Gulf of Mexico Council Seeks Red Snapper Input

National Marine Fisheries is seeking public comment on establishing new recreational quotas in the Gulf of Mexico for red snapper under Amendment 40. This has been one of the most contentious subjects in fisheries management in a decade, and its clear that their idea of multi-day mini-seasons for recreational anglers isn't working for the constituency. Make sure you let your voice be heard. The plain text of the bulletin is available below. This breaks up the recreational quota between For-hire permitted vessels and recreational anglers in roughly a 40-60 split.


(Gulf of Mexico) 



Peter Hood


January 16, 2015        


Notice of Availability for Public Comments on a Proposal to Establish Two Recreational Sub-Quotas for Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper


Comment Period Ends March 17, 2015


NOAA Fisheries seeks public comment on Amendment 40 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 40 to NOAA Fisheries for review, approval, and implementation. The Notice of Availabilityfor public comment on this amendment published in the Federal Register on January 16, 2015. This bulletin only summarizes the proposed actions and their effects. NOAA Fisheries encourages constituents to access Amendment 40 and its associated Final Environmental Impact Statement at 

for more complete information.


Purpose of the Amendment 40

If approved by NOAA Fisheries, Amendment 40 would provide a basis for increased flexibility in future management of the entire recreational sector, and reduce the chance for recreational quota overruns, which could jeopardize the rebuilding of the red snapper stock.


Proposed Management Measures

Amendment 40 proposes to establish sub-quotas for federally permitted for-hire vessels and private anglers who fish for red snapper for a three-year period beginning in 2015.

The federal for-hire component would be comprised of all for-hire operators with a valid or renewable federal reef fish charter vessel/headboat permit.
The private angling component would be comprised of private recreational anglers and for-hire operators who do not have a federal reef fish charter vessel/headboat permit.

Amendment 40 would allocate the 5,390,000-pound red snapper recreational quota based on historical landings data for each sub-group. Federally permitted for-hire vessels would receive 42.3 percent of the recreational quota, and private anglers would receive 57.7 percent of the recreational quota.

The federally permitted for-hire quota would be 2,279,970 pounds.
The private angling quota would be 3,110,030 pounds.

Finally, Amendment 40 would establish separate red snapper annual catch targets and season closure provisions for the federal for-hire and private angling components. For both components, each season would start June 1 and continue until the component's annual catch target is projected to be caught. A 20 percent buffer is applied to the recreational quota to get the annual catch target, which is then allocated between components. At this time, NOAA Fisheries cannot project season lengths for the components because it is waiting to receive final 2014 recreational landings data as well as the results of an update to the red snapper stock assessment.  


The Council proposes to sunset this action after three years unless the Council takes additional action. The Council is currently evaluating other measures to manage the recreational sector including red snapper regional management.


Request for Comments

NOAA Fisheries must receive comments on this notice no later than March 17, 2015. We will address all comments specifically directed to Amendment 40 or the subsequent proposed rule in the final rule. You may obtain electronic copies of Amendment 40 from the NOAA Fisheries Web site: the e-Rulemaking Portal: