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significant period of time, if at all.  Eliminating permits that are not being used could increase stability and probably profitability for the vessels that are actively participating in the shrimp fishery of the EEZ in the Gulf.  On the other hand, analyses in Amendment 13 indicate that the number of valid shrimp vessel permits will probably continue to decline until at least 2012 due to the aforementioned high operating costs and low prices for shrimp.  These factors have made it unprofitable for many large vessels to operate.  Consequently, it is likely in the short term that latent permits will be subsumed with vessels exiting the fishery.  Furthermore, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have destroyed or rendered unfishable many vessels, and it is uncertain how many of these vessels were active in the offshore shrimp fishery and how many will return.  Additionally, if the landings requirement for permit renewal is based on landings preceding the implementation of this amendment, active vessels could be precluded from renewing their permits if it takes the owners a year or more to return to the fishery following the hurricanes.

Alternative 4.  Further reduce effort in the penaeid shrimp fishery of the Gulf of Mexico through permit/fishing reductions

Option a.  Establish a trip-based individual fishing quota (IFQ) system or a landings-based system for the shrimp fishery in the EEZ.  Specify the number of days, trips, or landings per month or per year for each qualifying vessel.  Set each vessels limit at or below the vessel’s historical average number of fishing trips, days fished, or landings

Option b.  Establish a fractional permit limited access system under which each shrimp vessel permit will revert to one-half of a permit beginning in the third, fifth, or tenth year following the implementation of a permit moratorium.  A shrimp vessel would then be required to have on board a full permit (i.e., two half permits) to be eligible to fish for shrimp in the EEZ

Option c.  Establish a fractional permit limited access system under which each shrimp vessel permit will revert to one-half of a permit upon transfer of a permit from one person (corporate or otherwise) to another following the implementation of a permit moratorium.  A shrimp vessel would then be required to have on board a full permit (i.e., two half permits) to be eligible to fish for shrimp in the EEZ.  This provision would not apply to transfers between vessels owned by the same person (corporate or otherwise

Discussion:  As noted in Amendment 13, the shrimp fishery in the Gulf is currently experiencing a decline in the number of vessels due to low prices from competition with foreign imports and high fuel costs.   Nance (2003) indicated that a reduction in fishing mortality, which may be related to effort, would not initially result in a reduction in shrimp yield for all penaeid species.  Consequently, some reduction in effort could provide increased benefits to shrimpers and more closely approximate OY if they effectively accumulate a larger share of the shrimp crop in a given year.  If the decline in the number of permitted vessels continues as expected, the effective effort will be reduced at some point along with a reduction in bycatch.  Fractional permit systems, as with Options b and c, could reduce the number of permit holders by 50% at some future date.  Depending on the level of participation, effective effort, and the industry’s ability to compensate and fish harder, this alternative may or may not result in an equal reduction in effective effort and bycatch.  On the other hand, a 50% reduction in the number of shrimp vessel permits would probably reduce effort and catch significantly, and the reduction could result in shrimp harvests being below OY.  Based on the economic situation that the shrimp

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