This is a publication of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Award No. NA97FC0010.




Tampa, Florida - November 8, 1999 - In the Gulf region there are presently about 1,286 charter vessels and 91 headboats. This represents an estimated 32 percent increase in the number of charter vessels and a 6 percent decrease in the number headboats between 1988 and 1998. Additionally, the number of charter vessel trips has increased 187 percent between 1988 and 1997.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) is considering implementation of a temporary moratorium on the issuance of charter vessel/headboat permits to fish the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for reef fish and coastal migratory pelagics (mackerel) fish. A moratorium, if adopted, would provide a basis for the development of a more comprehensive effort limitation program for this segment of the recreational fishery that could provide better long-term control of fishing effort.

The moratorium proposed in this amendment considers 7 features: 1) the duration of the moratorium; 2) initial eligibility requirements for permit; 3) permit transfers during the moratorium; 4) vessel size for permit transfer; 5) the reissuance of permits not renewed; 6) an appeal process; and 7) vessel reporting. At present, the Council has suggested as preferred alternatives:

The Council did not select preferred alternatives for: 1) vessel size restriction on permit transfers; 2) the appeals process under moratorium; or 3) vessel reporting requirements.

Public hearings for the Draft Charter Vessel/Headboat Permit Moratorium Amendment will be held at the following locations and dates from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., unless otherwise listed. In addition, public testimony will be accepted at the Gulf Council meeting in Fort Walton Beach, Florida on January 19, 2000.

Monday, December 6, 1999
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Port Isabel Community Center
213 Yturria
Port Isabel, Texas 78578
Monday, December 6, 1999
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Harvey Government Center
1200 Truman Avenue
Key West, Florida 33040
Tuesday, December 7, 1999
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Port Aransas Civic Center Auditorium
710 West Avenue A
Port Aransas, Texas 78373
Tuesday, December 7, 1999
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Naples Depot Civic Cultural Center
1051 Fifth Avenue South
Naples, Florida 34102
Wednesday, December 8, 1999
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Texas A&M University
200 Seawolf Parkway
Galveston, Texas 77553
Wednesday, December 8, 1999
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
City Hall Auditorium
300 Municipal Drive
Madeira Beach, Florida 33708
Thursday, December 9, 1999
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Larose Regional Park
2001 East 5th treet
Larose, Louisiana 70373
Monday, December 13, 1999
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
J.L. Scott Marine Education Center & Aquarium
115 East Beach Blvd., US Hwy. 90
Biloxi, Mississippi 39530
Tuesday, December 14, 1999
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Hilton Beachfront Garden Inn
23092 Perdido Beach Blvd.
Orange Beach, Alabama 36561
Wednesday, December 15, 1999
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Gulf Coast Community College
Student Union East Building
Gibson Lecture Hall (2nd Floor)
Panama City, Florida 32401

Written comments will be accepted on the draft amendment if received by January 3, 2000. A copy of the draft amendment can be obtained by calling 813-228-2815.

These meetings are open to the public and are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Council office by November 29, 1999.

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.

This news release, and other Council news releases, can be viewed at the Council’s web site, In addition, Council press releases may be received via e-mail by sending a blank e-mail message to with SUBSCRIBE as the subject.