The opening date for the Louisiana fall shrimp season is Friday, August 18 at 6 a.m. The date was selected based on information provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and public comments.
The Commission granted authority to the secretary of the department to delay these opening dates if biological and technical data indicate the need to do so; and, to close any portion of Louisiana’s inside waters to protect small juvenile white shrimp if biological and technical data indicate the need to do so, or enforcement problems develop. He is also granted the authority to close shrimping in state outside waters to protect sublegal size white shrimp and to reopen any area closed to shrimping when the closure is no longer necessary.
The secretary is further granted the authority to open any area, or reopen any previously closed area, and to open and close special shrimp seasons in any portion of state waters.
Tow Time Regulations Reminder
Federal Turtle Excluder Device (TED) regulations require skimmer net fishermen to limit tow times. Maximum tow times are 55 minutes from April 1 through October 31 and increase to 75 minutes from November 1 through March 31.
Louisiana specific data portrayed in the graphics are selected from preliminary data posted by NOAA on their website. All data portrayed are subject to final revision and approval by NOAA. Shrimp landings are ex-vessel prices, inclusive of all species harvested. Missing, inadequate or withheld reports are portrayed as “zero” in these graphics. Price graphics reflect central Gulf states only (Texas and Florida are reported independently). For more information, please refer to: www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/market_news/index.html.
Louisiana anglers will be able to complete the month of July catching red snapper.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) catch estimates are still well below the harvest limit that would result in red snapper season being closed.
The latest catch statistics recorded by LDWF’s LA Creel, the state’s near real-time data collecting program, is 709,595 pounds. It covers the period through July 16. The last reported catch total was 655,603 pounds for the week ending July 9.
The state’s self-imposed cutoff number is 1.04 million pounds for 2017.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has ordered LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet to end the red snapper season when it appears Louisiana’s harvest will meet the 1.04-million-pound limit. It is the goal of LDWF to be accountable for the state’s catch in order to improve its chances of receiving federal government permission allowing Louisiana to oversee its own red snapper season out 200 nautical miles from its coast.
The red snapper fishing season was extended 39 days as part of an agreement reached earlier this summer involving Louisiana, the four other Gulf states – Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Florida – and the U.S. Department of Commerce. It allowed recreational anglers to fish out 200 miles from the Louisiana coast for red snapper for 39 days. Those dates included June 16-18, June 23-25, June 30-July 4, July 7-9, July 14-16, July 21-23, July 28-30, Aug. 4-6, Aug. 11-13, Aug 18-20, Aug. 25-27, and Sept. 1-4.
Any dates after this weekend will be cancelled immediately if the limit is reached before September 4.
Also under the agreement there would be no red snapper fishing in state waters – out nine miles from the Louisiana coast – on Mondays through Thursdays, except on July 3-4 and September 4. Anglers are limited to two fish, measuring at least 16 inches, per day.
*For more information on the 2017 red snapper landings estimates, visit:
NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule for hogfish in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf). Hogfish in the Gulf of Mexico will be managed as a single population from the Texas/Mexico border to a line near Cape Sable, Florida A recent population assessment determined that the Gulf hogfish population is not undergoing overfishing (rate of removal is too high) and is not overfished (population abundance is too low). This rule adjusts annual catch limits, establishes gear restrictions, and increases the minimum size limit for Gulf of Mexico hogfish to prevent overfishing.
WHEN RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:
- Regulations will be effective August 24, 2017.
WHAT THIS MEANS:
- Revises the Gulf hogfish fishery management unit to be the West Florida population, which includes all hogfish found in the Gulf of Mexico federal waters, except in the waters south of a line extending due west from 25°09′ North latitude off the west coast of Florida.
- Sets the West Florida population annual catch limits at 219,000 pounds whole weight (ww) for 2017 and 2018, and 159,300 pounds ww for 2019 and subsequent years.
- Increases the hogfish minimum size limit from 12 to 14 inches fork length.
- Prohibits the use of powerheads (a type of spearfishing device) for harvest of hogfish in the Gulf stressed area; an area previously defined by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council).
- Corrects a charter vessel definition to be consistent with a headboat definition.
FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER:
82 FR 34574, published July 25, 2017.
This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Why do the regulations need to be changed?
- The most recent hogfish population assessment divided the hogfish population into three populations based upon genetic analysis.
- The three populations and their status are:
- The West Florida population, which includes most of the Gulf of Mexico except for the Florida Keys, is not overfished or undergoing overfishing.
- The Florida Keys/East Florida population, which includes the Florida Keys and the east coast of Florida, is overfished and experiencing overfishing.
- The Georgia-North Carolina population’s overfishing and overfished status is unknown.
- Because the Florida Keys/East Florida population is overfished and undergoing overfishing, a rebuilding plan is needed and overfishing needs to end immediately.
- The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (South Atlantic Council) is taking the lead in rebuilding the Florida Keys/East Florida population because only a small portion of the Florida Keys/East Florida population extends into the Gulf Council’s jurisdiction in south Florida (Figure 1).
