits and closed seasons will
7 affect the catch on the recreational side.
9 The alternatives themselves begin on page 54 to 55, but what we
10 have here is just a selection of -- We happened to select seven
11 alternatives out of a much larger universe of potential
12 combinations of bag limits, size limits and closed seasons that
13 could be applied to the recreational fishery to try to get a
14 reduction in gag.
16 We were looking at also an increase in red grouper. I’m not
17 sure how Roy’s earlier comments about we’re already at the
18 appropriate fishing mortality rate would factor into this.
20 For purposes of putting these alternatives together, we assumed
21 that we are going to use Fmax or FOY, based upon the Fmax, as
22 our target and, Andy, were we using the longest time series or
23 the most recent time series for the allocation? Do you recall?
24 We were using the longest time series for allocation.
26 I would like to call your attention to page 59. Rather than the
27 seven alternatives that are listed, page 59 has a table of a
28 large number of combinations that Andy Strelcheck had worked up,
29 giving combinations of gag bag limits, red grouper bag limits,
30 aggregate bag limits, size changes for either gag or red
31 grouper, and various closed seasons and then the percent change
32 expected from gag harvest and in red grouper harvest by the
33 recreational sector.
35 Then the final column is if the closed season were to apply only
36 to gag and black, rather than gag, black, and red, how much the
37 change in red grouper would vary, as opposed to having the
38 closure on all three of those species.
40 This is one of those sections that we still need to work on,
41 because we’re not sure right now where the allocation is going
42 to be. That’s going to affect how much of a percent reduction
43 we need and I’m not sure where Roy’s comments about we’re at the
44 fishing mortality that we want to be at right now for red
45 grouper would factor into this.
47 As I said, I would just refer you to the Table 2.9.10 on page 59
48 for basically the whole universe of recreational scenarios
1 that’s been drawn up and see if there are specific scenarios you
2 would like us to include as alternatives for further analysis or
3 if we should be targeting different percent reductions and
4 increases. The alternatives are on page 54 and 55. The table
5 I’m referring to is on page 59.
7 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I’ve got a question for Andy. What is the
8 current percentage reduction in harvest with the February 15th to
9 March 15th closure in the recreational sector?
11 MR. ANDY STRELCHECK: It’s approximately 7 to 8 percent for gag
12 grouper and on the order of 4 percent for red grouper and that’s
13 been taken into consideration, since it’s such a new regulation.
15 DR. CRABTREE: Andy, when you do that though, that analysis
16 assumed that we would have a compatible closure with the State
17 of Florida, which we have not had, and so it seems to me that it
18 would be overestimating the impact of that.
20 I know it’s hard to look back at the MRFSS data, but it seems to
21 me at this point we should assume that that one-month closure is
22 going to be significantly less effective than the initial
23 analysis indicates, because Florida has not implemented
24 compatible regulations.
26 I think, and we’ll come back to this with red snapper, that
27 we’ve got to start taking into account whether we have
28 compatible regulations with states or not when we look at how
29 these work.
31 CHAIRMAN MINTON: As I recall, and I’m probably wrong, but I did
32 argue against this closure when it was first brought up and I
33 recall that we were estimating, at that time, that it would give
34 us a 3 to 4 percent reduction and now you’re saying 7 percent.
35 Are you taking into account --
37 MR. STRELCHECK: Keep in mind that that was proposed when we
38 were dealing with red grouper and the reduction is approximately
39 3 to 4 percent for red grouper.
41 CHAIRMAN MINTON: As a scientist, considering the variability in
42 the MRFSS data, is 3 to 4 percent measurable? In other words,
43 can you tell the difference between 3 to 4 and 5 to 6 and 7 to 8
44 in terms of the data that’s coming in that’s used in the
47 MR. STRELCHECK: We try to use a time series of at least several
48 years so that we get an average that would take into account
1 some of that variability and changes from one year to the next.
2 It’s just an average, essentially, a reduction estimate.
4 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Bill, can you tell us what your state
5 estimated the economic impact of that 3 to 4 percent would have
6 been on the State of Florida?
8 MR. TEEHAN: Not right at this point. I can’t tell you what the
9 economic numbers are.
11 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Could you say at this point it was significant
12 or it was projected to be significant?
14 MR. TEEHAN: Probably, but I don’t have the numbers.
16 CHAIRMAN MINTON: It’s a thick limb. Go ahead.
18 MR. TEEHAN: No, I’m sitting on the trunk right now. I can find
19 out. I don’t know if we’ve done any economic analysis within
20 the agency on this.
22 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you. Roy, you popped your hand up?
24 DR. CRABTREE: Nothing for now.
26 MR. ATRAN: I didn’t give you the SSC and AP recommendations.
27 The SSC apparently had quite a bit of discussion and went
28 through several motions and substitute motions and basically,
29 they were looking to try and keep things the same until they
30 could get better information or establish a three grouper
31 aggregate and no season.
33 However, the substitute motion that finally passed on the AP was
34 that in order to have no closed recreational season that the AP
35 recommends a five to three fish bag limit of any grouper and
36 then, if necessary, up to a twenty-four-inch minimum size limit
37 for gag grouper. They were putting their emphasis on trying to
38 avoid having a closed season for the recreational grouper
41 The SSC punted. They, by consensus, felt that the selection of
42 an appropriate harvest regulation scenario is a fishermen’s
43 preference and not a scientific issue.
45 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We have multiple punts here.
47 DR. CRABTREE: I have a couple of comments about the
48 alternatives in general. One, I don’t see any point in
1 considering increases in the gag minimum size limit beyond where
2 it is now. We have yield per recruit analyses, where Clay Porch
3 is here and could comment on them, but the size limits are
4 already set higher than the maximum yield per recruit and we
5 know we have significant numbers of dead discards in the
6 recreational fishery of gag.
8 I would move that we go ahead and take any alternatives that
9 involve increases in the gag minimum size limit and remove them
10 from further consideration.
12 MS. MORRIS: Second.
14 CHAIRMAN MORRIS: There is a motion and a second and I have to
15 agree that it seems very appropriate. We’ve tried that and it
16 just creates additional problems and we do have to address this
17 discard mortality rate. Is there further discussion on the
20 MS. WALKER: Remind me, Roy, again, the perfect size for yield
21 per recruit is how many inches in gag and the release mortality
22 in recreational is what percentage?
24 DR. CRABTREE: I think the approximate release mortality in the
25 recreational fishery was on the order of 20 percent and I think
26 the size that maximizes yield per recruit varies from fishery to
27 fishery, because they’re much higher -- I think in the longline
28 fishery that the average release mortality rate was closer to 65
29 percent and so in that particular fishery, the size that
30 maximizes yield per recruit would be much less than in some of
31 the other fisheries, but Andy is looking through the document.
33 MR. ATRAN: The release mortalities are on page 8 in the
36 MS. WALKER: What was the size limit to maximize yield per
37 recruit on recreational?
39 MR. STRELCHECK: Looking at the Science Center’s yield per
40 recruit analysis, they didn’t break it out by fishing sector,
41 but across the entire fishery with the size limits they
42 analyzed, it was sixteen inches for maximizing yield per
45 CHAIRMAN MINTON: As Roy just said, that’s going to vary
46 tremendously between the two fisheries, isn’t it, Andy? It
47 might be thirteen or fourteen in the commercial fishery, in the
48 deepwater fishery, but maybe twenty in the recreational fishery.
2 MR. STRELCHECK: It will be contingent largely on the
3 selectivity of each of those fisheries.
5 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I think that’s the number we need.
7 MS. MORRIS: I was going to bring up a new topic. Is that okay
8 or are we still working on the yield per recruit?
10 CHAIRMAN MINTON: If you’ll hold, I’ll come back. We do have a
11 motion on the board and it’s basically to remove anything that
12 increases the size limit on gag. We have discussed it. Is
13 there any other discussion? Is there any objection to the
14 motion? Hearing none, that carries and, staff, if you’ll take
15 care of that, it will be appreciated. Go ahead, Julie.
17 MS. MORRIS: I’m staring at this Table on 2.9.10 and I’m looking
18 for combinations of bag, size and seasons that accomplish what
19 we’re looking for. Could somebody remind me how much of an
20 increase in red harvest -- What percentage increase in red
21 harvest is deemed acceptable, based on the SEDAR advice and the
22 SSC advice?
24 MR. ATRAN: There’s a table on page 48. I believe this is the
25 functional one, Table 2.9.1, that looks at various combinations
26 of TAC and allocations and I believe the IPT, for purposes of
27 doing analysis and putting together some alternatives, assumed
28 that we would be doing the OY TAC, which is 3.13 million pounds,
29 and the longest time series for allocation, which would be 1986
30 to 2005, which gives the recreational sector 61 percent of gag
31 and the commercial 39 percent.
33 Under those conditions, there would need to be a 45 percent
34 reduction in both the recreational and the commercial gag
35 harvest in order to end overfishing.
37 MS. MORRIS: I’m sorry, Steve, but my question was about red.
38 I’m asking about how much we can increase red harvest.
40 MR. ATRAN: We have a table for red grouper as well, if I can
41 find it.
43 CHAIRMAN MINTON: While Steve is looking for that, go ahead,
46 MR. STRELCHECK: Julie, this hopefully will help you out a
47 little bit. My page numbers don’t seem to be consistent with
48 Steve’s, but looking at the document, on page 38 it discusses
1 estimated increases in red grouper recreational harvest.
3 One of the problems that we’ve struggled with is that the
4 recreational fishery isn’t managed by a quota and so we don’t
5 know the potential increase in harvest that might occur based on
6 comparing status quo conditions with new management measures,
7 especially since there appears to be a falloff in recruitment
8 coinciding with the recent red grouper recreational management
9 measures imposed in 2006.
11 We’ve presented it more as a range of values and it largely
12 depends on how much the recreational sector could harvest under
13 average recruitment conditions, if those return to the fishery.
15 MS. MORRIS: Once again, I’m looking at Table 2.9.11, that Steve
16 directed our attention to, and it shows reductions in gag
17 harvests and increases or reductions in red harvest and so I’m
18 looking for a strategy that involves size and bag and season
19 that accomplishes both the reductions in gag and the allowable
20 increases in red.
22 I need to know a percentage number of what the allowable
23 increases in red are in order to use this table as a tool to
24 figure out what our preferred alternatives are.
26 Andy, I didn’t hear you say what you thought the percentage
27 increase in red could be. Is it just really hard to say and
28 that’s what you’re telling us? I don’t know how to use the
29 table if we don’t have an allowable percentage increase in red,
30 based on the scientific advice.
32 DR. CRABTREE: I think the best way to think about is the red
33 grouper management restrictions that are in place now are
34 exactly the right level of restriction that’s needed in the
35 fishery and so if, for example, you want to increase the
36 recreational red grouper bag limit, you’re going to have to show
37 where else are you reducing fishing mortality in red grouper
38 that would offset the increase that would come from increasing
39 the bag limit.
41 An example is if you want to go up to two or three on the red
42 grouper bag limit, you’re going to need to have a closed season
43 in place that would compensate so that it is neutral with
44 respect to fishing mortality or you’re going to have to come in
45 and look at how you’re going to do the allocation and have some
46 discussion of how the fish trap phase-out plays into that.
48 Basically, anything that you do that would increase fishing
1 mortality on red grouper is going to have to be offset somewhere
2 else, either in terms of closed seasons or something else like
3 that. There’s not a magic number in terms of the landings that
4 you’re looking at and I don’t think that this table is going to
5 give you that.
7 I think you need to focus in on what’s going to get you where
8 you need to be with gag and then look at what impact will that
9 have on red grouper. For example, if you decide to get where we
10 need to be on gag is that we’re going to have a three-month
11 closure of the recreational grouper fishery, now you can go in
12 and let’s look at where does that leave us on red grouper and we
13 can probably increase the bag limit some, because we’ve got that
14 closed season in place. Does that make sense, Julie, and is
15 that helpful?
17 MS. MORRIS: Yes, thank you.
19 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Roy, how do we get there from here until we
20 set some kind of an allocation?
22 DR. CRABTREE: That’s going to be a little bit difficult. All I
23 can point out though is the allocation you have, at least for
24 red grouper, are within 1 percent of each other and they’re not
25 that much different for gag, a few percentage points.
27 It’s not going to be that different to begin with, but it will
28 make some difference in it. I don’t know how to resolve that
29 until we make a choice there.
31 MS. MORRIS: Just building on what Roy was saying, the range of
32 allocation measures that we set out called for a range in
33 recreational gag grouper harvest reductions between 41 and 45
34 percent. I think we can work with that range. I don’t think
35 it’s unmanageable. We’re looking for something that reduces the
36 recreational harvest between 41 and 45 percent.
38 DR. CRABTREE: Another general comment I would like to make
39 about the recreational alternatives is they seem to focus in on
40 closed seasons being gag, black, and red grouper. I think it
41 would be more appropriate to have the closed seasons focus on
42 the shallow-water grouper complex.
44 I think, given the directives for annual catch limits and the
45 way we’re going to end up going, that’s what we’re going to end
46 up doing anyway. I would make a motion that in these
47 alternatives the references to gag, black grouper, and red
48 grouper be replaced with shallow-water grouper and that we
1 manage this group as a complex.
3 CHAIRMAN MINTON: There’s a motion on the floor. Is there a
6 MR. GILL: I’ll second it.
8 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Seconded by Mr. Gill. Is there discussion?
9 Roy, do you want to give some more rationale?
11 DR. CRABTREE: It’s just based on what we’ve seen, the only
12 reason it’s red, gag, and -- The motion would be red, gag, and
13 black grouper. The only reason I think it’s focused on just
14 those three species is that what was done in that one-month
15 closure originally for the commercial fishery and then
18 Really, where I think we need to get to is managing the shallow-
19 water grouper complex. I think we’re there and have been on the
20 commercial side and are managing it that way, but I think it is
21 a multispecies fishery on the recreational side as well. All of
22 the information we have indicates that while yes, some people
23 can target one species more than another, the bycatch of the
24 various species are fairly common.
26 I think when we go down the annual catch limits discussion that
27 we’re going to look at framing a shallow-water grouper complex.
28 I don’t think you’re going to want to have an annual catch limit
29 for red, black, and gag and then separate annual catch limits
30 for the other grouper species. I just don’t think that’s going
31 to be functional.
33 It just seems to make sense to me to treat it as a complex and
34 we’ve always come at this with an aggregate bag limit and other
35 types of things and so I think it’s just a more consistent
36 approach and I think it’s more consistent with how we’re
37 handling the commercial side.
