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without extensive observer coverage that would be cost prohibitive.  Self reporting would require extensive training in identification, unless only total poundage was chosen, and would probably be highly inaccurate without observers.  On the other hand, if only a subset of the permitted vessels is monitored under the standardized bycatch reporting methodology approved under Amendment 13, a bycatch quota could be established through extrapolation.  A bycatch quota could be further simplified if only indicator species are included as with Options g and h above.  Using a subset of vessels and indicator species could be a workable means of establishing a bycatch quota; however, it would probably be highly variable and may not reflect the true level of bycatch.

Alternative 5.  Options to Monitor a Bycatch Quota

Option a.  Using the proposed standardized bycatch monitoring program established under Amendment 13 to determine the amount and type of bycatch that is occurring in the EEZ, shrimp trawling in the EEZ will be prohibited when the quota is reached based on the bycatch quota selected under Alternative 4 above

Option b.  Require retention/weighing/counting of bycatch; shrimp trawling in the EEZ will be prohibited when the quota is reached based on the bycatch quota selected under Alternative 4 above

Option c. Authorize the NMFS to implement a bycatch quota monitoring program in accordance with any established bycatch quota program recommended by the Council under Alternative 4 and established by NMFS

Discussion:  Although there is an obvious need to monitor a bycatch quota program to determine if it is effective in meeting its objectives, the first step is to establish the type of program needed and implement it.  As discussed under Alternative 4 above, it is doubtful that an accurate and enforceable program to measure bycatch could be implemented in the near future without exorbitant expenditures of funds for observers, unless only a portion of the fleet and/or a limited number of species are included for quota monitoring.  On the other hand, if an acceptable program can be designed and implemented, the NMFS would probably be the agency that would actually conduct bycatch quota monitoring.  Consequently, allowing NMFS to establish the requirements (Option c) of a monitoring program would probably be the most logical alternative.  Option a would utilize the standardized bycatch reporting methodology to sample a subset of vessels; however, as noted this method would probably be highly inaccurate.  Option b would be prohibitive from both a cost and practicability standpoint.

Action 2.  Alternatives to Further Reduce Effort in the Penaeid Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico

Alternative 1.  No Action – Do not require further reductions in shrimping effort in the penaeid shrimp fishery of the Gulf of Mexico

Alternative 2.  Further reduce effort by limiting transferability of shrimp vessel permits


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