The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council opens its first 2019 meeting Monday in Orange Beach, Alabama, but its 17 members might not be able to take final votes on two key items.
Reef Fish Amendment 50, the hot-button item to hand recreational red snapper management to the five Gulf States, was scheduled for a final vote during the meeting’s run through Thursday.
A Gulf Council release explained, “Due to the partial government shutdown, the required Federal Register Notice was not published in advance of this meeting. As a result, the Council will not be able to take final action.”
The government re-opened Friday.
The other item is a move to move charterboat skippers into a new Federal Charter/Headboat Permits system.
The four-day agenda begins with committee meetings from 8:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m. Monday, and the Reef Fish Committee dominates Tuesday’s schedule and into Wednesday morning. The full council will meet from 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Wednesday with public comments taken from 1:30-4:30 p.m. before a 4:45-5:30 p.m. closed session and a full council meeting scheduled for 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday.
Schedules and meeting information are posted on the GMFMC website: www.gulfcouncil.org.
Council meetings are open to the public and broadcast over the internet via webinar.
The council has set workshop dates to outline new reporting requirements for federally permitted charter and headboat vessels operating in the Gulf of Mexico.
The two close-to-home workshops are Feb. 13, 6 p.m. at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, 1141 Bayview Ave. in Biloxi — call (228) 374-5000 — and 6 p.m., Feb. 14 at the Hale Boggs Federal Building, 500 Poydras Street in New Orleans — call (504) 589-7775.