Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
NMFS IMPLEMENTS SHRIMP TRAWL BYCATCH REDUCTION REGULATIONS; REDUCES RED SNAPPER BAG LIMIT TO 4 FISH
April 9, 1998 - NMFS today announced that most offshore Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawlers will be required to install bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) in their nets within 30 days. (The implementation date for the BRD rule will be May 14, 1998.) NMFS has also conditionally approved the Council's proposal to retain the status quo red snapper total allowable catch (TAC) of 9.12 million pounds, but will only release 6 million pounds of the TAC. The remaining TAC will be released on September 1, contingent upon achieving a 60 percent reduction bycatch from the shrimp trawl BRDs. A monitoring program will be initiated, and if BRDs are shown to achieve less than 50 percent reduction, no addiotnal TAC will be released. IF BRDs are shown to achieve between a 50 and 60 percent reduction, then a proportional amount of the remaining TAC will be released, i.e., 10 percent of the remaining quota for each 1 percent bycatch reduction above 50 percent.
NMFS also announced that it will reduce the recreational red snapper bag limit from five fish per person to four fish per person, effective April 29, 1998 (Note: corrected date). This bag limit reduction is projected to prevent a recreational quota closure provided the TAC remains at 9.12 million pounds. If the TAC is reduced to 6 million pounds, this bag limit reduction is projected to result in a recreational quota closure in September or October (vs. a closure in August under a 5 fish bag limit).
For the full text of the NMFS news release, click here: NMFS News Release - April 9, 1998