NOAA 2002-R110
Contact: Connie Barclay
NOAA News Releases 2002
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Proposal Would Also Prohibit Use of Royal Red Shrimp Traps

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is seeking public comment on a proposal for vessel permits for shrimpers who operate in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The proposed permit system would provide important base-line data that would be used in management efforts designed to improve the economic security of the shrimp and red snapper fisheries in the Gulf region. NOAA is an agency of the Commerce Department.

The shrimp permit system would provide Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council managers accurate numbers on shrimpers and the current shrimping effort that are currently available. Vessel permits are required on commercial vessels in most other fisheries in the Gulf and throughout U.S. federally managed waters.

The fundamental information on shrimp fishing activity in the Gulf is needed by Fishery Management Council managers charged with developing plans for improving the health of the shrimp and red snapper fisheries in the Gulf region.

NOAA Fisheries oversees the management process and implements council rules and regulations. The proposal would implement part of the council's amendment 11 to the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan for the Gulf of Mexico.

"This permit would fill many information gaps and provide both council and agency scientists with standardized data needed to accurately assess the future management needs of both fisheries," said Bill Hogarth, NOAA Fisheries director.

The shrimp vessel permit is the most recent management tool designed to improve Gulf fisheries. Last year, the council approved a multi-year plan that provides commercial and recreational red snapper fishermen with some consistency in their businesses while the fish stock is rebuilding. Federal managers are also seeking a five-year moratorium on the rapidly expanding Gulf charter boat industry to reduce the likelihood of overcapacity in that sector.

"The shrimp permit, along with these other management tools, will help the council and NOAA Fisheries more effectively manage the important public-trust marine resources of the region," Hogarth said. He added that the bycatch of juvenile red snapper in the shrimp fishery is a major impediment to the program being used to rebuild the red snapper resource. Red Snapper is an important commercial and recreational fishery in the Gulf.

Amendment 11 also includes proposals to stop the introduction of a new trap fishery for royal red shrimp. This prohibition would prevent increased fishing pressure and gear conflicts between shrimp trawls and traps in the deep, offshore fishery, increasing vessel safety and reducing loss of fishing gear. To enhance enforcement efforts of the trap ban, the proposal also would prohibit vessel-to-vessel transfer of royal red shrimp in Gulf federal waters.

The public is invited to comment on these proposed regulations, which can be found on the Internet at: The agency will accept comments until 4:30 p.m. EST on April 11. Comments must be sent to NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office, Attn: Steve Branstetter, 9721 Executive Center Drive N., Suite 201, St. Petersburg, FL 33702, or fax to (727) 570-5583.

NOAA Fisheries is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat.

To learn more about NOAA Fisheries, please visit