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Species Bycatch Quota Actions

Option f.  Establish a bycatch quota for all species, year-round and prohibit shrimp trawling in the EEZ once 75%, 85%, or 95% of the target average estimate of bycatch has been taken during any given year  

Option g.  Establish a bycatch quota for red snapper and prohibit shrimp trawling in the EEZ once 75%, 85%, or 95% of the target average estimate of red snapper bycatch has been taken during any given year

Option h.  Establish a bycatch quota for only the managed species in the EEZ and prohibit shrimp trawling in the EEZ once 75%, 85%, or 95% of the target average estimate of bycatch has been taken during any given year for:

Suboption 1.  Any managed species

Suboption 2.  All managed species

Suboption 3.  Only overfished species or species undergoing overfishing

Note: Bycatch quotas could be established in numbers or pounds

Discussion: The Seasonal Bycatch Quota Actions would establish bycatch quotas in species specific shrimp fisheries based on the approximate seasonal lengths of these fisheries for brown, white, and pink shrimp, respectively.  Although there is overlap in the catch of these species, there are differences in the areas and times when the majority of harvest occurs.  Brown shrimp harvest primarily occurs in offshore waters of Texas and Louisiana during the late spring and summer months while white shrimp are typically harvested closer to shore in summer and fall, thus the bycatch is different.  Pink shrimp catch predominantly comes from south Florida in winter, and again the bycatch is different.  These alternatives would establish time-specific bycatch quotas.  Area Bycatch Quota Actions would set bycatch quotas using statistical subzones (or combinations thereof) or state boundaries.   Species Bycatch Quota Actions would establish bycatch quotas for either all species, various options for only managed species, or only red snapper.

The setting of bycatch quotas of any kind for the purpose of bycatch reduction requires some initial estimate of the type and amount of bycatch being harvested by shrimp vessels.  Although a standardized bycatch reporting methodology has been proposed in Amendment 13, the type and amount of bycatch is currently unknown and could only be rudimentally estimated.  Furthermore, because the annual abundance of many of the bycatch species is related to environmental conditions and reproductive potential, any program to measure bycatch in a given year may not have any relevance to the amount of such bycatch that is available for harvest the following year.  The life history of many bycatch species is unknown, others are only annually susceptible to trawl gear, while others may be caught in trawls at various ages.  Consequently, a long-term data series of bycatch abundance by species would be needed to appropriately establish bycatch quotas, unless only a very small number of species (i.e., indicators) are selected for quota management.  Real-time bycatch quotas would be extremely difficult to enforce

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