6.9 Limiting Trips Seasonally


If an objective of this amendment is to avoid, to the extent practicable, the derby type fishery, then management alternatives to spread out the landings should be considered. This section includes such alternatives.


Alternative l: Limit each vessel to two trips per monthly period for red snapper.


Alternative 2: Limit each vessel to five trips per bimonthly period for red snapper.


Alternative 3: Status Quo: No monthly or bimonthly trips.



Discussion: Waters (1996) randomly surveyed Gulf reef fish vessels during 1993. During that year the red snapper commercial landings were 3.1 MP and the season lasted 95 days. Vessels with red snapper endorsements averaged 14 trips and non-endorsed vessels 12 trips. Waters (1996) estimate of total trips (4,165) from the survey agreed remarkedly well with trips (4,281) from the logbook data for 1993 (Table 30 in Goodyear (1994) . Goodyear (1994) discussed in detail the changes in fishing patterns that have occurred as a result of the derby fishery. In the 1991-1992 period for approximately 69 percent of trips the catch composition (by weight) was 50 percent red snapper and 50 percent other species. By the 1994 season only about 21 percent of the trips had this ratio and the majority of the trips had much higher percentages of red snapper (See Table 39 in Goodyear 1994).


Alternatives l and 2 would spread out the landings and probably are the only alternatives under this license limitation amendment that are likely to have any appreciable affect on reducing the effects of the derby fishery. If the fishermen can choose the days they conduct their trips during these monthly or bimonthly periods, this should greatly alleviate the vessel safety problem resulting from the derby fishery. In as much as each could start or end their trips as they choose, product is likely to be landed somewhere in the Gulf almost every day during the monthly or bimonthly period. This should benefit the fishermen economically and provide a more continuous supply to the marketplace while the fishery is open. For the first of the many monthly or bimonthly periods there should be little or less "derby fishing mentality" in that fishermen should be or would become aware that the quota will not be reached during those periods. Therefore, mini-derbies should not occur for each period and the fishermen should be able to take longer, more leisurely trips and fill the hold with other species in addition to the trip limit of red snapper. This should restore, to some extent, the fishing patterns existing before the derby. As the landings become closer to reaching the annual commercial quota during the last of the monthly or bimonthly periods the mini-derbies will resume.


To facilitate enforcement, each vessel would be issued color-coded landings forms for each monthly or bimonthly period which would be surrendered to the federally permitted dealer on the completion of each trip. The dealer would provide one copy to NMFS for each trip. The system should be more easily enforceable than the ITQ coupon system.


Alternative 3: The monthly or bimonthly trips will run consecutively from the start of the season until the quota is taken.


Alternative 4: The season will be split with the first four-month period running from February through May and the second period from September until the quota is taken.




Discussion: These alternatives could be modified depending on whether monthly or bimonthly periods are used. The division reflects the time periods used under the endorsement system in 1996 and 1997.



Note: This section was deleted because General Counsel concluded that if each vessel was limited to a specific number of trips with specified trip limits, then each would be given a specific quota of harvest and transferable quotas are prohibited in the 1996 amendment to the Magnuson Act and the FY 1996 Appropriations Act.



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