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<DIV id=post_message_2661615>Earlier this week some of you received an email from Gary Jarvis with false information regarding the Gulf of Mexico for-hire logbook proposed pilot program. The email was forwarded to the managers with the NOAA/NMFS and here is their correction and update of the proposal.

From: Preston Pate <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 13:15:12 -0400
To: <[email protected]>
Conversation: Gulf of Mexico for-hire project
Subject: Gulf of Mexico for-hire project


I received a copy of an email you recently sent to Barbara Allen and others in which you updated them on various pending legislative activities. Also included in that correspondence were statements about the proposed logbook project for for-hire fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. Your information about the timing of that project is inaccurate.

The Operations Team (OT) of the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) has received various proposals this year for pilot projects that will help NMFS and its partners improve the collection of information about marine recreational fishing. One of the proposed projects will test various elements of reporting recreational fishing information through mandatory logbook requirements applied to the for-hire fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. The project proposal is to conduct a pilot study in two regions of the Gulf of Mexico: the panhandle region of Florida, and the Corpus Christi/Port Aransas region of Texas.

The OT has completed its initial review of the projects and is scheduled to meet on April 1 to make its decision on which projects to recommend for funding this year. The OT?s recommendations will be sent to the MRIP Executive Steering Committee for the final decision. Once funding is approved, the project teams can begin immediately to implement the proposals.

Information about the for-hire project was included in two MRIP updates that I gave to the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission on March 9. The discussion that followed was mainly about whether the project would start by June 1 and be in place for the opening of the red snapper season. The timeline included in the project plan outlines dates for various stages in the project and has June as a projected time to begin collecting data on catch and effort. Once funding decisions have been finalized, the project team will work diligently to ensure that the project moves forward as quickly as practicable. This project is designed to test a broad array of factors associated with logbook reporting. While it would be helpful to begin on June 1 to take advantage of this period of intense activity, not doing so will neither jeopardize beginning the project at a later date this year, nor affect the reliability of project results.

Never during my presentations and the discussions that followed was there any indication given that funding is not available for this project this year. While I as one member of the OT cannot guarantee funding, I can report that the review of the project by the OT is favorable to this point and it ranks high in the group of 15 that is being considered.

I can assure you that we will do all we reasonably can to move all the approved projects forward quickly with the goal of providing the most reliable means of collecting recreational fishing data to be used by NMFS and our management partners.

Preston Pate
Chair, MRIP Operations Team </DIV>
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