This is a publication of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Award No. NA87FC0003.

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PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULED ON PROPOSED FEDERAL RULES REGULATING KING AND SPANISH MACKEREL RESOURCES IN THE GULF OF MEXICO

Tampa, Florida - February 11, 1998 - The Gulf and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils will hold a public hearing on Draft Amendment 9 to the Coastal Migratory Pelagics (Mackerel) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) that includes proposed federal rules for fisheries for king and Spanish mackerel. The public hearing will be held February 26, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the West Palm Beach Fishing Club, 201 5th Street, West Palm Beach, Florida 33401. The following is a summary of the issues addressed by the amendment:

Amendment 9 to the Coastal Migratory Pelagics (Mackerel) FMP

  1. Possible changes to the fishing year for Gulf group king mackerel - currently July 1.
  2. Possible prohibitions of sale of mackerel caught under the recreational allocation.
  3. Possible reallocations of total allowable catch (TAC) for the commercial fishery for Gulf group king mackerel in the Eastern Zone (Florida east coast and Florida west coast) to 45 percent for the east coast and 55 percent for the west coast - currently 50/50 split.
  4. Possible reallocations of TAC for Gulf group king mackerel between the recreational and commercial sectors to 70 percent recreational and 30 percent commercial - currently 68 percent and 32 percent, respectively.
  5. Possible establishment of two (2) subdivisions of TAC for the commercial, hook-and-line allocation of Gulf group king mackerel by area for the Florida west coast and base allocations on historical catches from the 1992-93 fishing year through the 1996-97 fishing year, excepting the 1994-95 fishing year.
  6. Possible subdivisions of TAC for Gulf group king mackerel in the Western Zone (Alabama through Texas) by area, season, or a combination of area and season.
  7. Possible trip limits for vessels fishing for Gulf group king mackerel in the Western Zone.
  8. Possible additional restrictions on the use of net gear to harvest Gulf group king mackerel off the Florida west coast; including a phase-out, a moratorium on additional net endorsements with requirements for continuing existing net endorsements, restrictions on the transferability of net endorsements, and restriction of the use of nets to primarily the waters off Monroe and Collier Counties.
  9. Possible increase in the minimum size limit for Gulf group king mackerel to 24 or 26 inches fork length - currently 20 inches fork length.
  10. Possible re-establishment of an annual allocation or a TAC percentage of Gulf group Spanish mackerel for the purse seine fishery with consideration of trip limits and area restrictions.
  11. Possible retention and sale of cut-off (damaged) legal-sized king and Spanish mackerel within established trip limits.

Copies of the amendments can be obtained by calling 813-228-2815.

The meetings are open to the public and is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Council office by February 19, 1998.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is 1 of 8 regional fishery management councils that were established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council prepares fishery management plans that are designed to manage fishery resources in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

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