The S/FFMC is comprised of the directors of the five Gulf States marine resource agencies, the Southeast Regional Director of the NMFS, and the Region IV Director of the FWS, or their designees and provides input on GSMFC programs and oversight on issues related to management in the region brought by the Menhaden Advisory Committee (MAC), the Commercial/Recreational Fisheries Advisory Panel (CRFAP), the Stock Assessment Team (SAT), and the various Technical Task Forces (TTF)s for interjurisdictional species with FMPs and Profiles.
The Menhaden Advisory Committee (MAC) was founded in 1977 and is comprised of one member from each state's fishery agency and one member from each active menhaden company in the Gulf - all of whom are voting members - and one non-voting member from the NMFS. The MAC hears and addresses all management and resource issues related to Gulf menhaden and Gulf menhaden fishing (reduction and bait). Recommendations of the MAC are approved by a two-thirds majority vote of those present and voting, and then presented to their parent committee, the State/Federal Fisheries Management Committee (S/FFMC). The MAC also serves as the Technical Task Force (TTF) during the revision to the Gulf menhaden FMP. The MAC meets in conjunction with the Commission’s annual spring and fall meetings although there is no programmatic support for their travel or routine activities. While serving as the Gulf Menhaden TTF, there are travel funds available through the IJF Program for FMP development.
This group was established from the Commission’s commitment to providing a vehicle by which both industrial and recreational representatives could voice concerns about issues common to both sectors, as well as the individual sectors, especially considering that the recreational contribution had been lacking for a number of years. The CRFAP is made up of ten members, five recreational and five commercial representatives (one from each state) who are identified and appointed by the individual state agencies. The members are considered key individuals in their respective fishing community who are capable of disseminating and bringing information to and from the fishing sectors in each of their states. The CRFAP has no charge except to provide input into issues and to make recommendations as a unified body to the Commission. The CRFAP reports directly to the State/Federal Fishery Management Committee who in turn reports to the Commissioners.
The Stock Assessment Team (SAT) is made up of representatives from each of the five state agencies who are responsible for the stock assessments within their respective states. The role of the SAT is twofold; (1) to provide input on the appropriateness of available data in support of stock assessments for the various FMPs under development or revision, and (2) to provide expertise and coordination in completing regional stock assessments for inclusion in the various FMPs under development or revision. Historically, the GSMFC has made attempts to provide opportunities for additional training and travel support, when available, to the state representatives on the SAT. While they do not meet on a regular basis, the SAT is considered active and is tasked occasionally to participate in conference calls or webinars in support of ongoing FMP activities with little cost programmatically.
The Law Enforcement Committee (LEC) plays an integral part in addressing our fisheries management objectives. The LEC includes a single enforcement representative from each of the five Gulf of Mexico states, NOAA’s Office of Enforcement, and the U.S. Coast Guard. In addition, there are representatives from NOAA General Counsel and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who contribute on a regular basis. The LEC provides enforcement representation to the IJF Fishery Management Plan process as well as comment and recommendations to the GSMFC on a variety of enforcement issues. Unlike the other subcommittees of the GSMFC, the LEC reports directly to the Commission. While no formal funding source exists within the GSMFC framework to assist the LEC, the IJF program helps when it can and provides meeting opportunities for the LEC to meet in conjunction with the Commission’s annual spring and fall meetings. These bi-annual meetings are combined with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s Law Enforcement Advisory Panel (LEAP) which also meets during the Commission’s meeting.
This group is a standing committee of the GSMFC made up of two top scientists from each gulf state and one scientific representative of the NMFS and USFWS. They are appointed by the S/FFMC members but must be confirmed by the TCC itself. The TCC provides scientific advice to the Commission as needed or as requested. The TCC subcommittees may be organized either for a specific task (e.g., data management) or for a particular species or group (e.g., crab).
This Subcommittee is made up of the state Artificial Reef Program Coordinators from each of the Gulf states, a representative from the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, a NOAA Fisheries representative, and a member representing BSEE. The members of this subcommittee are appointed by the agency they are representing through a formal letter sent to the GSMFC office. This group coordinates its activities very closely with that of the ASMFC’s Artificial Reef Committee and holds an annual joint meeting to discuss artificial reef issues that are more national in scope.
The Crab Subcommittee is made up of the crab experts in each of the five state agencies and includes all crab species of concern in the Gulf of Mexico, not just blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus). The Crab Subcommittee’s mission is to discuss crab related management, research, issues, and activities among the five Gulf States and make recommendations to the Technical Coordinating Committee and the Commission on all crab populations and fisheries. These include stone, red, golden, horseshoe and any other commercially or recreationally exploited crab population.
This group is similar to the FIN Committee except they focus on the Gulf of Mexico issues. Usually the same people on the FIN Committee serve on this Subcommittee (for continuity). Most states have two representatives – one focusing on commercial and the other on recreational. This group meets twice a year in conjunction with the GSMFC Spring and Annual meetings.
The MSSC was formed in 2019 and is made up of ten representatives which includes the five state resource agencies and representation from other state agencies involved in public health or seafood safety. The purpose of the MSSC is to provide status of the Molluscan Shellfish regulatory programs for each of the five Gulf states. The status shall include, but not be limited to: environmental, regulatory, research, monitoring, program and industry metrics. The MSSC includes all shellfish fisheries (mollusks, bivalves, wild, aquaculture, etc.) but not crustaceans. Crustaceans are under the purview of the TCC Crab Subcommittee.
The objectives of the MSSC are to identify and prioritize problems and issues in the Molluscan Shellfish industry, recommend potential solutions that will achieve a balance among the commercial Molluscan Shellfish fishermen, recreational Molluscan Shellfish fishermen, and related industries/fisheries that are based upon sound biological, scientific and economic principles, and to encourage the promotion of the Molluscan Shellfish industry both inside and outside the Gulf of Mexico.
The SEAMAP Subcommittee was implemented by the TCC in December 1981. The subcommittee is composed of a member from each state, NMFS, and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. The Subcommittee members have expertise in fishery independent sampling methods and protocols throughout the Gulf. The Subcommittee organizes several SEAMAP fishery independent surveys throughout the year. Current surveys include trawl, plankton, bottom longline, reef fish, and vertical line surveys.