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Gulf Of Mexico Individual Fishing Quota Program Reminders

NOAA Fisheries is sending this reminder to ensure Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) program participants are informed about new and important requirements, such as management actions, IFQ system functions, and how to participate in the program.

Key Message:

NOAA Fisheries is sending this reminder to ensure Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) program participants are informed about new and important requirements, such as management actions, IFQ system functions, and how to participate in the program.
For further information, IFQ participants can contact Catch Share Support at (866) 425-7627 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.

Quota Changes:
Red Snapper

On July 10, 2023, the quota for red snapper increased from 7.075 to 7.494 million pounds gutted weight (lbs gw). Additional allocation was proportionally distributed to each red snapper shareholder on that date based on the amount of shares held at the time of the distribution.

Gag Grouper

Gag is overfished and experiencing overfishing. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) developed a plan to rebuild the stock in 18 years and this plan required substantial reductions in the allowable harvest. Gag quotas for 2024 and 2025 were proposed by the Council in Amendment 56 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Amendment 56). The Council has approved this amendment and sent it to the Secretary of Commerce for review. If approved, the commercial gag quota in 2024 will be 147,000 lbs gw.

 YearProposed Quota(gutted weight)
2024147,000
2025204,000
2026256,000
2027314,000
2028384,000

Electronic VMS Power Down Exemption Form:

In order to turn off (power down) your VMS unit, you must submit a VMS power down exemption request. This request has moved to an online form and a more simplified approval process. The form can be accessed at the below web address:

https://grunt.sefsc.noaa.gov/apex/fer/r/fer_forms/home

This web address will take you to the page shown below, where you must click on the blue “Power Down Exemption” text:

VMS Powerdown Exemption Screenshot

Power down exemption requests must be a minimum duration of 72 hours from the reported “Turn Off Date & Time” and a maximum duration of one year. If you wish to extend your power down exemption, you can simply complete another power down exemption request form online starting after the “Turn On” date of the initial form. If you wish to end your power down exemption earlier than the date indicated on your request form, please contact the Southeast Region VMS Commercial Vessel line at (800) 707-1632. For other assistance, contact the Southeast Regional Office VMS Customer Support line at (800) 758-4833.

Gulf Council Motions Related to the IFQ Programs

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) met June 5-8, 2023 in Mobile Alabama and discussed several actions related to the IFQ Programs. The Council motioned to modify scamp and yellowmouth grouper quotas, which may impact the shallow water grouper share category. The Council also identified five IFQ goals that will be used to initiate a plan amendment, including: improve opportunities for participants to enter the IFQ program, reduce IFQ discards, maintain flexible fishing options and economic stability within the IFQ Programs, increase IFQ market transparency, and reduce costs per unit harvest. In relation to this new amendment, the Council discontinued work on IFQ Amendments 36b and 36c

For more information on Gulf Council motions and upcoming meetings, visit GulfCouncil.org

IFQ Market Transparency

Various factors may limit participation in, access to, and knowledge about the IFQ marketplace for purchasing or selling shares and allocation in the Gulf of Mexico red snapper and grouper-tilefish IFQ programs. Participants have indicated a need for transparency in transactions, a method to view allocation and shares available for sale, and ways to connect sellers and buyers. NOAA Fisheries is considering creating tools for use in the Gulf of Mexico IFQ programs with the goals of improving the knowledge of, and access to available shares and allocation. In order to inform the development of these tools, NOAA Fisheries plans to conduct eight focus group meetings in August and September throughout the Gulf of Mexico with participants in the red snapper and grouper-tilefish IFQ programs. The input received through these focus groups will be used to design the proposed NOAA Fisheries tools. The consulting agency WAC Research will be reaching out to IFQ program participants selected for the focus meetings. If you are contacted by WAC Research to be a participant and have questions, please contact Catch Share Support at 866-425-7627 (option 2).

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