- The Gulf and South Atlantic Council created a jurisdictional management boundary between the West Florida and Florida Keys/East Florida populations, and the Gulf Council is revising hogfish regulations for the newly defined West Florida population.
What is the South Atlantic Council doing for the overfished Florida Keys/East Florida population?
- The South Atlantic Council established a rebuilding plan for the Florida Keys/East Florida population in Amendment 37 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region.
- Regulations for the Florida Keys/East Florida population developed by the South Atlantic Council will apply south of 25°09′ North latitude off the west coast of Florida, throughout the Florida Keys to the Georgia/Florida border. Regulations will go into effect at the same time as the Gulf hogfish regulations.
- Table 1 shows the revised regulations for the West Florida and Florida Keys/East Florida populations.
Table 1. Regulations for the West Florida and Florida Keys/East Florida populations.
|Regulation||West Florida||Florida Keys/East Florida|
|Minimum size limit||14 inches fork length||16 inches fork length|
|Bag limit||No change – 5 fish per person per day||1 fish per person per day|
|Commercial trip limit||None||25 pounds whole weight|
|Fishing season||Closures only if annual catch limit met or exceeded||Closed January 1-April 30 and November 1-December 31|
What are the annual catch limits for the West Florida stock?
- The annual catch limits for the West Florida stock are 219,000 pounds ww for 2017 and 2018, and 159,300 pounds ww for 2019 and subsequent years.
- The annual catch limits are based on the Gulf Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee recommended acceptable biological catch from the population assessment.
- The 2017 and 2018 annual catch limits are an average of the 2016-2018 harvest forecasts.
- The lower annual catch limit proposed for 2019 and beyond is based on long-term forecasts of the harvest.
- Florida intends to conduct a new population assessment prior to 2019 to re-evaluate harvest forecasts.
Why does the minimum size limit need to be increased?
- The Gulf Council is concerned that the annual catch limit may be exceeded in the future, as happened in 2013.
- Exceeding the annual catch limit could lead to season closures.
- The increased minimum size limit of 14 inches fork length is expected to reduce the harvest rate, which will decrease the chance of a hogfish closure.
- Increasing the minimum size limit has an added benefit of allowing hogfish to grow larger and have additional reproductive opportunities before being caught.
Why are powerheads being prohibited for harvesting hogfish?
- Hogfish was the only reef fish species in the reef fish fishery management unit that could be harvested in the Reef Fish Stressed Area (Figure 2) with a powerhead.
- The Reef Fish Stressed Area prohibits the use of some fishing gear such as powerheads to protect reef fish populations from overharvest.
- By removing the powerhead exemption for hogfish, hogfish will be subject to the same regulations as other reef fish species in the stressed area.
What regulations do I follow if I’m fishing the Florida Keys/East Florida hogfish population, but I’m in Gulf waters?
- Fishermen will be subject to the hogfish minimum size limits, bag limits, trip limits, and fishing seasons developed by the South Atlantic Council when fishing or transiting Gulf federal waters south of 25°09′ North latitude.
- Operators of commercial and charter/headboat vessels harvesting hogfish in Gulf federal waters south of 25°09′ North latitude will still be required to have a Gulf reef fish permit.
- For more information on regulations for the Florida Keys/East Florida population being developed by the South Atlantic Council, see http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/sg/2015/am37/index.html.
Why does the charter vessel definition need to be updated?
- The current codified text for the charter definition references a citation that was changed during the 2013 revision to codified regulations.
- This update would correct the charter vessel definition and make it consistent with the headboat definition.
Where can I find more information on Amendment 43?
- Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
By Mail: Peter Hood
NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505
By FAX: (727) 824-5308
By Phone: (727) 824-5305
- Amendment 43 and the final rule can be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Web site at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/reef_fish/2016/am43/index.html.
- Information on the South Atlantic Council’s Snapper-Grouper Amendment 37 and rulemaking can be found at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/sg/2015/am37/index.html
The Louisiana Artificial Reef Council will meet at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 29 in the Louisiana Room of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge.
- Introduction and welcome
II. Approval of agenda
III. Approval of minutes
IV. Reef Program update – Mike McDonough
V. Presentation on the Artificial Reef Fund budget for FY 17-18*
VI. Evaluating alternative materials of opportunity (concrete culverts) – Craig Gothreaux
VII. Public comments
VIII. Other business
*Action item for Council
Tuesday, August 1, 2017, 1:00 P.M.
