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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CONTACT: STEVEN ATRAN

REEF FISH ADVISORY PANEL AND SCIENTIFIC AND STATISTICAL COMMITTEE TO REVIEW GAG AND VERMILION SNAPPER ASSESSMENTS; SSC TO ALSO REVIEW FINFISH MAXIMUM SUSTAINABLE YIELD ALTERNATIVES AND SHRIMP TRAWL BRD ANALYSES

Tampa, Florida - August 14, 1998 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene its Reef Fish Advisory Panel (AP) on September 8, 1998, and its Standing and Special Reef Fish Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) on September 9-10, 1998. Both meetings will be at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 333 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.

The AP, consisting of recreational and commercial fishermen, will review stock assessments of gag and vermilion snapper that were prepared by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and reports from the Council’s Reef Fish Stock Assessment Panel and Socioeconomic Panel that include biological, social, and economic information related to the range of acceptable biological catch (ABC). Based on these reports, the AP may recommend levels of total allowable catch (TAC) for these species and appropriate management measures.

The Standing and Special Reef Fish SSC, consisting of economists, biologists, sociologists, and natural resource attorneys, will also review the above reports, comment on their scientific adequacy, and may make recommendations regarding TAC and management measures. In addition, the Standing SSC will review a report of an Ad Hoc Finfish Stock Assessment Panel on additional alternatives for potential proxies for maximum sustainable yield (MSY) for at least red snapper, king mackerel, and red drum. The Standing SSC will also consider the feasibility of using the ratio of natural mortality rate to growth rate (the M/K ratio) as a basis for setting the appropriate level of spawning potential ratio (SPR) that should be used as a proxy for MSY. Generation times for jewfish and Nassau grouper may also be considered. In addition, the Standing SSC will review a presentation from NMFS on the effectiveness of shrimp trawl bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) with respect to reducing juvenile red snapper bycatch mortality. The results of the NMFS BRD study will be a major factor in the decision by NMFS on whether to release additional red snapper TAC in 1998.

Copies of the agendas can be obtained by calling 813-228-2815. Although other issues not on the agendas may come before the AP and SSC for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during these meetings. AP and SSC actions 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 September 1, 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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