39 MR. GILL: Roy, would you discuss a little bit about the
40 potential impact of this motion on our options here for Action
43 DR. CRABTREE: I don’t think that it would have a significant
44 impact, because most of the species it brings in have very low
45 recreational landings. Steve, I guess the scamp would be the
46 next most -- The only one with really significant landings. The
47 other ones, like yellowmouth and some of the other ones in the
48 shallow-water grouper complex, I think probably have very
1 minimal recreational landings, don’t they?
3 MR. ATRAN: All of the other shallow-water groupers combined,
4 after you remove red grouper and gag, constitute less than 5
5 percent of the recreational catch, but you’re correct that
6 scamp, I believe, is a distant number three and I know at least
7 one of our SSC members has had some concerns about the true
8 black grouper, which we’ve tried to get some stock assessments
9 in the past and haven’t been able to schedule it.
11 DR. CRABTREE: I think most all of the impacts on the fishery
12 from what we’re doing come from the regulations on red and gag.
13 I think when you add in the remainder of the shallow-water
14 complex that it’s a very low amount of fish.
16 MS. WALKER: Roy, how would we handle -- Would we handle scamp
17 like we do in the commercial fishery, where when the shallow-
18 water grouper fishery, the TAC has been taken, then it moves to
19 deep water? How are we going to handle scamp in the
20 recreational fishery?
22 DR. CRABTREE: I suppose we could do that. That’s something
23 we’ll need to decide and we don’t -- Right now, depending on
24 what we do with the aggregate bag limit -- Right now, the
25 aggregate recreational bag limit includes shallow-water and
26 deepwater and we probably ought to address that in some fashion
27 in here, too.
29 I guess you could do something along those lines, Bobbi. Maybe
30 some more analysis could give us some guidance on that, by
31 looking at are scamp more commonly caught in association with
32 shallow-water grouper recreationally. I think the recreational
33 landings for deepwater grouper are in general very low in the
34 Gulf, but maybe that’s something we need to take a look at and
35 give some thought to.
37 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Where do you want to head with this? If we
38 can’t pick alternatives, are there other suggestions?
40 MR. ATRAN: We still have a motion on the board.
42 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I thought we took care of that. The motion on
43 the board is to change references to red, gag, and black grouper
44 to shallow-water grouper as a complex. Is there objection?
45 Hearing none, the motion carries.
47 Back to where I was at a minute ago, we do need additional
48 analysis. In terms of this section, should we possibly, and I’m
1 asking the committee, look at this in terms of what other things
2 we would like to see in here from the Southeast Center or from
3 staff that would help us come to closure on establishing these?
5 I don’t think we can pick preferred at this time and so I’ll
6 leave that open to the committee, I guess with the
7 recommendation that if we don’t hear anything else then we’re
8 going to move on, in the interest of time, I guess. Is there
9 anything anyone sees that we would like to have additionally?
11 I would like to see in the document, and it just makes it easier
12 for me to go through it, where you list these alternatives and
13 with the closures, could we, in the alternatives, possibly, in
14 parentheses, have the percent reductions that would be
15 accompanied there, rather than having to flip back and forth to
16 a table? I think it would make it simpler just to look at,
17 possibly, both for each species.
19 MR. ATRAN: That was actually in there in one of the earlier
20 drafts and it got left out when the alternatives were rewritten.
21 It will be in there.
23 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Okay, good.
25 MS. WALKER: Steve, correct me if I’m wrong, but I understood
26 that a large problem with the recreational fishery were
27 discards, was the number of discards associated with the
28 recreational fishery. Do you have any idea what the outcome
29 would be if we just lowered the aggregate bag limit from five to
30 three and allowed the angler to choose which species?
32 MR. ATRAN: I think this Table 2.9.10 has some options that do
33 involve lowering only the aggregate bag limit. In the case of
34 the recreational discards, one thing I would remind you is the
35 original stock assessment had overestimated the biomass of dead
36 discards, because it was applying the size distribution of the
37 entire fishery, rather than the size distribution of the
38 undersized fish to the numbers being thrown back.
40 When that was corrected, we still have the same number of fish
41 as a discard, but the weight went down significantly. I think
42 it was less than half of what it had been before. We still do
43 have a discard problem, but it’s not as bad as the original
44 stock assessment had indicated.
46 MS. WALKER: I don’t see what you just mentioned in Table
47 2.9.10, where we have an aggregate of three, where the angler
48 chooses. Can you tell me which line it’s on?
2 MR. ATRAN: I don’t think you have a three. You have -- Let’s
3 see, if you go down, the first one that has only an aggregate
4 bag limit change is about halfway down and that would reduce the
5 aggregate bag limit to two fish with no change in size limits, a
6 January 1st to May 15th closed season, and that would have a 47
7 percent reduction in gag harvest and a 2 percent reduction in
8 red grouper harvest.
10 If we keep on going down, there’s two others, about three-
11 quarters of the way down, and again, they’re only looking at a
12 two fish aggregate bag limit. These involve increasing the gag
13 minimum size limits, but you’ve already thrown those out through
14 a previous motion.
16 What we have on here, as far as what’s going to remain, is we
17 only have one motion that’s purely changing the aggregate limit
18 and letting the fishermen catch as much as they want within that
19 limit of grouper species and that’s a two fish bag limit. Andy
20 has his hand raised up and I assume that we can get some more
21 analysis on that.
23 MR. STRELCHECK: Table 2.9.6 should directly address what you
24 were asking for. It shows decreases in gag harvest and
25 increases in red grouper harvest, if only an aggregate bag limit
26 is imposed without any species specific bag limits.
28 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Bobbi, is that what you wanted?
30 MS. WALKER: Yes.
32 DR. CRABTREE: I think one of the things that I’ve heard from a
33 lot of fishermen is that a lot of our bag limits are just too
34 high and one of the cases I’ve heard that of is grouper.
36 I would move that we not consider any aggregate bag limits
37 higher than three fish. I know we have to have the status quo,
38 which is five, but I really just don’t see that we’re going to
39 get anywhere and that there’s much to be gained by looking at
40 aggregate bag limits of above three fish.
42 Along those lines, bear in mind that the likelihood of
43 triggering accountability measures, when they go in place, is
44 going to be affected by this and so we just need to start moving
45 towards some more conservative management with it. It will have
46 relatively little impact on anyone.
48 We’re going to end up with an aggregate or a bag limit of gag
1 that’s going to be, I suspect, one or two. I don’t think we’re
2 going to be able to raise the red grouper bag limit beyond two,
3 possibly three, and I just don’t think there’s much reason to
4 really have a bag limit that high anymore.
6 I’ve had a lot of fishermen talk to me about that, as well as
7 the twenty fish bag limits we have in a lot of cases, that we
8 just don’t need that many fish. I think having those high bag
9 limits sets you up for the potential to have a very high overrun
10 when you have high recruitment of something and then have very
11 painful accountability mechanisms come in.
13 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Before we go much further, let’s see if you
14 get a second. The motion is do not consider any aggregate bag
15 limits higher than three fish. Is there a second?
17 MS. MORRIS: Second.
19 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Second by Ms. Morris and now you may continue.
21 DR. CRABTREE: I apologize, but I think I said most of my piece
22 on it in terms of my rationale.
24 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Very good.
26 MR. RIECHERS: If I’m keeping score, and I certainly don’t know
27 that I am keeping score correctly on this one, but that would
28 leave us just with Alternative 1 and Alternative 3, as I’m
29 reading the document at this point in time.
31 DR. CRABTREE: I think then staff could come up with some
32 additional ranges of working with the confines of a three fish
33 aggregate for different combinations of closed seasons and
34 things within that. I’m not trying to reduce the numbers of
35 alternatives, but I’m just trying to get them into a more
36 realistic and more likely range of things that we need to look
39 MR. RIECHERS: May I respond? That’s fine, Roy. I just want to
40 make the point that obviously it’s going to take more staff work
41 and you’re always concerned about that and how that slows our
42 process a little bit. Just be aware of that as we try to work
43 through those new combinations, if your motion passes.
45 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I’ve got a question for Andy. Under Table
46 2.9.10, you take the aggregate limits down to two, I believe is
47 the lowest you get to, and you’re still looking at closures. Is
48 there any combination, other than zero, that can eliminate a
3 MR. STRELCHECK: No, not without species-specific bag limits.
4 Even then, I think you’re going to still need some sort of
7 CHAIRMAN MINTON: You realize that’s the poison pill that really
8 hurts worse, I think, than anything else in terms of economics,
9 at least. Then even if you are closed and you’ve got boats out
10 there, we’re still going to have some mortality, I would suspect
11 anyway. Are there other comments?
13 MR. TEEHAN: I’m not sure if this is the appropriate place to
14 put this, because you have a motion on the board, but I would
15 like to consider an alternative, if there is a three fish bag
16 limit, that the composition is any species that the harvester
17 wants, be it black, gag, or red.
19 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Why don’t we come back? Let’s dispose of this
20 motion and then I’ll come back to you and we may need a motion
21 to take that up. We have a motion on the floor. Is there any
22 objection to the motion? Hearing none, the motion passes.
24 MR. TEEHAN: Do you want this in the form of a motion?
26 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Yes.
28 MR. TEEHAN: I would like to add an alternative that would allow
29 a three fish aggregate bag limit with the angler to decide the
30 composition of gag, red, or black.
32 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We’ll need some pretty fine analysis on that,
33 Bill. Before we go on, is there a second?
35 MR. GILL: I’ll second it.
37 CHAIRMAN MINTON: It’s seconded by Mr. Gill.
39 DR. CRABTREE: Just to clarify, this is an aggregate grouper bag
40 limit and so I think what you really -- Don’t you mean that you
41 would like to see an alternative with a three fish aggregate bag
42 limit and no specific other components to it and not focusing it
43 on black, red, or gag? Maybe it is the same thing functionally,
44 I guess. Is it?
46 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Are you saying, Bill, that if they had a scamp
47 or something like that that’s part of the three?
1 MR. TEEHAN: What we’ve talked about in my office is basically
2 black, red, and gag and it’s just a three fish and you’re out
3 kind of a scenario. I don’t know about adding scamp.
5 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Since it’s part of the complex.
7 MR. TEEHAN: Then I guess you would have to.
9 CHAIRMAN MINTON: At least the deepwater.
11 MS. WALKER: I guess I would have to ask Steve, on page 52, that
12 Table 2.9.7, it shows reductions in grouper harvest, all species
13 associated with various aggregate bag limits. Am I reading this
14 right that if we went to an aggregate bag limit of three fish
15 with a 20 percent reduction that we’re only reducing
16 recreational harvest 6.3 percent?
18 MR. ATRAN: Yes, that is correct. Don’t forget in the
19 recreational fishery the average number of grouper caught is
20 only -- I think it’s a little under two fish per angler per trip
21 and so until you go down to about a two fish bag limit, you
22 don’t get very good percentage reductions.
24 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Bobbi, do you have a follow-up?
26 MS. WALKER: Based on this, with a three fish aggregate and us
27 not limiting gag at all in the aggregate, we’re nowhere near
28 where we need to be. I don’t know if we need the analysis for
29 this type of a --
31 MS. MORRIS: I’m still hung up on 2.9.10 and if you scroll down
32 in that table, it has an option down near the bottom where you
33 have a three fish bag limit and three of those fish can be gag.
34 In order to get the reductions that you need, you would have to
35 have a really long closed season, November 1 to April 30th.
37 If there’s no specific gag limit within a three fish bag limit,
38 the potential, especially in the northern Gulf, is that all
39 three of those bag limit fish are going to be gags and if all
40 three of them are gags, we’re going to have to have almost a
41 six-month closure in order to achieve the reductions that we’re
42 looking for in gag harvest. I don’t think this is workable.
44 DR. CRABTREE: Julie is exactly right. You can do this and you
45 can have a three fish aggregate bag, but you’re going to have an
46 extensive seasonal closure of five or six months. Now, there
47 may be fishermen out there who would prefer that to having a low
48 bag limit. There may be some subset of fishermen who would
1 rather have a significantly shorter season, but when they go and
2 spend the money to go, they can bring home more fish. I don’t
5 I think you could certainly get to where we need to be through
6 this approach, but it needs to be clear and the public needs to
7 understand that if we go with a three fish aggregate that
8 there’s an extensive closed season that would have to be in
11 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Also, I think that’s going to be area-specific
12 too, Roy. Some folks in different areas would rather have the
13 closure at certain times and some would rather not.
15 DR. CRABTREE: We’ve seen that in virtually every fishery we’ve
16 ever managed, I think.
18 MR. TEEHAN: Just a point of clarification. I think the motion
19 should read: “A three fish aggregate bag limit” and the purpose
20 of putting this up here, or my intent, is just to have that
23 MS. WALKER: Bill, I’m going to support it, because of what Roy
24 just said. There may be people out there that would prefer that
25 and the longer closure and if we leave it in the document, then
26 at least we’ll get comments on it.
28 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Good point. Is there any other discussion?
30 MR. SIMPSON: Mr. Chairman, I’m not on your committee and it’s
31 not discussion, but in listening to the comments about this, I’m
32 reminded why I gave up duck hunting.
34 CHAIRMAN MINTON: You would go today though, wouldn’t you? It
35 hasn’t turned around, hasn’t it, at least in the duck world? Is
36 there any further discussion?
38 MR. KENNEDY: Sorry, but one thing. Since you made a motion
39 that was approved a little while ago to change any discussion of
40 black, red, and gag to shallow-water grouper, should you do that
41 in this one before you approve it or disapprove it?
43 DR. CRABTREE: To me, this should just say to add an alternative
44 with a three fish aggregate grouper bag limit and I don’t think
45 you need to mention any of those other species. That would be
46 the implication then, that it’s a three fish aggregate bag limit
47 with no specific species restrictions in it.
1 CHAIRMAN MINTON: That’s a good point. Thank you, Stu. I think
2 if I look at the maker of the motion, do you agree to that?
3 Make sure we get individual analyses, too.
5 DR. CRABTREE: Bill, would this alternative also have a seasonal
6 closure component attached to it that gets us to the reductions
7 needed or is this just a stand-alone alternative that will get
8 about a 3 percent reduction and really wouldn’t be doable in and
9 of itself?
11 MR. TEEHAN: No, I think we need to look at the analysis and see
12 what variables come out of it and bring that out to the public
13 and see how they feel about it. If it’s got a long closure, as
14 you said earlier, but yet it gives more fish and they’re happy
15 with that, then that’s fine, but we need to see that in the
16 document, I think.
18 MR. ATRAN: My understanding from this motion is that we’re
19 going to remove or not consider any alternatives that would have
20 a four fish bag limit on them. Five fish has to be in there,
21 because that’s status quo, but we would primarily be looking at
22 combinations of scenarios that do involve a three fish or a two
23 fish bag limit.
