The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council took final action on a Framework Action that considers changing the outdoor closed period and the business trip control after hearing an overview of public comments. Unless the yearly catch target is anticipated to be met earlier, the fun season will begin on September 1 and remain open through October 31 as a result of the Council’s decision to modify it. Additionally, the Council decided to lower the professional trip restriction to 7 fish, which is roughly 210 pounds gutted.
In order to allow the greater amberjack stock to recover by 2027, these changes are being made to stretch both professional and recreational seasons while also ensuring that harvest is constrained to get limits that were just lowered in Reef Fish Amendment 54. As soon as is practical, the Secretary of Commerce may receive this Framework Action for approval and application.
The Council asked NOAA Fisheries to adopt an emergency rule to reduce the business trip limit to 7 fish at the start of the month in order to prevent this concept from being put into effect before the beginning of 2024’s commercial hunting season. A payback provision will lower the 2024 commercial annual catch target to 56, 661 pounds as a result of Amendment 54’s reduction of catch limits by about 83 % and the overage of the Commercial Annual Catch Limit in 2023. The commercial fishing season is anticipated to be extremely little under the current 1000-pound trip limit and may increase discards throughout the rest of the year.