NOAA Fisheries will withhold distribution of 59.4 percent of red grouper If commercial allocation on January 1, 2019, the percentage of an intended commercial annual catch limit reduction requested by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). The Council requested commercial and recreational annual catch limits be reduced to a level equal to the combined 2017 commercial and recreational landings because of information indicating the red grouper population may be in trouble.
The current red grouper commercial quota is 7.78 million pounds gutted weight. Red grouper allocation of 4.78 million pounds gutted weight will be withheld January 1, 2019, in anticipation of the proposed quota reduction.
Public testimony from Gulf fishermen indicated they observed fewer legal-sized red grouper, suggesting a declining stock. An interim analysis conducted by the Southeast Fisheries Science Center and reviewed by the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee suggested a harvest reduction.
If you have further questions regarding this matter, please contact the Hero Sustainable Fisheries Office at the above address or by telephone at (727) 824-5305, weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Annual Catch Limit is the amount of fish that can be harvested from the population each year.
These If shares are equivalent to a percentage of the annual commercial quotas for DWG, red grouper, gag, Other SG, and tile fishes, based on their applicable historical landings. Shares determine the amount of Allocation for Gulf groupers and tile fishes, in pounds gutted weight, a shareholder is initially authorized to possess, land, or sell in a given calendar year.
Details regarding eligibility, applicable landings' history, account setup and transaction requirements, constraints on transferability, and other provisions of this If system are provided in the following paragraphs of this section. The provisions of this section apply to Gulf groupers and tile fishes in or from the Golfer and, for a person aboard a vessel with an Vessel account for Gulf groupers and tile fishes as required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section or for a person with a GulfIFQdealer endorsement as required by paragraph (b)(2) of this section, these provisions apply to Gulf groupers and tile fishes regardless of where harvested or possessed.
The Program established by this section will remain in effect until it is modified or terminated; however, the program will be evaluated by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council every 5 years. (i) The administrative functions associated with this Program, e.g., registration and account setup, landing transactions, and transfers, are designed to be accomplished online; therefore, a participant must have access to a computer and Internet access and must set up an appropriate If account to participate.
The computer must have browser software installed, e.g. Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox; as well as the software Adobe Flash Player version 9.0 or greater, which may be downloaded from the Internet for free. Assistance with online functions is available from If Customer Service by calling 1-866-425-7627 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. eastern time.
(iii) During catastrophic conditions only, the Program provides for use of paper-based components for basic required functions as a backup. The RA will provide timely notice to affected participants via publication of notification in the Federal Register, NOAA weather radio, fishery bulletins, and other appropriate means and will authorize the affected participants' use of paper-based components for the duration of the catastrophic conditions.
The program functions available to participants or geographic areas deemed affected by catastrophic conditions will be limited under the paper-based system. There will be no mechanism for transfers of If shares or allocation under the paper-based system in effect during catastrophic conditions.
Assistance in complying with the requirements of the paper-based system will be available via If Customer Service 1-866-425-7627 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. eastern time. Allocation is the amount of Gulf groupers and tile fishes, in pounds gutted weight, an If shareholder or allocation holder is authorized to possess, land, or sell during a given fishing year.
Allocation is derived at the beginning of each year by multiplying a shareholder's If share times the annual commercial quota for Gulf groupers and tile fishes. If a reduction in the applicable commercial quota specified in § 622.39(a)(1) is expected to occur after January 1, the beginning of the fishing year, but before June 1 in that same fishing year, NFS will withhold distribution of Allocation of the applicable groupers and tile fishes commercial quota on January 1 in the amount equal to that reduction.
If a final rule to implement the commercial quota reduction is not published in the Federal Register and effective by June 1, NFS will distribute withheld Allocation of the applicable groupers and tile fishes commercial quota to current shareholders based on the date the withheld Allocation is distributed. However, if gag is under a rebuilding plan, the percentage of red grouper multi-use allocation is equal to zero.
Multi-use allocation transfer procedures and restrictions are specified in paragraph (b)(6)(iv) of this section. However, if red grouper is under a rebuilding plan, the percentage of gag multi-use allocation is equal to zero.
For the purposes of the Program for Gulf groupers and tile fishes, after all of an If account holder's DWG allocation has been landed and sold, or transferred, or if an If account holder has no DWG allocation, then Other Allocation may be used to land and sell Warsaw grouper and speckled hind. For the purposes of the Program for Gulf groupers and tile fishes, after all of an If account holder's Other Allocation has been landed and sold, or transferred, or if an If account holder has no Allocation, then DWG allocation may be used to land and sell scamp.
Dealer accounts may not be closed until all cost recovery fees have been received by NFS. Any shares contained in If accounts that have never been activated since January 1, 2010, in the Program are returned permanently to NFS on July 12, 2018.
The purpose of the vessel account is to hold Allocation that is required to land the applicable If species. A vessel account, or its linked If shareholder account, must hold sufficient Allocation in the appropriate share category, at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of the groupers and tile fishes on board at the time of advance notice of landing.
