Amendment 4/EA, partially approved in 1988 and finalized in 1989, identified problems that developed in the fishery and revised the objectives of the FMP accordingly. The annual review process for the Tortugas Sanctuary was simplified, and the GMFMC's and RA’s review for the Texas closure was extended to February 1st. A provision that white shrimp taken in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) be landed in accordance with a state's size/possession regulations to provide consistency and facilitate enforcement with the state of Louisiana was to have been implemented at such time when Louisiana provided for an incidental catch of undersized white shrimp in the fishery for seabobs. This provision was disapproved by the NMFS with the recommendation that it be resubmitted under the expedited 60-day Secretarial review schedule after Louisiana provided for a bycatch of undersized white shrimp in the directed fishery for seabobs. This resubmission was made in February of 1990 and applied to white shrimp taken in the EEZ and landed in Louisiana. It was approved and implemented in May of 1990.
In July 1989, the NMFS published revised guidelines for FMPs that interpretatively addressed the M-SFCMA’s (then called the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act) National Standards (50 CFR Part 602). These guidelines required each FMP to include a scientifically measurable definition of overfishing and an action plan to arrest overfishing should it occur.
In 1990, Texas revised the period of its seasonal closure in Gulf waters from June 1 to July 15 to May 15 to July 15. The FMP did not have enough flexibility to adjust the cooperative closure of federal waters to accommodate this change, thus an amendment was required.
Amendment 5/EA, approved in 1991, defined overfishing for Gulf brown, pink, and royal red shrimp and provided for measures to restore overfished stocks if overfishing should occur. Action on the definition of overfishing for white shrimp was deferred, and seabobs and rock shrimp were deleted from the management unit. The duration of the seasonal closure to shrimping off Texas was adjusted to conform with the changes in state regulations.
Amendment 6/EA (1993), eliminated the annual reports and reviews of the Tortugas Shrimp Sanctuary in favor of monitoring and an annual stock assessment. Three seasonally opened areas within the sanctuary continued to open seasonally, without need for annual action. A proposed definition of overfishing of white shrimp was rejected by the NMFS as not being based on the best available data.
Amendment 7/EA, finalized in 1994, defined overfishing for white shrimp and provided for future updating of overfishing indices for brown, white, and pink shrimp as new data become available. A total allowable level of foreign fishing (TALFF) for royal red shrimp was eliminated; however, a redefinition of overfishing for this species was disapproved.
Amendment 8/EA, submitted in 1995 and implemented in early 1996, addressed management of royal red shrimp. It established a procedure that would allow total allowable catch (TAC) for royal red shrimp to be set up to 30% above MSY for no more than two consecutive years so that a better estimate of MSY could be determined. This action was subsequently negated by the 1996 Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA) amendment to the M-SFCMA that defined overfishing as a fishing level that jeopardizes the capacity of a stock to