25 If you want us to look at one fish, we could look at that as
26 well, but my feeling is that you want us to look at -- We would
27 have to combine this with some other measures and right now, the
28 only other measure you’ve made available to us is closed
29 seasons. The only other thing I could possibly think of would
30 be regional closures.
32 MS. WALKER: Steve, since we’ll be including scamp, and I know
33 that you said it’s 5 percent or less in the harvest, but will
34 that change Table 2.9.10, when one of the three fish could be a
35 scamp or all three could be scamp? Is that going to change?
37 MR. ATRAN: Andy put the table together, but I believe the
38 aggregate catches were based upon all grouper catches,
39 regardless of species.
41 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Andy, do you want to say something on the
42 record with that?
44 MR. STRELCHECK: Steve is correct.
46 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Are we ready to move on with this thing?
47 We’ve got a motion on the board to add an alternative with a
48 three fish aggregate grouper bag limit. Is there objection?
1 Without objection, the motion carries.
3 MS. MORRIS: I’m looking at the same table I keep looking at and
4 I’m wondering if the recreational harvesters on the committee
5 and on the council would like to comment on, for their part of
6 the Gulf, which of these unpleasant closed season alternatives
7 seem like they’re the most workable for your recreational
10 That’s really what it kind of comes down to, is which time of
11 year are we going to have a closed season and how long is that
12 closed season going to last. If you are trying to get us to
13 move towards a preferred alternative, Mr. Chairman, it seems
14 like that’s where the conversation has to go next.
16 CHAIRMAN MINTON: It’s my fear that we’re not going to be able
17 to get to a preferred at this meeting. I think there’s too much
18 analysis that has to be done to frame this to where we can make
19 informed decisions. I do think that you’re right in terms of
20 different areas having different preferences, but I think we
21 need to look at that in terms of percentages.
23 If you look at the harvest of these species, help me, Bill or
24 Andy, but 90-something percent is coming from Florida. If we
25 were to set it up to where it had the least impact on Florida,
26 we may not do anything in terms of having a percent reduction.
28 I think we really need to consider where we’re going to get our
29 best bang for it and, Andy, when the analyses were done, did you
30 weight the area where harvest was coming from in the analysis?
31 If you look at the harvest off of Alabama, there’s not going to
32 be a whole lot in that area in terms of percentage of the
33 harvest and so I’m assuming that these closures are primarily
34 looking at what would happen off of Florida and probably being
35 inclusive of a Florida state water closure and is that correct?
37 MR. STRELCHECK: That’s correct. It assumes compatible
38 regulations, one, and it’s not weighted by area fished or state
39 fished. It’s Gulf-wide landings and the reductions associated
40 with closing particular months during that fishing season.
42 DR. CRABTREE: I have one comment. The periods that are in
43 these alternatives for closures right now I think focus around
44 the spawning season for gag in general. It makes sense to me
45 that if we’re going to have a seasonal closure in the fishery to
46 center it around the spawning season for gag, because I think
47 there’s general feeling among people that protecting spawning
48 fish is probably a good thing.
2 The other thing I would ask too is, Bill Teehan, we likely would
3 need to get some sense of where Florida is. I think your next
4 commission meeting is in December. I think we’re going to have
5 to come to grips with somewhere early next year of do we have
6 good prospects for compatible regulations or not and we’re going
7 to have to deal with that at some point.
9 I think it’s critical that we work closely with the states on
10 this one, so that we don’t wind up in a mess like we are this
11 year with red snapper, and that we try to keep the states
12 onboard and that we try to keep the timing of when these things
13 go in place consistently, because it sure could throw us all out
14 of whack if we get in a situation where we’re not going to have
15 compatible regulations. I hope we can work towards that goal.
17 MR. TEEHAN: Roy, we have couched the red snapper issue in those
18 terms to the commission, as far as compatibility helps the
19 entire management plan, and we’ll certainly bring it up as far
20 as this is concerned.
22 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Does anyone have anything else under this
23 section? I don’t think we’re going to get to the preferred at
24 all. With that, let’s move on. We’re desperately running out
25 of time here and it’s all Steve’s fault.
27 MR. ATRAN: By the way, the reason why we scheduled Amendment
28 30B before 30A was because we figured this one would go faster.
29 We’re up to Action 10, which is Alternatives to Reduce Discard
30 Mortality of Groupers.
32 It begins at the bottom of page 60. The alternatives are on
33 page 61 and 62. This was a section -- At the last council
34 meeting, I forwarded the IPT’s recommendation that this entire
35 section be moved to Considered but Rejected, because the primary
36 alternative on here, Alternative 1, was equivalent to an
37 alternative that’s in Reef Fish Amendment 27, the red snapper
38 rebuilding plan, to require stainless steel circle hooks,
39 venting tools, and dehooking devices.
41 Amendment 27 applied that to all reef fish. We put it in this
42 amendment to apply it only to grouper, in the event that the
43 Amendment 27 action did not get approved.
45 We got word from the regional office last week that we have
46 received partial approval of that amendment and that particular
47 action has been approved. Alternative 2, which would apply that
48 only to groupers in this document, is now a moot point. We
1 don’t have to do that. It’s going to apply anyway.
3 Alternatives 3 and 4 are primarily instructional alternatives.
4 We could leave these in, but these are something we could work
5 with Sea Grant, I think, without having to have an amendment to
6 work on.
8 That leaves alternatives that were added in this section to
9 reduce the red grouper minimum size limit in order to try to
10 achieve maximum yield per recruit and to try to achieve some
11 increase in the recreational harvest of red grouper, consistent
12 with the increase in TAC.
14 We’ve heard from Dr. Crabtree today that there may be some
15 problems with trying to actually increase red grouper harvest,
16 since we seem to be right at the fishing mortality rate that we
17 want to be at. With all that in mind, I would again bring
18 forward the IPT’s previous recommendation that this section be
19 moved to Considered but Rejected.
21 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Committee discussion?
23 DR. CRABTREE: I’m open to discussing that, but I do have one
24 thing I would like us to look at, whether it goes in this
25 section or some other section of the document.
27 Based on the yield per recruit analysis that the Center’s folks
28 have done on this and looking at the release mortality rates
29 that are existing in the longline component of the fishery at
30 this time, I would like to have an alternative in the document
31 somewhere that would analyze and look at elimination of the
32 grouper size limits in the longline grouper fishery.
34 I think what we’re doing is requiring that fishery to discard
35 dead fish and they are basically required by our regulations to
36 fish outside the twenty-fathom depth contour and many of them
37 fish a fair amount deeper than that. It’s our regulations that
38 are causing, to some extent, the high release mortality rates
39 that they have, and there’s just no way they’re going to get
40 around that.
42 Then most of the discards that they have are red grouper and are
43 mostly being discarded because they’re below the minimum size
44 limit. They have very few gag that they discard, because they
45 don’t tend to catch that many gag, but the estimate of the
46 mortality rate of the gag they do discard is 65 percent.
48 I just think we’re better off to put in place a policy in that
1 fishery of total grouper retention. If you catch a grouper, you
2 land it. I think that will have some benefits to it, because I
3 think it will result in bringing in some extra red grouper that
4 are being thrown over the side dead now without having any real
5 impacts on gag.
7 I think that’s something we ought to give careful consideration
8 to now and I really think it’s something that the analysis Clay
9 has done would support. I don’t care if you want to move this
10 section of the document to Considered but Rejected and put in an
11 alternative under the commercial management measures to do that.
13 I would rely on staff to tell us organizationally how they would
14 do that, but I would like to move that we have an alternative
15 somewhere in the document that would eliminate grouper size
16 limits in the longline fishery.
18 CHAIRMAN MINTON: What I’m hearing is you have a two-part
19 motion. The first part would be to move this section, as it
20 currently stands, to the Considered but Rejected and in its
21 place, add in alternatives that would consider reducing the
22 discard mortality and an elimination of the size limit in the
23 commercial longline fishery.
25 MS. MORRIS: I think what I would recommend that we do is that
26 we move Alternative 3 and Alternative 4 and Alternative 5 to
27 Considered but Rejected and add a new alternative, it would now
28 be Alternative 3, that would eliminate size limits in the
29 longline shallow-water grouper fishery.
31 DR. CRABTREE: Alternative 2 is already status quo now and so
32 that one is already gone and is that correct, Steve? That’s now
33 status quo, requiring those things.
35 MR. ATRAN: It is, but probably we should vote to remove that as
36 well. What I was going to suggest, perhaps, is that we replace
37 this entire section with a red grouper size limit section and
38 then the range of alternatives might be status quo, leave the
39 size limits in place, have some smaller size limits, or
40 eliminate the size limits completely and then sub-options to do
41 it only for the longline fishery or for the entire commercial
44 DR. CRABTREE: It’s not a red grouper section. We’re looking at
45 size limits across the board in that alternative and so it’s
46 broader than that.
48 MR. ATRAN: I’m sorry, I meant to say for all grouper. The idea
1 would be that we replace the -- Instead of calling this
2 “Alternatives to Reduce Discard Mortality of Grouper”, although
3 that’s still going to be primarily the case, it’s “Alternatives
4 to Address Commercial Grouper Size Limits”.
6 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Before we get further down the road, I need to
7 know if Julie got a second or if she’s going to hold this motion
8 and then we’ll come back and discuss it. Right now, as I
9 recall, we do not have a second to your motion.
11 MR. GILL: A question, Mr. Chairman. Julie, is that the motion
12 that you want at this point in time? Do we have the motion on
13 the board that we really want to be considering?
15 MS. MORRIS: I think so, but I want to check with Roy Crabtree.
16 Is it remove the size limit or is it remove or reduce the size
17 limit? What were you thinking of there?
19 DR. CRABTREE: Let’s say, for the purposes of the alternatives,
20 to remove or reduce, so we get some alternatives of each. Then
21 I’ll second your motion, Julie. Can we add Alternative 2 up
22 there, just so it’s very clear to staff? Then I would second
23 this motion.
25 CHAIRMAN MINTON: There’s a motion and a second and she did
26 agree to removing Alternative 2.
28 MS. WALKER: I have to speak against this motion, because one of
29 the areas that I’ve heard so much talk about is how private
30 recreational anglers are not aware of correct venting
33 If the maker and the seconder would remove Alternative 3 from
34 here, I think that’s something that we as a council and the
35 agency -- I think that we can work with the states and get them,
36 when people go in to get licenses, to give them a sheet on how
37 to properly vent. I just don’t want to see us lose that option.
39 MS. MORRIS: I have no objection to changing the motion to drop
40 Alternative 3 from being addressed by the motion.
42 DR. CRABTREE: I agree. I think Ms. Walker makes an excellent
45 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you. Is there any other discussion?
47 MS. MORRIS: I’m going to support this, but I am always
48 concerned when we put something in that creates incentives for
1 people to switch from the vertical line commercial fishery to
2 the longline fishery. This seems like it has that aspect of it
3 and so I would like that to be addressed in the discussion.
5 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Some kind of analysis that how many would
6 possibly change over, looking at boat size, equipment cost,
7 those kind of things, because I think we’ve had some people
8 switch the other way already, haven’t we, from the longline to
9 the bandit? No? All right. Is there any further discussion?
11 MR. GILL: I know the intent here is that we’re trying to reduce
12 the discard mortality in the longline fishery, in grouper, and I
13 agree with that. However, I think we ought to also recognize
14 that it will not eliminate it.
16 There’s the size at which it’s not worth bringing in and to the
17 extent that they catch any of these little rascals, and I don’t
18 see much of that happening, but there’s a natural size that
19 they’ll just discard and the market will dictate that.
21 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We have a motion on the board and we’ve had
22 discussion. Is there any objection to the motion? Hearing
23 none, the motion carries.
25 MR. ATRAN: The next section is Action 11, which the discussion
26 begins on page 64. This is the creation of marine reserves.
27 The alternatives themselves begin on page 66 and the next
28 section, Action 12, is Duration of Marine Reserves. Since these
29 two actions are closely related to each other, we might want to
30 discuss them together.
32 Under Action 11, we are looking at the possibility of creating
33 new reserves to increase the protections of the male portion of
34 the gag population, as well as to provide additional protections
35 for spawning aggregations of gag and other fish.
37 You’ve gotten quite a bit of presentations yesterday on what
38 effect the current Madison-Swanson and Steamboat Lumps Reserves
39 have had on gag and red grouper and the analysis from the
40 ecosystem modeling workshop on what they feel is the impact, or
41 lack of impact, of those reserves on protecting gag as a stock.
43 The actions that we have are Alternative 1, don’t create any
44 additional reserves. Alternative 2 is an either/or, establish a
45 new reserve. Option A would create an area called Snyder Ridge,
46 which is a rectangular area of about 127 nautical square miles
47 northwest of Steamboat Lumps.
1 Then Option B would create a parallelogram shaped area that runs
2 across the forty-fathom contour, from the northern edge of
3 Steamboat Lumps northward, and would cover about 390 nautical
4 square miles.
6 There is a map in the amendment and it’s on page 72, at least in
7 the paper version, that shows where these alternatives would be
8 relative to Madison-Swanson and Steamboat Lumps. Snyder Ridge
9 is almost entirely contained within the larger parallelogram
10 reserve and that’s why we said this is either/or.
12 It depends upon if you want to create a new reserve, you could
13 create a large one or a small one within the same basic area,
14 covering the forty-fathom break, which is where most of the gag
15 spawning occurs.
17 There are sub-options for what sorts of fishing regulations to
18 apply within the reserves. Sub-Option (i) would apply the same
19 regulations that we currently have for Madison-Swanson and
20 Steamboat Lumps, which is to prohibit all fishing November
21 through April and allow surface trolling from May through
24 Option (ii) is a little bit of a simpler set. It would prohibit
25 all fishing November through April, again, but it would allow
26 all fishing May through October.
28 Alternative 3 is an expansion of the existing Madison-Swanson
29 Reserve. It would add another segment to that reserve north and
30 west of it and so it would turn it into somewhat of an L-shaped
31 reserve and basically expand it northwest, again, covering the
32 forty-fathom break. The map on page 72 shows what that would
33 look like.
35 That would add an additional seventy nautical square miles to
36 the existing reserve, which is, I believe, around 120 or so
37 nautical square miles. This was suggested by the Science Center
38 as being the area that has the highest density of gag spawning
41 Then Alternative 4 came out of a suggestion that came out of the
42 first ecosystem modeling workshop that suggested that the most
43 effective marine reserves for protecting gag should not only
44 protect the spawners while they’re on the aggregation sites, but
45 should also protect the females on their way to and from the
46 aggregation sites and the only way to do that would be to create
47 cross-shelf reserves that would run -- They suggested all the
48 way into shore.
2 Since we don’t have the authority to go all the way into shore,
3 I had the alternatives set up to go all the way into the
4 state/federal water boundaries and to do this, Madison-Swanson
5 would be extended northward, to the northward boundary, along
6 the state/federal boundary, and Steamboat Lumps would go
7 eastward to the boundary.
