NOAA Fisheries recently announced a final rule that adds two long-term recreational accountability measures for red snapper. Accountability measures reduce the chances the harvest will exceed the quota, and if the quota is exceeded, take corrective action. The final rule will be effective April 20, 2015.
The first accountability measure establishes a recreational annual catch target. The annual catch target is 20 percent less than the recreational quota. Projected recreational seasons will be based on the annual catch target rather than the quota. This measure is expected to reduce the probability of exceeding the quota in any given year from 50 percent to 15 percent.
The second accountability measure is an overage adjustment that is only applied when the red snapper population is considered overfished (the population is too low). In the event the recreational quota is exceeded, the recreational quota will be reduced in the year following the overage by the amount of the overage.
The quota reduction could be modified if the best scientific information available determines that a different amount is necessary. Under this measure, the recreational annual catch target would be set at 20 percent below the adjusted quota.
The final rule has been published in the Federal Register. Copies of the final rule are available by contacting NOAA Fisheries' Southeast Regional Office at 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701 or by downloading it off the Southeast Regional Office's Web site for reef fish at:
source: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council