This is a publication of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Award No. NA87FC0003.
CONTACT: WAYNE E. SWINGLE (813) 228-2815
PUBLIC HEARINGS SCHEDULED ON A DRAFT GENERIC AMENDMENT ADDRESSING ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT IN THE GULF OF MEXICO
Tampa, Florida - May 22, 1998 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold public hearings on a draft generic amendment addressing essential fish habitat (EFH) in the Gulf of Mexico. The draft document is mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (M-SFMCA) and addresses EFH in all seven of the Councils Fishery Management Plans (FMP). The following is a summary of the amendment:
- EFH is identified and described based on areas where various life stages of 21 selected managed species and the coral complex commonly occur. The selected species are shrimp (brown shrimp, Penaeus aztecus; white shrimp, Penaeus setiferus; pink shrimp, Penaeus duorarum); red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus; reef fish (red grouper, Epinephelus morio; gag grouper, Mycteroperca microlepsis; scamp grouper, Mycteroperca phenax; red snapper, Lutjanus campechanus; gray snapper, Lutjanus griseus; yellowtail snappper, Ocyurus chrysurus; lane snapper, Lutjanus synagris; greater amberjack, Seriola dumerili; lesser amberjack, Seriola fasciata; tilefish, Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps; and gray triggerfish, Balistes capriscus), coastal migratory pelagic species (king mackerel, Scomberomorus cavalla; Spanish mackerel, Scomberomorus maculatus; cobia, Rachycentron canadum; and dolphin, Coryphaena hippurus), stone crab, Menippe mercenaria; spiny lobster, Panulirus argus; and the coral complex
- The selected species represent about a third of the species under management by the Council. Collectively, these species commonly occur throughout all of the marine and estuarine waters of the Gulf of Mexico. EFH for the remaining managed species will be addressed in future FMP amendments, as appropriate.
- EFH is defined as everywhere that the above managed species commonly occur. Because these species collectively occur in all estuarine and marine habitats of the Gulf of Mexico, EFH is separated into estuarine and marine components. For the estuarine component, EFH includes all estuarine waters and substrates (mud, sand, shell, rock, and associated biological communities), including the sub-tidal vegetation (seagrasses and algae) and adjacent inter-tidal vegetation (marshes and mangroves). In marine waters of the Gulf of Mexico, EFH includes virtually all marine waters and substrates (mud, sand, shell, rock, and associated biological communities) from the shoreline to the seaward limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
- Threats to EFH from fishing and nonfishing activities are identified.
- Options to conserve and enhance EFH are provided and research needs are identified.
- No management measures and, therefore, no regulations are proposed at this time. Fishing-related management measures to minimize any identified impacts are deferred to future amendments when the Council has the information necessary to decide if the measures are practicable.
Public hearings will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at all of the following locations:
Wednesday, June 17, 1998
Ramada Airport Inn & Conference Center
5303 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Thursday, June 18, 1998
Holiday Inn Beachside
3841 North Roosevelt Blvd.
Key West, Florida 33040
Monday, June 22, 1998
New Orleans Airport Radisson
2150 Veterans Boulevard
Kenner, Louisiana 70062
Tuesday, June 23, 1998
J.L. Scott Marine Education Ctr.
115 East Beach Blvd (Hwy 90)
Biloxi, Mississippi 39530
Wednesday, June 24, 1998
Holiday Inn on the Beach
365 East Beach Boulevard
Gulf Shores, Alabama 36547
Thursday, June 25, 1998
National Marine Fisheries Service
Panama City Laboratory
3500 Delwood Beach Road
Panama City, Florida 32408
Tuesday, June 30, 1998
Hobby Airport Hilton
8181 Airport Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77061
Wednesday, July 1, 1998
Ellis Memorial Library
700 West Avenue A
Port Aransas, Texas 78373
Copies of the amendment can be obtained by calling 813-228-2815.
The meetings are open to the public and are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Council office by June 10, 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.