9 Again, those are illustrated in the map on page 2 and those
10 would add -- Extending the Madison-Swanson as a cross-shelf
11 reserve would add approximately 523 nautical square miles to the
12 existing reserve. Extending the Steamboat Lumps Reserve,
13 because it’s further offshore, would add approximately 1,037
14 nautical square miles.
16 In this particular alternative, since it’s an extension of an
17 existing reserve, rather than a creation of a new one, I did not
18 address the fishing regulations. It’s just an assumption that
19 the existing regulations would apply in the expanded reserve.
21 As I said, I think it might be worthwhile to look at both of
22 these sections together. Action 12 is the Duration of Marine
23 Reserves, how long they would be until they sunset. Alternative
24 1 has no action, which means there would be no sunset and any
25 new reserves would remain in effect, unless they’re terminated
26 by a subsequent amendment.
28 We did have a sub-option to add Madison-Swanson and Steamboat
29 Lumps that to stay in effect unless terminated. Otherwise,
30 Madison-Swanson and Steamboat Lumps Reserves will terminate in
31 June 2010, which means that by early 2009, at the latest, we
32 would need to begin another amendment to consider reauthorizing
33 those reserves.
35 Alternative 2 would say that any new reserves that are created
36 in this amendment would expire in June of 2010, to coincide with
37 Madison-Swanson and Steamboat Lumps. Again, that means we would
38 need to put a reauthorization into effect with a new amendment,
39 beginning work on that amendment in early 2009.
41 Alternative 3 would create the new reserves for ten years, which
42 would bring us to about the year 2018, and then it contains a
43 sub-option that would extend Madison-Swanson and Steamboat Lumps
44 to also remain in effect until the same deadline, 2018. Again,
45 that’s all I have.
47 The AP recommendation was that these sections be moved to
48 Considered but Rejected. They felt that marine reserves, MPAs,
1 are simply not acceptable as a management tool and the SSC ran
2 out of time and did not get to that section.
4 MS. WALKER: Mr. Chairman, in light of the data and the
5 testimony that we received yesterday, I move to add Actions 11
6 and 12 to the Considered but Rejected section.
8 CHAIRMAN MINTON: There’s a motion on the floor. Is there a
9 second? Is there further discussion? The motion fails without
10 a second.
12 MS. MORRIS: Since we haven’t really had any public comment on
13 this section yet, my suggestion for today and this council
14 meeting would be to not go through and choose preferred
15 alternatives for this action at this time, in order to keep
16 things out there for public comment.
18 I do have some suggestions about sort of reorganizing the way
19 things are laid out, but I wonder if the committee would be
20 comfortable with not choosing any preferred actions at this
23 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I certainly agree with it, considering the
24 time that we’ve got here. We’re not going to be able to do it.
25 It’s going to take an awful lot of time to go through this and
26 we need a lot more analysis. I concur with your suggestion.
27 Other committee members? We would just move on then.
29 MS. MORRIS: I have a couple of points about reorganizing, if
30 you think you want to take those up, but if you don’t, we can
31 defer on that as well.
33 CHAIRMAN MINTON: If you can help us reorganize where it will be
34 helpful in the next round, I would certainly entertain it. Go
37 MS. MORRIS: If you look at Alternative 4, this is the
38 suggestion that Steve composed out of one of the ideas of the
39 Ecosystem SSC, these very long, extensive cross-shelf reserves.
40 Those are really designed for a different objective than the
41 objective that’s articulated for this section.
43 This section has articulated an objective to protect the male
44 spawning sites and the long, cross-shelf reserves are really an
45 approach to protecting other stages of the life cycle and so I’m
46 not sure Alternative 4 belongs in this section. We could either
47 move it into a different section or move it by itself into
48 Considered but Rejected.
2 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Do you want to take that up now or after some
3 additional staff analysis?
5 MS. MORRIS: Do you anticipate doing additional staff analysis
6 on this one, Steve?
8 MR. ATRAN: Not at this time. What I would do is incorporate
9 the information that we’ve received from the ecosystem workshop
10 and any information we received from the other presentations
11 yesterday into this.
13 CHAIRMAN MINTON: What’s your pleasure?
15 MS. MORRIS: My sense from your body language, Mr. Chairman, is
16 that you would rather just not deal with any of this right now
17 and so it’s fine with me if we just leave things as they are in
18 the document and take them to public hearing and then deal with
19 them, after we’ve had public hearings, at our next council
22 CHAIRMAN MINTON: You have a keen perception for the obvious,
23 Ms. Morris. I think that’s good. Steven, anything else?
25 MR. ATRAN: That concludes the action items that are in
26 Alternative 30B. The next agenda item will be selection of
27 public hearing locations, but I guess there’s a generic question
28 of is there anything else that you would like to see put in or
29 taken out or changed in this amendment?
31 MR. GILL: Mr. Chairman, relative to Action 10 and the
32 alternative that we’ve just put in at Roy’s suggestion relative
33 to reduction or elimination of size limits on the longline
34 fishery, one of the impacts here is that says the vertical line
35 fishery is going to have a vastly different fishing regimen and
36 it seems appropriate if we’re going to do the one --
38 I’m not sure we want to go down this road, but we probably ought
39 to look at some other analysis that includes the vertical line
40 fishery and I would make a motion that we add an alternative
41 that eliminates or reduces the size limit for grouper for all
42 grouper fisheries, all commercial grouper fisheries.
44 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Is there a second?
46 MS. MORRIS: Second.
48 CHAIRMAN MINTON: It’s seconded by Ms. Morris and I think it
1 does address some concerns about shift between fisheries, if we
2 can accommodate that. I think it’s appropriate. Is there any
3 discussion? This would be across fisheries then. That would be
4 good. Any other discussion? Is there any objection to the
7 MS. WALKER: I object.
9 CHAIRMAN MINTON: There is objection to the motion. All in
10 favor of the motion signify by saying aye; opposed same sign.
11 The motion carries.
13 MR. ATRAN: That wraps up the amendment. Did you want to move
14 on now to selection of public hearing? At this time, it looks
15 like we will not be able to go to public hearings before the
16 January meeting and so it’s not necessary.
18 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I would rather wait. Just to get the
19 locations. Karen?
21 MS. FOOTE: In Louisiana, I’ve had several requests from people
22 to not have it in downtown New Orleans in the evenings. It’s
23 rush hour traffic problems and they’re having to pay a large
24 amount for parking. I suggest New Orleans, but maybe the
25 airport area is much more appropriate.
27 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Louisiana opts for New Orleans, but the
28 airport area. Texas?
30 MR. RIECHERS: Galveston and Port Aransas.
32 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Florida?
34 MR. TEEHAN: I think we’re happy with Naples, Madeira Beach, and
35 Panama City. It looks like Orange Beach might cover Pensacola.
37 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Mississippi?
39 MR. PERRET: Biloxi.
41 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Alabama, Bobbi, have you got any preferences?
42 We’ve got Orange Beach. Orange Beach works. Any others? By
43 consensus then, can we forward this recommendation to council?
44 With no objections, so ordered. Steven, is that housekeeping
45 for this?
47 MR. ATRAN: That completes everything we have on Amendment 30B.
1 CHAIRMAN MINTON: It’s 11:20 and we do have an option -- We’re
2 supposed to quit at 12:00. We do have -- I’ve been informed by
3 Mr. Swingle, of course, earlier that we’re not going to have
4 Budget and so he’s saying that we can split the time that was
5 allocated for Budget between this and the Red Drum aquaculture
6 and so forth.
8 We could go until 12:30 and then come back at 1:30, but that
9 would take us directly into the aquaculture and what would you
10 all rather do, go to 12:00 and quit and come back at 1:00 and
11 have thirty minutes to finish it up or do what we can and then
12 turn it over to aquaculture or go another hour?
14 MR. RIECHERS: We really need to move through that document. I
15 think even -- We’ll use as much time as necessary of the one
16 hour to give you that time, though I would like to split the
17 time if we could, much like Mr. Swingle asked you to try to do.
19 I know I might suggest, given the body language of your
20 committee, Mr. Chair, that you might go to lunch early and try
21 to be back a little early and get started.
23 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Body language of the committee? I think we’ve
24 coined a whole new set of terms here now. Thank you for that,
27 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SWINGLE: One thing about the aquaculture
28 document is it will not be -- Final action cannot be taken at
29 this meeting. It will be taken at the January meeting and so
30 you may want to use more of their time as well.
32 MR. RIECHERS: You were scheduled to start back at 1:30 and so
33 you could break approximately now and come back at 1:00 and be
34 back on schedule, I believe, and then have some of that
35 additional time to work with.
37 CHAIRMAN MINTON: What’s the -- We need a break. We’ll meet
38 back here at 1:00. We’ll recess and Reef Fish will be on at
39 1:00. Thank you, all.
41 (Whereupon, the meeting recessed at 11:30 o’clock a.m., October
42 30, 2007.)
44 - - -
46 October 30, 2007
48 TUESDAY AFTERNOON SESSION
2 - - -
4 The Reef Fish Committee of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management
5 Council reconvened in the Camellia Ballroom of the Beau Rivage,
6 Biloxi, Mississippi, Tuesday afternoon, October 30, 2007, and
7 was called to order at 1:00 o’clock p.m. by Chairman Vernon
10 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Let’s call the Reef Fish Committee back to
11 order, please. We do have a quorum. That brings us to Item
12 Number VIII, Red Snapper Allocation Discussion. We’re going to
13 have a brief, brief presentation on this by Assane. Go ahead,
16 RED SNAPPER ALLOCATION DISCUSSION DOCUMENT
18 DR. DIAGNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and emphasis on the brief.
19 It will be extremely short, hopefully. We were asked, I think
20 two council meetings ago, to prepare some discussion elements to
21 start a red snapper allocation and this is what we came up with
22 so far.
24 What I want to do is very quickly give you an introduction,
25 touch up on the purpose and need, and look at where we are today
26 in terms of quotas and harvest levels and give you a brief
27 description of what we found in the literature as allocation
28 methods and finish with some additional discussion items.
30 In terms of introduction, we have insufficient recovery of the
31 red snapper that has resulted in serious TAC reductions, from
32 9.1 to 6.5 to five million pounds by the time 27/14 is
33 implemented. Of course, this has translated into more
34 restrictions, I mean bag limits, size limits, shorter seasons,
35 smaller IFQ shares and so forth.
37 Just to reemphasize it, Amendment 1 specified an allocation of
38 51/49 percent commercial and recreational, respective. In the
39 purpose and need, obviously this will have to be developed
40 further as your discussion progresses. It will be developed
41 further as your discussion progresses, but suffice it to say for
42 now that the allocation is more than fifteen years old and it is
43 based on data that old.
45 Fishing patterns and the relative economic values may or may not
46 have changed and so this is an opportunity to look for that. In
47 terms of quota and harvest levels, what we did here is put
48 together a couple of slides that show us the quota levels by
1 sector and compare that to their respective harvest levels.
3 In the recreational sector, the green line, the lime color over
4 there, is the quota, at least in its evolution over time, and
5 the red line shows the fluctuations in our landings. In some
6 years it was above and some years it was below, but that’s the
7 fluctuation and that’s the data we have.
9 In terms of percentage, the red bars show overages, in percent.
10 In some years, the sector has been above by let’s say 100
11 percent. In some years, it has been under by let’s say 20 or 23
12 percent. That shows basically what happened from 1991 to 2005
13 and the same thing in the commercial sector.
15 The red line here shows the quota and the lime or green color
16 over there shows the landings. If we look at the percentage
17 overage or underage, that’s the picture in the commercial
18 sector. On some years, they were above, let’s say, by as much
19 as close to 50 percent and on some of the years they were below
20 by let’s say 13 or 13.1 percent.
22 The last slide here shows the effective landings, but those are
23 translated in percentage and I compared that to the Amendment 1
24 allocation. That band in the middle, the whitish color, the
25 upper boundary is supposed to be the commercial allocation and
26 the lower boundary is the recreational allocation, as specified
27 by Amendment 1, 51/49.
29 The green line over there shows the recreational effective
30 allocation, based on their landings, and the red one shows the
31 percentage landed by the commercial sector. We have very few
32 years in which the real allocation is the same, corresponds to
33 the effective allocation on the ground, if there is any.
35 Now on to the allocation methods. In the literature, we found
36 four ways, basically, of doing this: catch-based, negotiation-
37 based, market-based, and finally, valuation-based. The catch-
38 based method is self-explanatory.
40 That’s what we’ve been doing ever since. Basically, we base it
41 on historical landings for a certain number of years and each
42 sector gets a share, based on what it is that they landed.
43 Amendment 1 allocations, all of our allocations, are catch-based
44 allocations up to now.
46 Some issues that need to be considered are data availability and
47 reliability. I guess we can say that for everything we do. How
48 do we come up with a base years, time period, to use and how do
1 we justify that? How often should we reallocate or review the
2 allocation and should we consider other issues, such as
3 compensation and so forth? How do we know that the reallocation
4 that we propose is better than the previous one?
6 Now on to the negotiation-based. Here, we go very quickly. If
7 we could identify representatives for the respective sectors, we
8 can put them together, facilitated by the council or some other
9 organization, and they can work it out and come out and say this
10 is the allocation that we want for X, Y, and Z species.
12 Some of the issues that need to be considered here are, again,
13 the timeframe and what do we do if the parties do not come to an
14 agreement and how often do we review this and so forth.
16 Market-based allocation, under ideal conditions, one could use
17 market forces to allocate a resource, but there is a
18 prerequisite, a huge one, that would be a clear definition of
19 the property rights for the two sectors. If I’m buying
20 something, I have to know that I’m entitled to enjoying the
21 benefits coming from that something and that’s the major thing
24 Who would be market participants? Would it be across sectors or
25 by individuals? We don’t know that. What would be your role as
26 a council and as the management agency? That remains to be
27 seen. What should we do to minimize transaction costs, because
28 they eat away at the benefits that you can realize here. Data
29 availability and finally, social consideration. Markets may be
30 efficient, but sometimes the outcome is not socially desirable
31 and what would we do in terms of a body if that were the case?
33 I guess I saved the best one for last, which is the valuation-
34 based approach. This is what the SEP is trying to do. The red
35 snapper resource can be allocated based on socioeconomic
36 valuation and if you use this method, the optimal allocation be
37 determined and there is one single point corresponding to that.
38 It’s the point at which the net marginal benefits across sectors
39 are equal.
41 I’ll say that once again and I try to emphasize it on the slide.
42 The net benefits are equal to the benefits minus expenditure.
43 If I could put a bigger minus sign, I would. The greater the
44 expenditures by one sector, the lower the net benefits they
45 contribute to society and so it is not a benefit for any sector
46 to say that I’m spending ten billion dollars. That lowers the
47 net benefit they contribute to society.
