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

NOAA logoNEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: IMMEDIATELY
CONTACT: STEVEN ATRAN

PUBLIC HEARINGS SCHEDULED ON POSSIBLE REGULATORY CHANGES TO GAG AND BLACK GROUPER MANAGEMENT

Tampa, Florida - November 13, 1998 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold public hearings on possible regulatory changes to the management of gag and black grouper in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Issues addressed in the draft regulatory amendment include the following:

The Council currently has no preferred alternatives; however, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), in its October 1998 Report to Congress on the Status of Fisheries of the United States, identified gag in the Gulf of Mexico as a stock that, while not currently overfished, is approaching an overfished condition. Under the provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Council is required to take action to prevent overfishing from occurring for stocks identified by NMFS as approaching an overfished condition. A decision on which measures to implement will be made at the January 11-14, 1999 Council meeting to be held in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Public hearings will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the following locations, except those marked with an asterisk which will be from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Monday, December 7, 1998
Pier House
One Duval Street
Key West, FL 33040

Tuesday, December 8, 1998
Steinhatchee Elementary School
1st Avenue South
Steinhatchee, Florida

Wednesday, December 9, 1998
City Hall Auditorium
3001 Municipal Drive
Madiera Beach, Florida

Thursday, December 10, 1998
Courtyard Marriott
4455 Metro Parkway
Fort Myers, Florida

* Monday, December 14, 1998
National Marine Fisheries Service
Panama City Laboratory
3500 Delwood Beach Road
Panama City, FL 32408

* Tuesday, December 15, 1998
Orange Beach Community Center
27235 Canal Road
Orange Beach, AL 36561

* Thursday, December 17, 1998
Larose Regional Park
2001 East 5th Street
Larose, LA 70373

Copies of the Public Hearing Draft Regulatory Amendment to The Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan to Set 1999 Gag/Shallow-Water Grouper Total Allowable Catch can be obtained by calling 813-228-2815.

These 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 November 30, 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.

This news release, and other Council news releases, can be viewed at the Council’s web site, http://www.gulfcouncil.org. In addition, Council press releases may be received via e-mail by sending a blank e-mail message to pressreleases@gulfcouncil.org with SUBSCRIBE as the subject.

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