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Home > Resources & Publications > Newsletters & Magazines > Chenier Ecology > 2006 > 8-06

Resources & Publications:  Chenier Ecology

August 2006

Shrimp Fishery Amendment 13

The Southeast Regional Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service is waiting for the approval of Amendment 13 to the fishery management plan for the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery.

The amendment deals with a 10-year moratorium on the issuance of new federal permits for vessels operating in the Gulf shrimp fishery. If this proposed plan is implemented, the permits office will be in the business of replacing the current open-access permits with moratorium permits.

One hundred and fifty days would be allotted for the turnover period. Afterwards, moratorium permits will be the only valid permit to operate in the Gulf shrimp fishery. Those not renewing their permits and exchanging them within this time frame will not have a valid permit.

The proposed rule to implement Amendment 13 was published April 5 and was open for public comment through May 22.

The commercial shrimp permitting program in the Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone (EEZ) was implemented Dec. 6, 2002. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council established Dec. 6, 2003, as the control date since it is one year after the commercial shrimp permit requirement was implemented. A control date alerts the public that the council may consider limited entry into a fishery and may use the control date as qualifying criteria for participation in the fishery. Once Amendment 13 is implemented, owners of vessels who qualify for a moratorium permit will have one year to acquire a permit. However, if a person is shrimping, the permit is needed 150 days after the effective date.

Only vessels active in the fishery prior to Dec. 6, 2003, will be allowed to continue participating in the fishery. However, moratorium permits will be fully transferable. Permit owners who want to sell their moratorium permit may, and fishermen who do not have a moratorium permit can buy one to gain access to the fishery.

For years, NOAA’s fisheries management agencies have said that the Gulf shrimp fishery is overcapitalized; meaning, fewer vessels could harvest the available shrimp at a more profitable level. Basically, the number of vessels and the fishing power of the vessels have increased, while the level of landings has been stable resulting in each participant “having a smaller piece of the pie.”

The moratorium will assist the economic recovery of the fishery by addressing unnecessary effort. Should an unexpected increase in profitability occur in the near future due to decreased fuel costs or a substantial rise in shrimp prices, the moratorium permit will not allow unnecessary effort back into the fishery, allowing those with a moratorium permit to be more profitable.

For more information, visit http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/shrimp/shrimp13faqs.htm.

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