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: RICHARD L. LEARD
(813)228-2815)

 

HIGHLY MIGRATORY SPECIES ADVISORY PANEL TO REVIEW NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICES’ DRAFT HMS FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN AND BILLFISH AP TO REVIEW NMFS’ AMENDMENT TO THE BILLFISH

Tampa, Florida - October 5, 1998 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene its Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Advisory Panel (AP) to review a recently prepared fishery management plan (FMP) for highly migratory species occurring in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The HMS FMP addresses the current commercial and recreational fisheries for tuna, swordfish, and sharks. It includes, among other provisions: overfishing definitions, biomass targets, and rebuilding schedules; essential fish habitat; and other management measures, e.g. season and area closures, quota reductions, gear restrictions, and prohibited species.

The Billfish AP will review NMFS’ amendment to the Billfish FMP, which includes Atlantic blue and white marlin, Western Atlantic sailfish, and longbill spearfish. These species are also considered as HMS species, but they are managed under a separate FMP. The Billfish FMP amendment also includes provisions for overfishing definitions, biomass targets, and rebuilding schedules; essential fish habitat; and other management measures, including: gear restrictions, minimum size limit increases, bag limit modifications, and retention prohibitions.

All HMS species are under the direct management of NMFS, and some species are cooperatively managed with other countries through agreements under the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The Council’s HMS AP and Billfish AP are charged with reviewing the provisions of these FMPs and amendments and providing recommendations to the Council, which in turn may provide recommendations to NMFS.

The HMS AP will be convened at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 27, 1998 and will conclude at 3:30 p.m. The Billfish AP meeting will start at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 28, 1998 and conclude at 3:30 p.m. The meetings will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 333 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130.

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

The meetings are open to the public and physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Council office by October 20, 1998.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is 1 of 8 regional fishery management councils that were established by the Magnuson 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 Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

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