costs and more especially, the damaging effects of the 2005 hurricane season on participation and effort in the shrimp fishery.
The Council is concurrently evaluating in Amendment 27/14 to the Shrimp and Reef Fish FMPs, respectively, actions to end overfishing in the directed red snapper fishery and to improve the performance of BRDs used in the shrimp fishery. The schedule for Amendment 27/14 is driven by the need to implement any needed TAC adjustments prior to the 2007 fishing season to coincide with the potential implementation of the Council’s proposed Individual Fishing Quota program.
History of Management
The Shrimp FMP, supported by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), was implemented on May 15, 1981. The FMP defined the Shrimp Fishery Management Unit to include brown shrimp (Farfantepenaeus aztecus), white shrimp (Litopenaeus setiferus), pink shrimp (Farfantepenaeus duorarum), royal red shrimp (Hymenopenaeus robustus), seabobs (Xiphopeneus kroyeri), and rock shrimp (Sicyonia brevirostris). The actions implemented through the FMP and its subsequent amendments, have addressed the following objectives:
1.Optimize the yield from shrimp recruited to the fishery.
2.Encourage habitat protection measures to prevent undue loss of shrimp habitat.
3.Coordinate the development of shrimp management measures by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council or GMFMC) with the shrimp management programs of the several states, where feasible.
4.Promote consistency with the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
5.Minimize the incidental capture of finfish by shrimpers, when appropriate.
6.Minimize conflict between shrimp and stone crab fishermen.
7.Minimize adverse effects of obstructions to shrimp trawling.
8.Provide for a statistical reporting system.
The principal thrust of the plan was to enhance yield in volume and value by deferring harvest of small shrimp to provide for growth. Principle actions included: (1) establishing a cooperative Tortugas Shrimp Sanctuary with the state of Florida to close a shrimp trawling area where small pink shrimp comprised the majority of the population most of the time; (2) a cooperative 45-day seasonal closure with the state of Texas to protect small brown shrimp emigrating from bay nursery areas; and (3) seasonal zoning of an area of Florida Bay for either shrimp or stone crab fishing to avoid gear conflict.
Amendment 1, supported by an Environmental Assessment (EA), was approved later that year. This amendment provided the Regional Administrator (RA) of the NMFS Southeast Regional Office with the authority (after conferring with the GMFMC) to adjust by regulatory amendment the size of the Tortugas Sanctuary or the extent of the Texas closure, or to eliminate either closure for one year.
Amendment 2/EA (1983), updated catch and economic data in the FMP. Amendment 3/EA (1984) resolved another shrimp-stone crab gear conflict on the west-central coast of Florida.