1 Net benefits are measured in terms of consumer and producer
2 surplus and these are computed based on demand and supply, but
3 that I can talk about some more if some members are interested.
4 To finish up, I would like to put some quotes on the board.
6 The first two quotes are from Dr. Steven Edwards. He works for
7 NMFS. He wrote a technical memo in 1990 and I can share copies
8 of that. The first thing he said, and this is in the
9 introduction is: “commercial fishermen sometimes characterize
10 sport fishing as the adult equivalent of play-something devoid
11 of economic value. This market value-argument is incorrect,
12 however, because it presumes that only markets beget value.”
13 That’s the first misconception.
15 The second one is that: “game fish status is often advocated for
16 a fishery resource, such as billfish, when revenues for anglers’
17 expenditures on fishing supplies are greater than dockside
18 revenue in the commercial fishery for the same species. Among
19 mistakes inherent in this revenues-argument, however, is that it
20 contradicts any rational desire of an angler or business to
21 minimize the costs of fishing.” This is actually in his
22 introduction on page 1 of the technical report.
24 Along the same lines, Dr. McLeod and Nicholls, in a recent
25 report, said that the financial measures that we commonly use in
26 allocation policies, such as the gross value of the commercial
27 catch and the gross value of recreational expenditure, including
28 flow-on impact, and these are the result of multiplier analysis,
29 input/output and so forth, of these activities on the broader
30 economy, these are not the relevant measures to use in resource
31 allocation. The important measures are net marginal benefits.
33 One last quote, by Dr. Edwards once again, is to compare the
34 expenditures of commercial fishermen and anglers is improper.
35 In fact, net national benefits are enhanced when businesses
36 minimize the use of productive inputs, because the remaining
37 inputs can be used to do something else. That is really the
38 fundamental thing here.
40 If we were to do this valuation-based allocation, which the SEP
41 is doing, there are some other issues that need to be addressed,
42 like what type of allocation exists within each sector.
43 Availability of data, of course, the precision of the estimates,
44 how often should we look at this, and what compensation issues
45 should we want to address and finally, before my time gets up,
46 discussion methods, additional ones.
48 The SEC, as I mentioned earlier, recommends that we develop
1 guidelines, principles, and a framework, if you would, that we
2 will use to allocate our resources. Compensation issues can be
3 addressed if the council chooses to go that direction and last,
4 how do we define fishing sector if we know that the net marginal
5 benefits is not the same across sectors? That’s also something
6 that may need to be looked at.
8 For example, in the recreational sector, for-hire and private,
9 they do not necessarily bring the same net marginal value. I
10 think that’s about my time and I will stop here. Thank you, Mr.
11 Chairman, and I hope it was short enough.
13 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Excellent. Are there questions or comments?
15 MS. WALKER: Assane, are the net benefits measures of economic
18 DR. DIAGNE: Yes, an economic impact does not necessarily mean
19 regional economic impact. It’s just an unfortunate coincidence,
20 I think, that the same term, “impact”, shows up in the
21 input/output literature, as well as in just regular speaking, in
22 public discourse.
24 Regional impacts, which are let’s say the flow-on impacts, if
25 that’s what you are referring to, those will have to account for
26 the output multiplier, basically how many times say a dollar is
27 spent within a system and be recycled and every time, it’s
28 somebody else’s job. My expenditure is somebody else’s income
29 and so forth and so forth, but those measures do not capture
30 contribution to society at large.
32 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Other questions or comments? Where do you
33 take this from here? What is your next step with this?
35 DR. DIAGNE: It depends on your instructions, because we were
36 asked by a motion that the council passed to bring some elements
37 of discussion and so that’s all we did and so depending on what
38 you recommend, we will just proceed with that.
40 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Are there any recommendations?
42 MS. MORRIS: We had a discussion this morning about taking a
43 more principled approach across our fisheries to the framing
44 allocation discussions and so we sort of agreed to recommend to
45 the council that we move forward with that initiative and it
46 seems like this red snapper allocation issue should be folded
47 into that, especially the way that Assane has presented these
48 kind of four different options as the basis for allocation.
2 These could be a really useful start to our discussion about
3 different ways that we want to manage allocation across our
4 fisheries and so I think the next step would be to take these
5 ideas and use them as a launching point or a basis for this
6 effort that we were talking about earlier this morning.
8 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Other comments?
10 DR. CRABTREE: I think that’s a good comment, Julie, and I think
11 Assane did a good job of putting this together. I just want to
12 point out, since we’re talking about red snapper, this is an
13 example of how we have not and are not applying Amendment 1
14 consistently and the need to come at this.
16 If we were to follow the way we’ve constructed Amendment 30A and
17 greater amberjack, then the status quo in this would be based on
18 red snapper landings from 1981 to 1987 and the status quo
19 allocation for red snapper would be 56 percent commercial and 44
20 percent recreational.
22 That is where a uniform application of the way we’re approaching
23 30A would leave us. Now, if you came into the longer time
24 series, which is 1981 to 2004, then the allocation would be 51
25 percent commercial and 49 percent recreational, which is what we
26 are managing to.
28 We have, in these amendments we’ve been doing, not going back to
29 Amendment 1 and 14/27 did not go back to Amendment 1 and I think
30 it highlights that there are real issues about what is status
31 quo and about the issues with Amendment 1 and I think it just
32 really shows the need for us to come in and take a more
33 consistent approach to these allocations, so that we aren’t
34 vulnerable to the charge of picking and choosing when we’re
35 going to try to apply these things.
37 MS. WALKER: A point of order, Mr. Chairman. Didn’t we take
38 this motion to deal with allocation and didn’t Julie request
39 that it go under Other Business at the end of --
41 MS. MORRIS: My suggestion this morning was that a motion that
42 Bobbi made to start a committee be taken up under Other
43 Business, after we had talked about 30A and had talked about
44 this red snapper allocation. That’s still my recommendation.
46 Now we’re in the middle of the red snapper allocation discussion
47 and we haven’t talked about 30A yet and then after that, I
48 thought it would be the appropriate time to figure out how to
1 set up this committee.
3 MS. WALKER: Wayne, can you help me remember why the council did
4 the 51/49 on red snapper? It seemed like there were some
5 Mexican landings or there was some reason and it’s been so long
6 ago since I read it that I don’t recall it, but I’m hoping you
9 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SWINGLE: It was a function of the wording
10 they used in the framework procedure for specifying TAC and
11 basically, it indicated that one of the ways to do the
12 allocation was to allocate it over the longest period that we
13 had landing records for each sector.
15 Originally when we did that, it was 1979 was used and
16 subsequently, NMFS has come back and concluded that 1979 and
17 1980 data were flawed and so the database is now 1981 through
18 the present.
20 It did, as Steve pointed out, the framework procedure, although
21 suggesting that be the principle way we do allocation for reef
22 fish, did say that other methods could be used and it’s just a
23 matter of your rationale for using that other method.
25 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Anything else? Then we will come back to that
26 later on then, Bobbi, if you want to. Under Item IX, it says
27 Final Action, but I don’t think that’s appropriate at this time.
28 Stu is going to give us a brief summary of where we’re at in the
29 document, public hearings, and the AP and SSC.
31 Then I think what I would like to do at that point is kind of
32 get some discussion on what we would like to try to cover in the
33 document. Assuming we’re not going to be able to cut a final
34 document, kind of see where we need to work on with the
35 remaining time that we have.
37 REEF FISH AMENDMENT 30A (GRAY TRIGGERFISH/GREATER AMBERJACK)
39 MR. KENNEDY: I’ll go through the public hearing summaries for
40 30A first and I’ve -- There’s a larger document in your book,
41 Tab B, Number 5, but I’m going to narrow it down to a few
42 general comments and places where people agreed.
44 For greater amberjack, there was almost universal agreement in
45 the public hearings that allocation should be based on Amendment
46 1, which is the 84 percent recreational and 16 percent
47 commercial, that there be no change in the bag limit of one per
48 angler and in other words, fractional bag limits were out.
1 Nobody thought much of that idea.
3 You could increase the size limit to thirty inches and eliminate
4 captain and crew bag limit, if necessary, to attain the
5 reduction that you needed or that the recreational fishery
6 needed and also, it was pretty universal that they wanted the
7 commercial fishery under a quota and wanted to make sure that
8 that quota was maintained.
10 There were a few other suggestions that were not totally
11 universal. One was that the recreational fishery was more
12 valuable than the commercial fishery and a number of people
13 cited that as a reason for the allocation recommendation.
15 Some accepted a closed season, although that was difficult to
16 do, but some did say that if it was absolutely necessary that
17 they would be willing to have some form of a closed season. One
18 member of the public suggested March through May in deepwater
19 and he did that based on some of his fishing trips, which found
20 an aggregation or found aggregations of adult spawning amberjack
21 in greater than 300 feet.
23 Some also stated that the accountability procedures would not
24 work, because they were based on MRFSS and with MRFSS not being
25 accurate enough on a seasonal basis, they felt that they really
26 wouldn’t work.
28 From the commercial perspective for greater amberjack, it was
29 pretty universal that they didn’t believe they were responsible
30 for the allocation shifts that are currently out there, that the
31 allocation should remain as close as possible to current
32 conditions, that along with any quota, they felt that there
33 needed to be a trip limit.
35 If the council was going to go towards quotas, that they have a
36 trip limit somewhere between 1,100 pounds and 2,000 pounds and
37 that size limits were really not very good and they felt they
38 should be reduced or eliminated.
40 For gray triggerfish, recreational anglers were universally in
41 agreement that allocation, again, should be based on Amendment
42 1, that the size limit could be increased to somewhere between
43 twelve and fourteen, and there were differences of opinion in
44 different areas, but that was the general range. That was fork
45 length, twelve to fourteen inches fork length, that the bag
46 limit could be decreased anywhere -- The range of comments were
47 anywhere between two and ten, two and ten fish within the twenty
48 reef fish aggregate bag limit, if necessary, again.
2 A few fishermen suggested a seasonal closure only if absolutely
3 necessary. Commercial fishermen, again, were in general
4 agreement that they were not responsible for the allocation
5 shifts in that species as well and that allocation should remain
6 as close as possible to current conditions and the size limit
7 should be fourteen inches and that pretty much sums up the
8 public hearings.
10 At this point, what I had planned to do was to go into 30A and
11 go through the alternatives, go through the actions, and tell
12 you where you stand and where the AP and SSC stands, where they
13 had made comments, and then you can decide what you want to do.
15 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Considering what we’ve talked about earlier
16 and considering the time that we’ve got left, do we have a
17 suggestion, possibly, on how you want to tackle this document,
18 as opposed to how we would attack this document, rather than
19 possibly a step-by-step through it?
21 Maybe we need to emphasize areas where we do have concerns and
22 we would like to get some of this done. Roy, you did mention
23 that we were going to -- We can’t finish and we’re going to have
24 to come back and so is there some recommendations along those
27 DR. CRABTREE: I have a couple of issues that I would like to
28 bring up, if I could, Mr. Chairman. One is on page 20 of my
29 document and this is in the section on modifications to the
30 greater amberjack rebuilding strategy.
32 We have a preferred alternative that would modify the rebuilding
33 plan in a way to allow the TACs to increase each year and if you
34 look on page 21, in the second paragraph, the next to the last
35 sentence, it says that Preferred Alternative 2 also rebuilds the
36 stock by the end of 2010, but allows approximately 34 percent
37 more landings, or seven-and-a-half million pounds, than the
38 Alternative 1, which is the status quo.
40 I’ve had some discussions with General Counsel about a court
41 decision on the darkblotched rockfish, which had to do with a
42 rebuilding plan and increasing the quotas above what they were
43 and the whole question of are you recovering as soon as
46 After discussing that with Mike and looking at this carefully, I
47 don’t believe that the Secretary could approve Preferred
48 Alternative 2, because we’re five years into a rebuilding plan
1 and we’re not on track to recover and the overfishing is still
2 going on, yet we would try to modify the rebuilding strategy in
3 a way that would allow a 34 percent increase in landings over
4 the remainder of the rebuilding plan above the status quo.
6 I haven’t seen a rationale and I haven’t been able to think of
7 one of how that would be rebuilding as soon as possible and so I
8 think if your goal here is to try and find a way to have the
9 TACs increase each year, that’s probably possible and I’ve asked
10 Andy to look at some ways, but I think it would have to be done
11 in a way that was a conservation equivalency with the status quo
12 and that wouldn’t result in any net increase in the overall
13 catches over the course of the rebuilding plan.
15 I wanted to call that to your attention, because I think either
16 we need to modify Alternative 2, so that it doesn’t allow any
17 additional harvest, or we potentially ought to consider removing
18 this whole section to the Considered but Rejected.
20 MS. WALKER: Roy, help me understand this. We’re rebuilding the
21 fishery in 2012?
23 DR. CRABTREE: I believe that’s when the ten-year rebuilding
24 plan ends.
26 MS. WALKER: This alternative that we’ve chosen as our
27 preferred, which allows the TAC to increase on an annual basis,
28 isn’t going to -- Are you telling us now that we won’t reach our
29 goal of rebuilding or are you saying that because there’s
30 something new in the Magnuson Act that we can’t allow the
31 fishermen to increase their landings because of something new
32 that’s in there?
34 DR. CRABTREE: No, this doesn’t have anything to do with
35 something that’s new in the Act. The current status quo
36 rebuilding scenario actually had us recovering in seven years.
37 Ten years is the longest time the law allows for this, but the
38 law says we’re to recover as soon as possible and the status quo
39 rebuilding alternative will result in us recovering sooner and a
40 higher probability of succeeding than Preferred Alternative 2.
42 I don’t see how we would be able to approve a change to a
43 rebuilding strategy that has a lower likelihood of success and
44 will recover somewhat slower, or later, than the current one,
45 when we’re five years in and we’re behind.
47 Whether any of these will actually achieve recovery is going to
48 depend on what actions we take in this amendment and how
1 effective they are and whether we’re able to get compatible
2 regulations very quickly with the states and whether we’re able
3 to keep the catches from going over what we lay out in the
4 rebuilding plan, but essentially the issue is the law says we
5 have to recover as soon as possible.
7 We already have a rebuilding plan on the books that has us
8 recovering sometime in early 2010. We’re proposing to modify
9 that to allow more take and recover slightly later and I just
10 don’t think that meets the test of recovering as soon as
13 MR. PERRET: It might as well come out sooner than later. Roy,
14 you keep talking about if we have compatibility with states, yet
15 I assume we’re going to have some discussion about quite a bit
16 of incompatibility in a fishery.
