This is a publication of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Award No. NA87FC0003.

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RELEASE: IMMEDIATELY
CONTACT: WAYNE SWINGLE

SCIENTIFIC PANELS TO DEVELOP NEW OVERFISHING CRITERIA

Tampa, Florida - March 6, 1998 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene its Special Crustacean and Finfish Stock Assessment Panels (SAP) to develop alternatives for the overfishing criteria as required by the Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA). Separate criteria will be considered for each of the stocks or stock-complexes managed under the Council’s existing Fishery Management Plans (FMP) for shrimp, stone crab, and spiny lobster (Crustacean SAP) and for migratory coastal pelagics, reef fish, and red drum (Finfish SAP). The panels will develop proxies for expressing maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and optimum yield (OY) in terms of spawning potential ratio (SPR), spawning biomass per recruit (SSBR), or other credible analyses as appropriate for the stocks or stock complexes of each FMP. The panels will also develop alternatives for rebuilding periods for stocks that have been classified as overfished by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The panels may suggest modifications to the framework procedures for specifying acceptable biological catch (ABC) and total allowable catch (TAC) where appropriate. Each panel will develop a report to the Council setting forth their recommendations.

The meeting of the Crustacean SAP will be held beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, March 30, and will conclude by 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 1, 1998, at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel, 701 Convention Center Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana.

The meeting of the Finfish SAP will be held beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, April 6, 1998 and will conclude by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 9, 1998, at the National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, 75 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, Florida.

Copies of the agendas can be obtained by calling 813-228-2815. Although other issues not on the agenda may come before the panels for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, those issues may not be the subject of formal panel action during this meeting. Panel action will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in the agenda listed as available by this notice.

The meeting is open to the public and is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Council office by March 23, 1998.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is 1 of 8 regional fishery management councils that were established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council prepares fishery management plans that are designed to manage fishery resources in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

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