Allocation must be transferred to the vessel account, so that the vessel account holds sufficient Allocation at the time of the landing transaction (except for any overage allowed as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) for groupers and tile fishes). The vessel account remains valid as long as the vessel permit remains valid; the vessel has not been sold or transferred; and the vessel owner is in compliance with all Gulf reef fish and If reporting requirements, has paid all applicable If fees, and is not subject to sanctions under 15 CFR part 904.
The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to fishing for or possession of Gulf groupers and tile fishes under the bag limit specified in § 622.38(b)(2) and (5) respectively. In addition to the requirement for a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit as specified in § 622.20(c)(1), for a dealer to first receive groupers and tile fishes subject to the Program for groupers and tile fishes, as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, or for a person aboard a vessel with a GulfIFQvessel account to sell such groupers and tile fishes directly to an entity other than a dealer, such persons must also have a GulfIFQdealer endorsement.
A dealer with a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit can download a GulfIFQdealer endorsement from the NFS If Website. The endorsement remains valid as long as the Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit remains valid and the dealer is in compliance with all Gulf reef fish and If reporting requirements, has paid all If fees required, and is not subject to any sanctions under 15 CFR part 904.
(i) At the time of advance notice of landing, the Vessel account, or its linked If shareholder account, must contain allocation at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of grouper or tile fish species to be landed, except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section. At the time of the landing transaction, the Vessel account must contain allocation at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of grouper or tile fish species to be landed, except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section.
Such groupers and tile fishes must be sold and can be received only by a dealer who has a valid GulfIFQdealer endorsement and an active Dealer account (i.e., not in delinquent status). (ii) A person on board a vessel with an Vessel account landing the shareholder's only remaining allocation from among any of the grouper or tile fish share categories, can legally exceed, by up to 10 percent, the shareholder's allocation remaining on that last fishing trip of the fishing year, i.e. a one-time per fishing year overage.
Any such overage will be deducted from the shareholder's applicable allocation for the subsequent fishing year. From the time of the overage until January 1 of the subsequent fishing year, the If shareholder must retain sufficient shares to account for the allocation that will be deducted the subsequent fishing year.
The form must be received by NFS no later than 15 days after the date of the initial landing transaction. As required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the RA will collect a fee to recover the actual costs directly related to the management and enforcement of the Program for Gulf groupers and tile fishes.
The fee cannot exceed 3 percent of the ex-vessel value of Gulf groupers and tile fishes landed under the Program as described in the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Such fees will be deposited in the Limited Access System Administration Fund (LA SAF).
The RA will review the cost recovery fee annually to determine if adjustment is warranted. Factors considered in the review include the catch subject to the If cost recovery, projected ex-vessel value of the catch, costs directly related to the management and enforcement of the Program, the projected If balance in the LA SAF, and expected non-payment of fee liabilities.
Such dealer is responsible for submitting all applicable cost recovery fees to NFS on a quarterly basis. The dealer is responsible for submitting the cost recovery fee payments using pay.gov via the If system.
Payment by check will be authorized only if the RA has determined that the geographical area or an individual(s) is affected by catastrophic conditions. The following procedures apply to an Dealer whose cost recovery fees are delinquent.
(A) On or about the 31st day after the end of each calendar-year quarter, the RA will send the dealer an electronic message via the If Website and official notice via mail indicating the applicable fees are delinquent, and the dealer's If account has been suspended pending payment of the applicable fees. (B) On or about the 91st day after the end of each calendar-year quarter, the RA will refer any delinquent Dealer cost recovery fees to the appropriate authorities for collection of payment.
For the purpose of this paragraph, landing means to arrive at a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp. The owner or operator of a vessel landing If groupers or tile fishes is responsible for ensuring that NFS is contacted at least 3 hours, but no more than 24 hours, in advance of landing to report the time and location of landing, estimated grouper and tile fish landings in pounds gutted weight for each share category (gag, red grouper, DWG, Other SG, tile fishes), vessel identification number (Coast Guard registration number or state registration number), and the name and address of the If dealer(s) where the groupers or tile fishes are to be received.
The vessel landing groupers or tile fishes must have sufficient Allocation in the Vessel account, or its linked If shareholder account, and in the appropriate share category or categories, at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of all groupers and tile fishes on board (except for any overage up to the 10 percent allowed on the last fishing trip) at the time of the advance notice of landing. Authorized methods for contacting NFS and submitting the report include calling If Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627, completing and submitting to NFS a landing notification provided through the VMS unit, or providing the required information to NFS through the web-based form available on the If Website.
For the purpose of this paragraph, offloading means to remove If groupers and tile fishes from a vessel. If If groupers or tile fishes are offloaded to a vehicle for transport or are on a vessel that is trailered for transport, on-site capability to accurately weigh the fish and to connect electronically to the online If system to complete the transaction and obtain the transaction approval code is required.
This requirement also applies to If groupers and tile fishes possessed on a vessel that is trailered for transport. A dealer may only receive If groupers and tile fishes transported by a vehicle or a trailered vessel that has a corresponding transaction approval code.
(3) No other condition may impede free and immediate access to the site by an authorized law enforcement officer. Examples of such conditions include, but are not limited to: A locked gate, fence, wall, or other barrier preventing 24-hour access to the site; a gated community entry point; a guard; animal; a posted sign restricting access to the site; or any other physical deterrent.