UNO Advanced Technology Center
2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 210
New Orleans 70122
I. Roll call and introduction of guests
II. Approval of May 30, 2017 meeting minutes and August 1, 2017, agenda
III. Treasury report
A. Oyster tag sales
B. LOTF Financial Report
IV. Committee reports
A. Public and Private Oyster Grounds Committee (Mitch Jurisich)
B. Enforcement (Captain Chad Hebert)
C. Legislative (Jakov Jurisic)
D. Research (Earl Melancon)
E. Coastal Restoration (Dan Coulon)
F. Marketing (LDWF)
G. Health (Lance Broussard)
H. Sustainability (LDWF)
I. Professionalism (LDWF)
J. Aquaculture (John Supan)
K. Joint Task Force Working Group (Mitch Jurisich)
V. New Business
A. To hear a presentation on the 2017 Oyster Stock Assessment and
seaon reccomendations – Steve Beck
B. Discussion of state cultch plants east of the River – Byron Encalade
C. To consider a draft resolution for the state’s continued work on the Gulf
hypoxia issue – Doug Daigle
D. Discussion of using hydrocoast maps for more successful fishing – John
E. Discussion of buffer zones – Steve Voisin
F. To consider funding and participation in the 2018 LA Alive and Acadiana
VI. Public Comment
VII. Set Next Meeting
The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq. The public is invited to attend. To listen in to the meeting via webinar register at:
- NOAA Fisheries has simplified the login procedure for the catch share online system.
- The catch share online system is home to the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) programs for commercial Red Snapper and Grouper-Tilefish as well as the Bluefin Tuna Individual Bycatch Quota (BFT) program.
- Users no longer have to specify their role before logging in.
- Users of both programs (IFQ and BFT) can access the catch share online system at https://portal.southeast.fisheries.noaa.gov/cs/.
HOW TO LOG INTO THE ONLINE CATCH SHARES SYSTEM:
- After clicking on the “Log In” button in the upper right corner of the SERO Catch Shares homepage the Login Form pop-up box will appear.
- To log in to the SERO Catch Share system:
- Enter your User ID. User IDs are usually 4 letters followed by 4 numbers and are NOT case sensitive.
- Enter your PIN. PINs are case sensitive (upper and lower case must be exact).
- Your role will automatically populate after you enter your User ID (IFQ or BFT Shareholder, IFQ or BFT Dealer, or IFQ or BFT Vessel).
- Click the login button to access your account. You are required to change your PIN when you log in for the first time or 180 days after your password was last changed.
Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 10:00 a.m.
Terrebonne Council Meeting Room
8026 Main Street, Houma, LA 70360
The following is the agenda for the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force Meeting. The public is invited to attend.
- Roll call and Introduction of Guests
- Approval of the April 12, 2017 Meeting Minutes and the August 2, 2017 Agenda
III. Treasury Report
- Budget Report- LDWF
- Old Business
- Discussion of the White Shrimp “100 Count Law”- Jeff Marx
- New Business
- Update on the 2017 Fall Inshore Shrimp Season- Jeff Marx
- Discussion of Tow Time Enforcement- Acy Cooper
- Discussion of White Spot Disease- Acy Cooper
- Update on LA Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board Shrimp Industry Initiative Summary of Efforts- LSPMB Staff
- Public Comment
VII. Set Quarterly Meetings
The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq. The public is invited to attend. To listen in to the meeting via webinar register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8977246743102042370
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is committed to accommodating all
reasonable special requests regarding access to our meetings. Please direct all sign
language interpreting services or other accommodation needs to the contact at the top of
this announcement at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date.
There’s more good news for red snapper fishermen in the state.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries estimates show that the season will be open through this weekend. So far, state anglers have not threatened the harvest limit that would trigger the closure of the red snapper season, according to LDWF.
The latest catch numbers recorded by LDWF’s LA Creel program, the states near real-time data collecting program, is about 655,603 pounds. Last week’s reported catch total was 539,154 pounds. The state’s self-imposed cutoff is 1.04 million pounds for 2017. The most recent estimates cover the period through July 9.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has ordered LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet to close the red snapper season when it appears Louisiana’s catch will meet the 1.04-million-pound limit. It is the goal of LDWF to be accountable for the state’s catch in order to improve its chances of receiving federal government permission allowing Louisiana to oversee its own red snapper season out 200 miles from its coast.
The red snapper fishing season was extended 39 days as part of an agreement reached earlier this summer involving Louisiana, the four other Gulf states – Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Florida – and the U.S. Department of Commerce. It allowed recreational anglers to fish out 200 miles from the Louisiana coast for red snapper for 39 days. Those dates include June 16-18, June 23-25, June 30-July 4, July 7-9, July 14-16, July 21-23, July 28-30, August 4-6, August 11-13, August 18-20, August 25-27, and September 1-4.
Any dates after this weekend will be canceled immediately if the pound limit is reached before September 4.
Also under the agreement, there would be no red snapper fishing in state waters – out nine miles from the Louisiana coast – on Mondays through Thursdays, except on July 3-4 and September 4. Anglers are limited to two fish, measuring at least 16 inches per day.
For more information on the 2017 red snapper landings estimates, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/page/41176-red-snapper-long-range-plan-facts/redsnapperwebsitedocument7-19-17-1.pdf