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: WAYNE E. SWINGLE

COUNCIL TO CONSIDER TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH FOR RED SNAPPER, A DRAFT GENERIC AMENDMENT TO COMPLY WITH PROVISIONS OF THE SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES ACT, A PROTOCOL FOR APPROVING ADDITIONAL BYCATCH REDUCTION DEVICES, AND AN ALTERNATIVE REPORT OF MANAGEMENT TARGETS FOR RED SNAPPER IN THE GULF

Tampa, Florida - October 16, 1998 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will meet November 9-12, 1998 at the Galveston Island Hilton Resort, 5222 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, Texas. At the meeting, the Council will review the stock assessment update for red snapper and other information to determine whether to specify or modify the total allowable catch (TAC) or other regulatory measures (e.g. size limits, bag limits, trip limits, seasonal closures, etc.) for this stock in the 1999 fishing year. Public testimony before the Council on the Red Snapper Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, November 11, 1998. Persons who will testify must turn in a registration card before the start of the testimony period.

The Council will also consider approving for public hearings a Draft Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA) Amendment, as well as approval of the SFA Amendment of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council that includes jointly managed species. Other matters to be considered by the Council include: an alternative view of appropriate management targets and thresholds for red snapper, a newly developed protocol for certifying additional bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) in the shrimp fishery, and a BRD performance update. A highly migratory species (HMS) fishery management plan (FMP) and Billfish FMP amendment developed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will also be discussed.

The Reef Fish Committee will meet beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, November 9, 1998 to review the stock assessment update for red snapper and the recommendations of the Reef Fish Stock Assessment Panel (RFSAP), Socioeconomic Panel (SEP), Red Snapper Advisory Panel (RSAP), and the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC). The committee will develop their recommendations to the Council on TAC for red snapper and possibly other regulatory measures included in the framework procedure of the Reef Fish FMP, as amended. The recommendations of the Reef Fish Committee will be considered by the Council on Wednesday, November 11, 1998 following public testimony.

The Joint Shrimp and Reef Management Committees will meet beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 10, 1998 to review a report entitled "An Alternative View Regarding Appropriate SPR Threshold and Targets for Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper." The Committee will also consider comments on the report by the RFSAP and critiques by other peer reviewers.

On Tuesday, beginning at 10:00 a.m., the Shrimp Committee will meet to review a protocol for certifying additional BRDs developed by NMFS. The NMFS will also provide the Committee with an update of theBRD evaluation study and a status report of the certification of the Parker turtle excluder device (TED). A draft of a scoping document for Amendment 10 to the Shrimp FMP will also be reviewed.

The Migratory Species Committee will meet at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 10, 1998 to review a newly completed draft of the HMS FMP that addresses the current commercial and recreational fisheries for tuna, swordfish, and sharks. The Committee will also discuss an amendment to the Billfish FMP which includes Atlantic blue and white marlin, Western Atlantic sailfish, and longbill spearfish.

The Sustainable Fisheries Committee will meet at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 10, 1998, to review the Generic SFA Amendment that contains, among other provisions, alternatives for specifying maximum sustainable yield (MSY), optimum yield (OY), overfishing and overfished definitions, and rebuilding periods for overfished stocks. The Generic SFA Amendment includes all stocks currently under management by the Council, including jointly managed species, and as such, the Committee will also consider approval of the SFA amendment of the South Atlantic Council.

Although other issues not on the agenda may come before the Council for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, those issues may not be the subject of formal Council action during this meeting. Council 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 November 2, 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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