Until January 1, 2015, If shares and allocations can be transferred only to a person who holds a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish ; thereafter, If shares and allocations can be transferred only to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien. Share transfers must be accomplished online via the If Website.
An If shareholder who is subject to a sanction under 15 CFR part 904 is prohibited from initiating a share transfer. For the first 5 years this Program is in effect, an eligible transferee is a person who has a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish ; is in compliance with all reporting requirements for the Gulf reef fish fishery and the Program for Gulf groupers and tile fishes; is not subject to sanctions under 15 CFR part 904 ; and who would not be in violation of the share or allocation caps as specified in paragraph (b)(8) of this section.
Thereafter, share transferee eligibility will only include U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens who are otherwise in compliance with the provisions of this section. If the information is not accepted, the online system will send the shareholder an electronic message explaining the reason(s).
If the information is accepted, the online system will send the transferee an electronic message of the pending transfer. All share transfers must be completed and the transaction approval code received prior to December 31 at 6 p.m. eastern time each year.
Allocation transfers must be accomplished online via the If Website. An Allocation holder who is subject to a sanction under 15 CFR part 904 is prohibited from initiating an allocation transfer.
All electronic If transactions must be completed by December 31 at 6 p.m. eastern time each year. Electronic If functions will resume again on January 1 at 2 p.m. eastern time the following fishing year.
An advance notice of landing may still be submitted during the 20-hour maintenance window by using the vessel's VMS unit or calling If Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627. This information must also be provided to the RA any time a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish is renewed or transferred and at the time of renewal of the application for an If Account.
No person, including a corporation or other entity, may individually or collectively hold, cumulatively during any fishing year, Allocation in excess of the total allocation cap. Updated allocation values will reflect any change in If share for each share category, any change in the annual commercial quota or commercial catch allowance for the applicable categories; and any debits required as a result of prior fishing year overages as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section.
(i) A current participant in the Gulf grouper and tile fish Program must complete and submit the application for an If Account that is available on the Website hero.NFS.NOAA.gov, to certify status as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien. Failure to submit a completed application prior to the participant's account validity date will lead to the suspension of the participant's access to his If account until a completed application is submitted.
Participants who certify that they are either not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien will be ineligible to receive shares or allocation through transfer. Although some populations are below target levels, U.S. wild-caught red grouper is still a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations.
Large sharks and carnivorous marine mammals prey on adult red grouper. Red grouper are found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts through the Gulf of Mexico and south to Brazil.
Annual catch limits are used for red grouper in the commercial and recreational fisheries. These fisheries are closed when their annual catch limit is projected to be met.
Both the commercial and recreational fisheries have size limits to reduce harvest of immature red grouper. The commercial and recreational fishing seasons are closed from January through April to protect red grouper during their peak spawning period.
Minimum size limits protect immature red grouper. Year-round and/or seasonal area closures for commercial and recreational sectors to protect spawning groupers.
U.S. wild-caught gag grouper is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations. Near target levels and fishing rate promotes population growth in the South Atlantic.
The Gulf of Mexico gag population declined for several years beginning in 2005, possibly due to a major “red tide” event (an algal bloom that releases potent neurotoxin). Managers implemented a number of measures to rebuild the stock, and it was declared rebuilt in 2014.
Smaller fish are much lighter and have dark brown or charcoal kiss-like marks along their sides. Gag grow slowly, can reach more than 3 feet in length, and weigh up to 50 pounds.
Commercial fishermen must have a limited access permit to fish, land, or sell snapper and grouper species. A number of gear requirements and restrictions help reduce by catch and protect habitat.
In the Gulf of Mexico, managed under the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan : Annual catch limit allocated between the commercial (39 percent) and recreational (61 percent) fisheries. Restrictions on the type of gear fishermen may use and where they can fish, to reduce by catch and protect spawning groups.
Area closures for both commercial and recreational fisheries to protect spawning groupers. To obtain this permit, you must complete and submit an application for the Vessel EEA, provide a valid state registration or Coast Guard documentation, provide any other required documentation and pay application fees.
If your vessel has permits that are eligible to renew online, the letter will outline instructions to redeem your invitation code or set up an online account. If the letter has an e-mail address, please follow the steps to renew your permits online.
Application fees are based on the number of requested permits. Fees should be paid via checks or money orders, payable to U.S. Department of Treasury.
To renew your permit(s) via paper application, click on the application download link in the upper left corner of this page or click here (Download File). Application fees are based on the number of requested permits.
Fees should be paid via checks or money orders, payable to U.S. Department of Treasury. If the buyer and the seller are the same person or business, there is no need to sign the back of the permit.
Application fees are based on the number of requested permits. Fees should be paid via checks or money orders, payable to U.S. Department of Treasury.
In the event requirements are not met, a cover letter will be mailed outlining all deficiencies. Please retain the original permits on the vessel or in a location that is easy to access.
The Office of Law Enforcement and U.S. Coast Guard do inspect vessels for valid permits. Expiration Date: If the vessel owner is an individual, the annual permit expiration date will be the last day of the permit holder’s birth month.
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