18 Tell us about what the service is considering if indeed you
19 don’t get compatibility with states, like you didn’t get with
20 red snapper in Florida. Just what are we going to do?
22 DR. CRABTREE: I believe that’s something we’re going to come to
23 under Other Business and so I don’t know if we want to --
25 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We’re already set up to discuss it under Other
26 Business and I would rather take it up there. Are there other
29 DR. CRABTREE: I’ll make a motion then. I move that we
30 establish Alternative 1 as the preferred alternative.
32 CHAIRMAN MINTON: There’s a motion on the floor. Is there a
35 MS. MORRIS: Second.
37 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Any further discussion?
39 MR. GILL: I note that the SSC chose Alternative 1 as their
40 preferred, but it was a six to five vote. It would suggest that
41 they were not all that strong and they had other druthers,
42 although they apparently didn’t come out. I would like to hear
43 some discussion on where they got to and how they got that close
44 vote on this preferred alternative.
46 MR. KENNEDY: Would you repeat the question, please? I was
47 doing something else and I apologize.
1 MR. GILL: The SSC?
3 MR. ATRAN: That would be me. I covered the SSC meeting. There
4 was general discussion that generally the SSC preferred the
5 annual increases over the three-year steps, because it does
6 allow TAC to increase and allow the management measures not to
7 have to be adjusted every year in order to maintain the
8 recreational sector in its place.
10 However, in the case of greater amberjack, there was concern
11 that because we’re already five years into a ten-year rebuilding
12 plan that we would need to be more conservative, because we’re
13 not going to get a third chance if we get it wrong this time.
15 As you saw, there wasn’t a real strong consensus, but some of
16 the SSC members felt that we needed to go to that more
17 conservative level, which Alternative 1 is, and some felt that
18 we should do Alternative 2, because it does allow TAC to
19 increase concurrent with the increase in the stock biomass
22 MS. MORRIS: Based on listening closely to Roy’s comment, it
23 seems like the main arguments for changing the preferred
24 alternative to Alternative 1 is that it rebuilds in a shorter
25 period of time and rebuilds by the end of the rebuilding period
26 to a lower TAC and is that part of the argument, Roy?
28 DR. CRABTREE: No, it rebuilds somewhat earlier and it has a
29 higher probability of success, because it allows fewer fish to
30 be taken. The more fish we allow to be taken, then the less
31 likely we’re going to make it before it’s over and that’s really
32 the crux of it.
34 You probably could come up with an alternative that allowed the
35 TACs to go up gradually and didn’t allow any more take over the
36 course of the remaining rebuilding years and that might work,
37 but that’s really the issue here, is that Alternative 2 would
38 allow I think it’s seven-and-a-half million pounds more take
39 over the remaining five years. I don’t think you can argue the
40 case that it has a lower probability of rebuilding the stock and
41 it will take longer to rebuild the stock.
43 MS. MORRIS: Mr. Chairman, would you entertain a substitute
46 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Certainly.
48 MS. MORRIS: Even though I seconded the motion that’s on the
3 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I don’t think there’s anything against that.
4 It may be a little odd, but this whole committee has been odd
5 today and so don’t worry about it.
7 MS. MORRIS: The substitute motion would be to recast the
8 Alternative 1 rebuilding plan so that it increased each year,
9 but still met the same timeframe for rebuilding.
11 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Are you suggesting this be a preferred or just
12 an additional?
14 MS. MORRIS: Additional.
16 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I think that can be added. I think I have to
17 rule that out of order, but I’ll come back to you, because I
18 think we’re looking at a preferred now and you’re wanting to add
19 another alternative and I think we can do both without having to
20 drop one or the other. With that, we have a motion. The motion
21 was that Alternative 1 be the preferred alternative. Is there
22 any objection to that, committee? There’s one objection. With
23 one objection, the motion carries.
25 MS. MORRIS: Do you want to add an alternative here that would
26 take -- Is there any support for what I was just suggesting?
27 Should I offer it as a motion or do you want me to?
29 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I think there would be. I think it helps us.
31 MS. MORRIS: Add an alternative to recast Alternative 1 with an
32 increase in TAC, but still maintain the rebuilding plan. I
33 think what it needs to say is with annual increases in TAC and
34 reaching rebuilding by the same date as Alternative 1, by the
35 same year as Alternative 1.
37 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Is there a second?
39 DR. CRABTREE: I’ll second it.
41 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Let me make a comment. Even though we have
42 been to public, I think -- This is, Mike, why I was motioning to
43 you. I think this is less restrictive than the current
44 Alternative 1. We will have another shot at it when we take
45 final action for public hearing and so would you concur that
46 this would be appropriate to add this in at this time?
48 MR. MCLEMORE: Yes.
2 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you.
4 DR. CRABTREE: Just some wordsmithing, Julie. I think we’re
5 looking at recasting Alternative 1 with annual increases in TAC
6 and I would suggest that “and no increase in the overall harvest
7 relative to the status quo”, because I think what we’re looking
8 for is an alternative here that over the remainder of the
9 rebuilding plan doesn’t catch any more fish than the status quo
10 right now. As long as staff is clear on what we’re saying, it
11 may be okay. Vernon is shaking his head.
13 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I don’t understand what you’re saying.
15 DR. CRABTREE: We have a status quo rebuilding plan that has
16 yields and it allows a given amount of fish to be caught over
17 the remainder of the rebuilding plan, but it only allows for one
18 increase after three years.
20 We’re looking for one that allows the TAC to go up every year,
21 but that the cumulative catches over the rest of the rebuilding
22 plan are no greater than the status quo. Whether we need to
23 indicate that in the motion or whether the record and staff is
24 clear on that now -- I think staff is clear on it.
26 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I’m clear, if that means anything. We have a
27 motion on the floor, a substitute motion in Action 2,
28 Modification to Greater Amberjack Rebuilding Plan. Are there
29 any objections to adding this as an alternative? Hearing none,
30 so ordered.
32 MR. TEEHAN: It’s not an objection, Mr. Chairman, but is this a
33 substitute motion or a stand-alone motion?
35 CHAIRMAN MINTON: It’s adding an additional motion. It’s not a
36 substitute. Next, Roy, help me here and Julie and Bob and Bill,
37 I think the next contentious issue may be allocations. We need
38 to talk about how we want to handle that, possibly, and then the
39 other item that we haven’t considered is the commercial TAC.
40 Would somebody kind of kick this off?
42 DR. CRABTREE: We’ve talked about allocations it seems like most
43 of the day and clearly there are issues there. One issue is
44 that the structure of the allocation alternatives is different
45 from what we just went through with 30B, in terms of 30B had a
46 no action and I think it was a -- I forget what they called it,
47 but a functional status quo.
1 We need to be consistent on that and then I think there’s a
2 whole issue of rationale for whatever allocation we’re going to
3 make. There’s a lot of information in the record in the
4 original Amendment 1 in terms of why the council, back in 1990,
5 in the framework chose those time series, which the rationale in
6 the amendment is it was the longest available time series.
8 There’s rationales in Amendment 12 and 15 that say that the
9 reductions in Amendment 12 on the recreational sector and in
10 Amendment 15 on the commercial sector were expected to produce
11 essentially equal reductions and then there’s discussion in
12 Secretarial Amendment 2 that implemented the rebuilding plan
13 that talks about Amendment 1 and the changes in the fishery and
14 a lot of things.
16 I think all of that needs to be more clearly incorporated into
17 the document and then there’s a whole issue of fair and
18 equitable, which we’re going to have to address, if there’s
19 going to be a shift in the allocation from what is in the water
20 right now and was what was in place when the rebuilding plan was
21 put in place.
23 If we’re going to essentially change that reallocation to go
24 back to Amendment 1 at this point, I think the issue becomes why
25 now and then how is that a fair and equitable distribution of
26 the restrictions and the benefits of rebuilding.
28 Now, there’s been a lot of discussion about trying to come to a
29 more uniform approach to allocations and I guess we’re going to
30 come back to that in a minute, but I think we do have some real
31 issues in terms of where are we going on greater amberjack and
32 fair and equitable reductions that we somehow need to work
33 through as a council.
35 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Other comments?
37 MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me to ask
38 this question. I actually need someone to refresh my memory.
39 The council took actions one time on greater, lesser, banded
40 rudderfish and almaco. Were one of those -- Was there any
41 identification problems as far as which one you were catching as
42 it compared to a greater? If there was, which one was it?
44 CHAIRMAN MINTON: As I recall, it was greater and lesser and I
45 don’t think -- No?
47 DR. SHIPP: No, it was almaco.
1 MS. WILLIAMS: Then if we have a stock assessment on greater, I
2 assume it truly was greater that they were actually looking at
3 in the stock assessment and that there was no problems there and
4 when we go with an allocation, how does that affect the
5 identification problem that we have with the other fish?
7 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I don’t know. Can anybody help?
9 MR. ATRAN: For one thing, the minimum size limits we have on
10 greater amberjack, both the commercial and the recreational size
11 limits are above the maximum size limits, I believe, of any of
12 those other three species.
14 Anything that’s legally taken is a greater amberjack and for
15 purposes of the regulation, I think we just assume that anything
16 that’s caught within that slot limit that was set up is one of
17 those other three species.
19 MS. WILLIAMS: That was just a question that I had and I also
20 had some concerns which I mentioned it earlier and this will
21 keep me from talking tomorrow, or during full council. Once
22 again, that’s with when the logbook system actually came into
23 place in 1993 and then with the MRFSS data and the new
24 charterboat/headboat data. I think we all need to look at
25 those, too.
27 MS. MORRIS: I think that it’s very clear that the council
28 itself and the committee are almost evenly divided on the issue
29 of allocation in greater amberjack and it’s a principle
30 discussion on both sides.
32 I think both sides of this question came ready to give speeches
33 with strong justifications for why our position was the strong
34 position and it’s just really hard to move forward with a
35 management action when the council is so strongly divided on the
38 Something that I would like the committee and the council to
39 consider is taking this greater amberjack and gray triggerfish
40 allocation actions and moving them to a category that Bob Shipp
41 would refer to as Considered but Deferred and moving ahead with
42 management actions that I think we’re a lot more --
44 I think we’re a lot closer together on what the management
45 actions should be than we are on what the allocation should be
46 and so defer this disagreement that is dividing the council to
47 this initiative that we’ve been talking about all morning, and
48 now the beginning of the afternoon, to have a more principled
1 discussion about guidelines for allocations across all
4 I’m not asking the committee to recommend that to full council
5 right now. If you are comfortable with that, I could make it
6 into a motion, but we could move -- Then the details of the
7 discussion of the amendments we might defer until full council.
9 I really think we are pretty much in agreement on keeping a one
10 fish bag limit for recreation, for having some kind of trip
11 limit combined with a quota for commercial and I don’t think
12 we’re that far apart on the actual management actions, but the
13 allocation question is tearing us apart.
15 Would the committee like to consider a motion that we move the -
16 - My motion would be that we move the actions in 30A that deal
17 with allocation of greater amberjack and gray triggerfish -- The
18 motion would be to move the actions in 30A that deal with
19 allocation of greater amberjack and gray triggerfish to
20 Considered but Deferred.
22 MR. GILL: Second.
24 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We’ve coined a lot of new terms here. We now
25 have body language and deferments and -- Is that your motion?
27 MS. MORRIS: Those are the correct actions? I haven’t doubled
28 checked that, but those are the right actions? Thank you.
30 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We have a second by Mr. Gill. I have to agree
31 with Julie. I think we could spend the rest of the day, if not
32 the rest of the week, trying to come to some -- I don’t think
33 we’ll ever come to consensus, but at least come to some
34 agreement here. I think this may be the wiser part of this
35 issue to move forward. Is there any further discussion
36 regarding the motion?
38 MR. TEEHAN: Mr. Chairman, for the record, I’m going to have to
39 abstain from this motion.
41 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you, Bill. Any other? With that, is
42 there objection to the motion? Seeing none, the motion carries.
43 Good job, Ms. Morris. Stu, where does that leave us now?
45 MR. KENNEDY: The question would be do you want to go through
46 any of these? The only other issue that -- The only other two
47 issues that I know of are, one, you have not picked a preferred
48 for the gray triggerfish commercial management measures. There
1 are about six of them and it might be worth considering picking
2 one of those.
4 The other one is to continue the discussion from this morning
5 about whether you want to move the accountability measures for
6 gray triggerfish. We heard the discussion this morning from Dr.
7 Crabtree about not doing that for greater amberjack, but moving
8 the one for gray triggerfish, potentially, to Considered but
9 Rejected. That’s all that you would have to do to this at this
12 CHAIRMAN MINTON: What’s the committee preference?
14 MS. MORRIS: Could Stu repeat the two things that he would like
15 us to do? I’m a little thick right now and so say it one more
18 MR. KENNEDY: There are two issues. The more important one at
19 this point, I think, is there is no preferred alternative for
20 the commercial management measures in gray triggerfish. It’s
21 the last action item, Action 12, and should you pick a preferred
22 alternative to recommend to the full council.
24 Then the other one was a continuation of the discussion this
25 morning on removing accountability measures. You removed the
26 accountability measures from 30B for grouper and the question
27 becomes should you do the same for the accountability measure
28 for gray triggerfish. There was discussion about not doing that
29 for greater amberjack this morning, but the question still
30 remains, should you do that for gray triggerfish.
32 Again, my recommendation would be the same as it was this
33 morning. It’s a very complicated process and until you have a
34 chance to review the whole concept of ACLs and AMs, it will be
37 CHAIRMAN MINTON: You want to try to go through Action Item 12
38 and see what we can come up with there?
40 MR. KENNEDY: It’s page 73.
42 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We’ve got about thirty-eight or forty minutes
43 left and so we do have a little bit of time. What I plan to do
44 when we finish this is go directly into Other Business and take
45 care of some items we have there. If there’s any time left,
46 we’ll come back with a little bit of discussion on goliath, but
47 that’s kind of the roadmap I’ve got set for us right now.
1 MR. KENNEDY: For Action 12, which are the commercial reductions
2 for gray triggerfish, on page 73 are the actual alternatives.
3 Alternative 1, obviously, is status quo. Alternative 2 is
4 establish a commercial trip limit of forty pounds, which reduces
5 the landings by 63 percent. Essentially, your target at this
6 point was still the old allocation alternative, which is the
7 full time series, and so it was a 61 percent reduction.
9 Alternative 3 is increase the commercial size limit to sixteen
10 inches. Alternative 4 is increase the commercial size limit to
11 fifteen inches and establish a commercial trip limit of 210
12 pounds. Alternative 5 is increase the commercial size limit to
13 fourteen inches fork length and establish a commercial trip of
14 ninety pounds.
16 Alternative 6, which is an alternative that you added two
17 meetings ago, added before it went to public hearing, was to
18 increase the commercial size limit to fourteen inches fork
19 length and establish a commercial quota.
21 It starts out at 80,000 pounds in 2008 and increases over time.
22 This will depend upon what happens with the rebuilding plan you
23 have in here currently and whether you would change that, but
24 there hasn’t been a discussion of changing that one for gray
25 triggerfish and so that should still work.
27 The SSC had no recommendations and the Reef Fish AP was under
28 the assumption at the time that the allocation would change and
29 therefore, had a recommendation that’s not essentially in here
30 at this point.
32 MR. GILL: Stu, would you refresh my memory on public hearing
33 comments relative to Action 12?
35 MR. KENNEDY: For Action 12, the commercial fishermen agreed --
36 The recreational fishermen wanted a quota. No, that was for
37 amberjack. They had no comment on what the commercial
38 stipulations would be -- I’m sorry, but are you talking about
39 the public hearings or the Reef Fish AP?
41 MR. GILL: Public hearings.
43 MR. KENNEDY: Good. I was at the right one. They accepted a
44 fourteen-inch minimum size fork length fairly readily.
45 Otherwise, there were no real comments about what else they
46 would take. In the public hearing comments, there weren’t.
48 In the Reef Fish AP, they accepted a quota. It was a different
1 quota, because they were under a different assumption about what
2 the reduction would have to be, but they accepted that a quota
3 was necessary.
5 MS. WILLIAMS: I have actually a couple of questions. One, if
6 you’re not going to deal with the allocation basis right now, I
7 don’t know how you could go in and pick one of these
8 alternatives, because it’s showing different allocation basis.
10 I believe I read somewhere you actually needed a 49 percent, I
11 think it was 49, on your triggerfish, but the other thing I
12 didn’t understand is why in the assessment it was predominantly
13 -- The information was in the eastern Gulf and did not reflect
14 the condition throughout its range and I don’t know how we were
15 allowed to do that. That came out of the document. I read it
16 in there.
18 DR. CRABTREE: Kay, we’ve had many discussions about that issue
19 and we had a presentation from the Science Center, when they
20 went through all of that and looked at the eastern and western
21 Gulf and all of that. Basically, where it left it is we need to
22 manage the stock throughout the Gulf and there’s no sound basis
23 to believe that one part of the Gulf is in significantly
24 different shape than the other.
26 There are limits to it and more of the catches come from the
27 eastern Gulf. I don’t remember when, but I know we had the
28 Center go through this two or three meetings ago, on a couple of
29 occasions, and I think we even got some documents from the
30 Center that went through and addressed this. That stuff is in
31 the record and I’m sure folks can make that available to you if
32 you wanted to look at it.
34 MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you for bringing me up on that, but still,
35 how do you pick these trip limits and size limits and things
36 like that if you don’t go here and pick an allocation basis and
37 how do you do that when you’re not dealing with the recreational
38 side of the triggerfish? We just jumped right to the commercial
39 and I don’t understand what you’re doing.
41 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We’ve already picked a preferred for the
44 MR. KENNEDY: The preferred for the recreational that you picked
45 and the list of alternatives for that, as well as for greater
46 amberjack, are based on the long time series for both of them,
47 for both species. All the alternatives in this thing for actual
48 management reductions are based on that long time series.
2 I’m going to need some guidance eventually, from either the
3 committee or the council, on exactly how to deal with this in
4 the document for the January meeting if we don’t find someplace
5 to put the allocation questions and we need a decision on how to
6 do these. Without that, you could pretty much make any decision
7 you wanted about how to manage the two sides. They don’t
8 necessarily have to be the same.
10 In this particular case, the Gulf-wide, sector-wide reduction
11 has to be about 49 percent. In amberjack, it has to be about 32
12 percent across the board. You don’t necessarily have to do that
13 equal proportional. You could do it anyway you want and you
14 wouldn’t necessarily have to talk about allocation.
16 You’ve done it in the past, for vermilion snapper, for instance,
17 and you provided a rationale that you felt that one group was
18 more responsible for the current condition of the stock than
19 another and adjusted the management measures accordingly.
20 That’s the guidance that I need, because right now, everything
21 in here is based on full time series decisions.
23 MS. WILLIAMS: To that point, what you’re telling me is okay,
24 we’ve picked the long time series for the recreational sector,
25 is what you just said, and so do we have to pick the long time
26 series for the commercial, because that’s what we did in the
27 recreational sector, and maybe that’s not what we want to do,
28 because commercial doesn’t really need a 61 percent.
30 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Kay, I think they would have to be the same
31 for both fisheries. We may come back and readdress the
32 recreational, but certainly you would have to have the same time
33 series for allocation within the two.
35 MS. WILLIAMS: Okay, but I still don’t understand if you only
36 need a 48 percent, why are we looking at a 61 percent? That’s
37 all, by your chart.
39 MR. KENNEDY: All I can tell you, again, is that this document
40 was built on the basis of your original preferred alternative
41 for allocation for both greater amberjack and for gray
42 triggerfish and both of those were -- What went to public
43 hearing was the long time series, which means that for this
44 particular case, the recreational landings were to be reduced by
45 45 percent and the commercial by 61 percent.
47 That’s what the allocation or that long time series did. That
48 can be changed, but I need guidance from the committee or the
1 council on how to do that, barring going back into allocation
2 again, which we don’t want to do.
4 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We’re past that. Is there interest on the
5 committee at this point to try to pick a preferred, because I’ve
6 got something I would like to add in here a little bit later.
8 MS. MORRIS: I would move that Alternative 6 be the preferred
9 alternative. It combines the increased size limit with a hard
12 MR. GILL: Second.
14 CHAIRMAN MINTON: There’s a motion and a second. Just to
15 comment on that a little bit, I think if we had done this early
16 on in amberjack, where we tried every way we could to avoid a
17 hard TAC, I say we, me and Corky did that, to avoid hard quotas
18 and closures and so forth, that we wouldn’t be in this box now.
19 I certainly think we’re on the right track there. I guess we
20 may -- Well, we do know that also that release mortality in this
21 fishery is almost zero and is that correct, Andy?
23 MR. KENNEDY: 1.5 percent.
25 CHAIRMAN MINTON: 1.5 percent is not measurable, but thank you.
26 Do we need -- I guess this is where I was headed, but do we need
27 more combinations of this size limit or are you happy with this?
28 She’s happy with that. Okay, good. Is there other discussion
29 on the motion?
31 DR. LEARD: I just wanted to point out that the Law Enforcement
32 AP also recommended that the council either go with Alternatives
33 3 or 6, that don’t have trip limits. As they have consistently
34 noted to the council, they’re pretty much opposed to trip
37 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Thank you, Rick. Is there any other
38 discussion? We have a motion on the floor, which is to adopt
39 Alternative 6 as the preferred. There’s been discussion. Is
40 there any objection to adopting this as our preferred? Hearing
41 none, the motion passes. I think that kind of wraps it up in
42 terms of what we have to do with this. I shouldn’t have said
45 DR. CRABTREE: I was going to bring up what Bob did, which is
46 the issue of the accountability measures and timing of all this.
47 All of the things with greater amberjack have the reductions
48 going in place next year. Now we’re coming in January and
1 taking final action and the regulations won’t be implemented,
2 likely, until fall of next year.
4 Now, the catches of greater amberjack have been volatile from
5 year to year, but it’s quite possible that the recreational
6 sector and the commercial sector would be over their share of
7 the catch by then and so I think it’s critical that we have
8 accountability measures in here for greater amberjack, but I
9 think we need to give some thought about how we’re going to
10 handle that.
12 It may be that what we need to do next year is when the final
13 rule publishes, if both sectors are over, we close the fishery
14 down for the remainder of the year and then we make adjustments
15 to 2008 to keep us going, but I do think because we’re running
16 out of time that we do need to keep accountability measures in
17 here for greater amberjack.
19 I’m okay with moving them out at this point for gray
20 triggerfish, but I have real concerns that we’re going to be
21 under the gun again next year and then the other thing is if we
22 don’t get compatible regulations from the states very quickly
23 next year, that’s going to impair our ability to get all of that
24 done. We need to have some discussion of how we want to handle
25 that I guess we probably ought to go through the accountability
26 mechanism for greater amberjack.
28 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We can certainly do that. It’s going to cut
29 in on your time on your other business, but I would like to
30 point out now you keep saying that when the final rule
31 publishes, when would that be? If we adopt the measures in
32 January, when will your agency have the final rule ready?
34 DR. CRABTREE: I would guess it would be sometime in the fall,
35 early fall, but it’s difficult for me to know.
37 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Are you going to come back and ask for an
38 emergency interim rule to handle that? Otherwise, we don’t have
39 a rule to go into place and we’re going to go right through it
40 and by default, because it’s not in place, we’re going to be
41 potentially over. If we’re going with status quo, we could be
42 potentially over harvest by the time you publish the interim
43 rule and then we’re already behind. Do you see where I’m at?
45 DR. CRABTREE: I see where you’re at and I’ve given that a lot
46 of thought. One alternative way to approach this would be to
47 request an interim rule and try to get the management measures
48 in place early. The problem with that is even an interim rule
1 likely wouldn’t be put in place until June or so and so we don’t
2 get too much out of that, potentially.
4 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I guess my counter, Roy, is you keep saying if
5 we don’t get compatible measures with the states that we’re
6 going to be in trouble and yet, you’re not going to have
7 something we can get compatible to before next fall.
9 DR. CRABTREE: I’m talking about compatible regulations with the
10 states within six to seven or eight months after we do publish a
11 final rule. I’m not talking about compatible regulations with
12 the states prior to us publishing a final rule, but if we
13 publish a final rule in September of next year and then the
14 states take an additional six to eight months to put regulations
15 in place following that, then we’re well into the next year and
16 we may fail to even get the catches constrained by the following
17 year. Do you follow me?
19 CHAIRMAN MINTON: What I follow is that we’re going to be behind
22 DR. CRABTREE: That’s the issue I’m trying to bring up, Vernon.
23 We need to recognize that now. We need to talk about the
24 accountability mechanisms. We need to make sure that we’re
25 prepared to, when the final rule publishes next year, that if
26 we’re over in the recreational and/or commercial sector that we
27 close both fisheries down right then, when the final rule
30 Then we have the accountability mechanisms to make adjustments
31 for the following year’s catch, in order to do that. That’s why
32 we need the accountability mechanisms. If you want to come back
33 and talk about those at full council, we can do that.
35 CHAIRMAN MINTON: We may have. I guess my problem with it is
36 you’re talking about almost at least a year before we have the
37 rule published and then some amount of time, depending on the
38 states, before they can get compatible regulations.
40 It just appears to me if we’re that close to being over-shooting
41 the harvest quotas now that it’s almost a certainty that because
42 of the delay in publishing the final rule and compatibility with
43 the states that the certainty is we’re going to be over and
44 those accountability measures will kick in immediately.
46 DR. CRABTREE: One way we could try to avoid that would be
47 requesting an interim rule to go in place next year some time
48 and put in place a closure, or something along those lines, for
1 a portion of next year.
3 There are no easy choices here or easy answers and I can’t make
4 the system work faster than it works and I don’t even really
5 know what to put in place in an interim rule right now, because
6 we haven’t decided exactly what we’re going to do, but those are
7 the realities of what we’re faced with and it is going to be
8 difficult, but I think we’re going to have to have discussion on
9 that and then we’re going to have to have the discussion Stu is
10 asking for for the basis of figuring the reductions.
12 We can come back to that at full council if you want to, because
13 I think we have another very difficult issue to discuss in Other
16 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I agree and I think that’s where I would like
17 to head now. We’ve got some issues under Other Business that
18 are going to take time and I would recommend to the committee
19 that we take these accountability measures and try to address
20 them at full council, unless there is serious objection.
22 MS. MORRIS: I agree with where we’re going on accountability
23 measures, as you just stated. That’s fine. I don’t know
24 whether you want to do it now or wait until full council, but I
25 think we definitely need to change our preferred alternative in
26 the recreational harvest reduction issues, which is Action 4,
27 because our preferred alternative now is the fractional bag
28 limit and I think after public hearings that we don’t want that
29 to be our preferred alternative anymore.
31 We can wait until tomorrow to do something about that, but I
32 just want to say that I think we’re going to -- The committee
33 probably would all agree that we need to change our preferred
34 alternative there.
36 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I agree and I think we’ll have a better
37 opportunity to discuss it more fully at full council, if that’s
38 okay with you. As I said, we’re going to have to reschedule the
39 discussion on goliath grouper and with that, and nineteen
40 minutes and counting, under Other Business, we have Dr. Crabtree
41 to review red snapper recreational fisheries and the quota
42 overruns and then we’re going to go to Ms. Walker and questions
43 on presentations on marine reserves.
45 OTHER BUSINESS
47 DR. CRABTREE: There have been some documents that have been
48 handed out that I think everyone has. These are the
1 recreational red snapper landings through Wave 4. If you’ll
2 look at one towards the bottom that says 2007 Landings Wave 1
3 through 4 Only, the bottom line is as of the end of Wave 4,
4 which is the end of August, through MRFSS alone, we have landed
5 3.165 million pounds of red snapper.
7 We’re anticipating that we will overrun the recreational quota
8 this year of somewhere between 1.5 and two million pounds. Now,
9 if you look at the histogram that was handed out and look on the
10 back side of it, at Figure 3, this is the West Florida MRFSS red
11 snapper landings. The black is state water landings and the
12 open is federal water landings. What you see is --
14 MR. PERRET: Roy, I’m sorry, but I have two pages that 2007
15 Total Catch Waves 1 to 4 Only and they both have different
18 DR. CRABTREE: One is landings is numbers and one should be
19 pounds. If it says landings, I believe that’s pounds and the
20 other is numbers.
22 MR. PERRET: I don’t have anything with any figures.
24 DR. CRABTREE: Some people do. If you don’t have it, if you
25 look at the table that indicates the 3.165 million pounds, if
26 you look under state pounds landed, West Florida, you’ll see
27 that over a million pounds of red snapper were landed in state
28 waters of Florida.
30 If you do have the figure, you’ll see that the state water
31 landings on the west coast of Florida jumped up to unprecedented
32 levels. We’ve also taken a look at the numbers of anglers
33 landing above the bag limit of two fish and a substantial
34 percentage of anglers off of the west coast of Florida landed
35 three fish and there were substantial numbers who landed four
38 It looks like two factors contributed to the overrun. One was
39 the assumption in the interim rule that effort was going to be
40 down by 10 percent, which does not appear to have borne out, and
41 two, and more seriously, was the lack of compatible regulations
42 in the states.
44 Bear in mind too that these numbers don’t include any landings
45 from Texas or from the headboat survey and so they’re going to
46 get worse. We have a problem in that we have had very poor
47 compliance with the interim rule and what I would ask the
48 council to do are several things.
2 One, I would suggest that we as a council write a letter to the
3 Gulf of Mexico States emphasizing the need for compatible red
4 snapper regulations as soon as possible and pointing out to the
5 states that we will have to come in and make adjustments to the
6 federal season if we’re unable to get these.
8 Then finally, I would like to suggest to you that we add an
9 action to Amendment 30B and I would like to add an action to it
10 that would require that all federally-permitted reef fish
11 vessels, meaning vessels which have a reef fish commercial
12 permit or a reef fish charter permit, and I’m making this in the
13 form of a motion, must comply with federal regulations as a
14 condition of their permit, regardless of where they’re fishing.
15 If I could get a second for that, I would provide some
18 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Do we have a second?
20 MS. MORRIS: Second.
22 DR. CRABTREE: We already have a provision in the IFQ program
23 that requires all of the vessels with an IFQ endorsement to
24 comply with the IFQ regulations, regardless of where they’re
27 I think this will go a long ways towards helping us keep some of
28 the catches in control and I think if we don’t do this that
29 we’re going to continue to be behind the eight-ball in many of
30 these fisheries, in terms of compatible regulations.
32 MR. RIECHERS: In your concerns over the landings on certainly
33 the recreational side, and based on your motion, which included
34 those who both had a charter permit and a commercial permit, how
35 do you view that affecting the commercial permits, who in our
36 state waters have to abide by the recreational bag limits?
38 DR. CRABTREE: It would be my intent, and we can add this to the
39 motion if you would like, that unless there are more restrictive
40 state regulations that apply. In other words, if a state wished
41 to implement more restrictive regulations on these fisheries,
42 then a vessel fishing in state waters would have to comply with
43 those and that I would be fine with.
45 MS. WALKER: First, let me say I am so glad that Florida now has
46 red snapper and lots of them. Roy, is not the effort in Florida
47 state waters greater than the effort in the EEZ off of Florida?
1 DR. CRABTREE: Which effort? Do you mean overall recreational
2 fishing effort? I’m sure it is.
4 MS. WALKER: Let me ask you this question then. For instance,
5 we know that folks didn’t like the two fish bag limit and
6 apparently in Florida they really didn’t and so when they were
7 intercepted at the dock, I feel certain that when they were
8 asked where they fished they were going to say state waters, so
9 that they wouldn’t get a ticket or be harassed, because they had
10 caught them out in the EEZ.
12 Since the effort is so much higher in state waters than it is in
13 the EEZ, aren’t those numbers of fish reported caught in state
14 waters then extrapolated through all of the effort and trips
15 across state waters and couldn’t that be the reason for this 62
16 percent increase?
18 DR. CRABTREE: These are preliminary numbers. I would have to
19 ask that question of the MRFSS folks. I don’t think they’ve had
20 the wave meeting where they go over these numbers. They may
21 change some. I don’t know, Bobbi.
23 MS. WALKER: Another thing I wanted to ask you about is since
24 we’re talking about effort and this increase in landings, I
25 noticed in your report that the moratorium charterboat permits
26 seem to have fallen off considerably. I think there used to be
27 in excess of 1,625 plus or minus permits and I think, in your
28 report, you listed 1,300. Do you know what’s happening there?
30 DR. CRABTREE: No.
32 MR. RIECHERS: Roy, it will just take a second. I certainly
33 understand the dilemma you’re in, because, again, we don’t want
34 to be faced with coming back here with overruns on quotas and
35 then us finding ourselves in a predicament of not meeting the
36 rebuilding plans and then having to take even more drastic
37 action, which is what we just finished up with with 27 and 14,
38 because of us not looking in to see what was going on with the
39 sectors that were affected by the previous plan.
41 Neither one of these sectors were as guilty as maybe some other
42 sectors at that time, but that being said, I’m not against or
43 opposed to the concept of this language going out for public
44 hearing and seeing what kind of feedback we get from it. I
45 think we need a lot of discussion about it.
47 I think, even as you just said, there are times when the states
48 have been probably more conservative in our management
1 previously on this species, as well as others, and one of the
2 things we’re going to have to work on as a group and getting
3 better about this is you all looking at the rules and not just
4 saying that they’re incompatible and they need to be compatible,
5 but actually trying to look at them to determine whether or not
6 they’re more conservative or less conservative.
8 This isn’t the only species that we’re facing this in. As you
9 well know, the HMS rules that have recently been published,
10 where we may have situations where we’re being asked to comply
11 and yet, we’re already conserving more with our management
12 strategies in state waters.
14 I think we really need to work towards a solution to look at
15 these not as are they compatible or not, but are they actually
16 creating the conservation benefits we need to be receiving and
17 certainly the State of Texas is willing to work with you in that
18 respect. Bearing in mind that I certainly don’t mind going to
19 public hearing and seeing what kind of feedback we get and some
20 of the legal interpretations we’ll see about this.
22 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Robin, just for a point, we’ve been to public
23 hearing. We’re going to have one final public hearing when we
24 take final action.
26 MR. RIECHERS: He has suggested this go to 30B, I believe is
27 what he was suggesting, the second document coming in the queue.
29 CHAIRMAN MINTON: My bad. Any further discussion on the motion?
30 Any objection to the motion? The motion carries.
32 DR. CRABTREE: I would like to make a motion that the council
33 draft a letter to all of the Gulf States emphasizing the
34 importance of compatible red snapper regulations and other
35 regulations that are coming down the pike, but particularly red
38 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Who seconded it? Mr. Gill seconded it.
40 DR. CRABTREE: I think we should be clear it’s recreational
41 regulations that we’re talking about and not commercial, because
42 the IFQ takes care of that.
44 MR. PERRET: Dr. Crabtree, did any states comply and have
45 compatible regulations?
47 DR. CRABTREE: Mr. Perret, the great state of Mississippi and
48 Louisiana did comply with the regulations this year.
2 MR. PERRET: I’m not on the committee, but it certainly seems
3 like the letter should include that and I would suggest the
4 states that did comply be named.
6 DR. CRABTREE: I would accept that as a friendly amendment,
7 instruction to staff.
9 DR. CRABTREE: Folks, I understand how difficult this is, but
10 I’m trying to avoid not having a federal fishery and I’m afraid
11 if we don’t get this under control that we are going to very
12 rapidly find ourselves in a position where there may not be a
13 federal season.
15 If you’ll note, it was handed out to all of you, a letter from
16 Dr. Hogarth to Pete Jensen, Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic
17 Council, with respect to summer flounder, which basically raises
18 the issue that if they can’t get the recreational fishery under
19 control that there likely will not be a federal recreational
20 season for summer flounder and there may not be one for the
21 remainder of the rebuilding plan. I’m trying to avoid letting
22 it come to this.
24 MS. WALKER: Roy, I can appreciate your concern and wanting to
25 notify the states, but the state people are sitting here. I
26 just think that it’s ridiculous for the council to write a
27 letter when they’re sitting here. They know the problem.
29 CHAIRMAN MINTON: To that point, Roy?
31 DR. CRABTREE: Ms. Walker, many of these states have commissions
32 and commissioners who are not sitting here and who are providing
33 instructions to the state directors on things and that’s who
34 this letter needs to get to, are the commissioners.
36 I think the letter needs to make it clear that if we get into
37 early next year and we don’t have compatible regulations with
38 the Gulf States that we will have to reanalyze the basis for the
39 federal season next year and we will have to look at putting out
40 a rule to close the fishery down earlier.
42 When we do the analysis, we’re going to have to take into
43 account that likely none of the states will comply with the
44 early closure of the federal fishery and close even earlier in
45 order to compensate for that. That’s what we do not want to
46 have happen and that’s what I’m trying to avoid. This letter
47 needs to get to the commissioners in these states, so that they
48 understand that our hands are tied by the law right now and the
1 position we’re in. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish with
4 MR. RIECHERS: Because I’m the overall chair and wanting to make
5 sure we move the meeting along, I will be brief. Certainly let
6 me assure you that your previous letters that you write get to
7 our Executive Director, who shares them with our commission, and
8 they certainly do look at these actions and they review what
9 they choose to do.
11 They have chosen in the past not to comply with the particular
12 closures in the recreational fishing sector. Some of the
13 rationale, as I’ve alluded before, are previous other rules and
14 other sectors that we’ve basically managed in a more
15 conservative fashion than other states and the whole council in
16 the past.
18 To assure you again, we will be reviewing this again this year
19 in our regulatory cycle, but certainly as we reach the council
20 level, I don’t know what kind of votes you would have, but I
21 don’t believe I could support this, because they already do
22 receive that notification. I was just wanting to make sure you
23 understand that they’re getting that.
25 CHAIRMAN MINTON: I echo Robin’s sentiments, but in the interest
26 of time, I would like to move forward and vote this up or down,
27 if that’s without objection. We’re going to have to do a hand
28 signal on this, because my ear is getting kind of worn out today
29 and it may not be as discerning as it was this morning. All in
30 favor of the motion signify by raising your hand; opposed same
31 sign. The motion fails on a three to three vote. That
32 concludes -- That almost concluded.
34 MR. TEEHAN: I’ll be brief. Just for my own point of reference
35 and so I can report back to my commission, what is the status of
36 30A and 30B as far as our time schedule at this point?
38 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Assuming we get through most of it, I believe
39 30B we could take up in January. 30A, April or have I got them
42 MR. KENNEDY: 30A should be final in January, a decision by the
43 council, and then be submitted thereafter to the regional
44 office. At least that would be the intent. 30B --
46 CHAIRMAN MINTON: Just for the record, he said 30B probably in
47 April. Thank you. Anything else? Thank you all for bearing
48 with us. I’m glad I didn’t have to sit in the audience and
1 listen to this mess. We’re going to take a break, a short
2 break, and then Karen will come back and expeditiously walk us
3 through the aquaculture. We’re adjourned.
5 (Whereupon, the meeting adjourned at 2:30 o’clock p.m., October
6 30, 2007.)
8 - - -
1 TABLE OF CONTENTS
3 Call to Order............................................... 2
5 Approval of Agenda.......................................... 3
7 Approval of Minutes.........................................4/23
9 British Columbia IFQ Program................................ 5
11 Scoping Document on Amendment 29............................ 24
13 Reports on Marine Reserves.................................. 44
15 Ecosystem Modeling Workshop Report.......................... 76
17 Draft Reef Fish Amendment 30B............................... 91
19 Red Snapper Allocation Discussion Document..................156
21 Reef Fish Amendment 30A.....................................162
23 Other Business..............................................180
27 Table of Contents...........................................188
29 Table of Motions ...........................................189
31 - - -
1 TABLE OF MOTIONS
3 PAGE 33: Motion to move buyback and individual transferable
4 effort quota to no longer be considered in the document. The
5 motion carried on page 34.
7 PAGE 42: Motion that the charge to the ad hoc group includes
8 tilefish. The motion carried on page 43.
10 PAGE 94: Motion under Action 1 to adopt Alternative 2 with Sub-
11 Options A and E as the preferred alternative. The motion
12 carried on page 95.
14 PAGE 96: Motion to remove Action 2 from the amendment to the
15 Considered but Rejected section. The motion carried on page 96.
17 PAGE 101: Motion in Action 3 that Alternative 2 be the
18 preferred alternative. The motion carried on page 102.
20 PAGE 103: Motion in Action 4 that Alternative 2 be the
21 preferred alternative. The motion carried on page 105.
23 PAGE 113: Motion to not choose a preferred alternative in
24 Action 5. The motion carried on page 114.
26 PAGE 118: Motion to ask staff to start work on an amendment to
27 put in place accountability measures and annual catch limits for
28 our stocks that are undergoing overfishing, which are gag, red
29 snapper, greater amberjack, and gray triggerfish, and that these
30 accountability mechanisms go into that and to come back early
31 next year and start working to get those put in place. The
32 motion carried on page 120.
34 PAGE 120: Motion that Alternative 3 be the preferred
35 alternative in Action 7. The motion carried on page 121.
37 PAGE 123: Motion to include the SSC’s recommendation as an
38 Alternative 5 in Action 8. The motion carried on page 125.
40 PAGE 125: Motion to move Alternative 4 in Action 8 to the
41 Considered but Rejected section. The motion carried on page
44 PAGE 125: Motion to Alternative 3 in Action 8 to Considered but
45 Rejected. The motion carried on page 127.
47 PAGE 131: Motion to take any alternatives that involve
48 increases in the gag minimum size limit and remove them from
1 further consideration. The motion carried on page 132.
3 PAGE 134: Motion that in the alternatives that the references
4 to gag, black grouper, and red grouper be replaced with shallow-
5 water grouper and to manage the group as a complex. The motion
6 carried on page 136.
8 PAGE 138: Motion to not consider any aggregate bag limits
9 higher than three fish. The motion carried on page 140.
11 PAGE 140: Motion to add an alternative that would allow a three
12 fish aggregate bag limit with the angler to decide the
13 composition of gag, red, or black. The motion carried on page
16 PAGE 147: Motion to move Alternative 2 and Alternative 4 and
17 Alternative 5 to Considered but Rejected and add a new
18 alternative, it would now be Alternative 3, that would remove or
19 reduce size limits in the longline shallow-water grouper
20 fishery. The motion carried on page 149.
22 PAGE 153: Motion to add an alternative that eliminates or
23 reduces the size limit for grouper for all commercial grouper
24 fisheries. The motion carried on page 154.
26 PAGE 166: Motion that Alternative 1 be the preferred
27 alternative. The motion carried on page 168.
29 PAGE 168: Motion to add an alternative to recast Alternative 1
30 with an increase in TAC, but still maintain the rebuilding plan
31 with annual increases in TAC and reaching rebuilding by the same
32 year as Alternative 1 and no increase in the overall harvest
33 relative to the status quo. The motion carried on page 169.
35 PAGE 172: Motion to move the actions in 30A that deal with
36 allocation of greater amberjack and gray triggerfish to
37 Considered but Deferred. The motion carried on page 172.
39 PAGE 177: Motion that Alternative 6 be the preferred
40 alternative. The motion carried on page 177.
42 PAGE 182: Motion to add an action to Amendment 30B that would
43 require that all federally-permitted reef fish vessels, meaning
44 vessels which have a reef fish commercial permit or a reef fish
45 charter permit, comply with federal regulations as a condition
46 of their permit, regardless of where they’re fishing, unless
47 there are more restrictive state regulations that apply. The
48 motion carried on page 184.
2 PAGE 184: Motion that the council draft a letter to all of the
3 Gulf States emphasizing the importance of compatible red snapper
4 regulations and other regulations that are coming down the pike,
5 but particularly red snapper. The motion failed on page 186.
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