This is a publication of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Award No. NA97FC0010.



Tampa, Florida - February 4, 1998 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will meet March 1-4, 1999 at the Baton Rouge Hilton, 5500 Hilton Avenue, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At the meeting, the Council will review and take final action on a Gag Regulatory Amendment Options Paper. The Gag Amendment includes alternatives for specification of a total allowable catch (TAC) for gag; minimum size limit increase for gag and black grouper from 20 to 24 inches total length; a 2-fish recreational bag limit for gag as part of the existing 5 aggregate grouper bag limit; a zero bag limit of gag for the captain and crew of for-hire vessels; a commercial trip limit for gag; a closed season during peak gag spawning; and area closures at gag spawning aggregation locations. Public testimony before the Council on these draft amendments is scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, 1999. Persons who will testify must turn in a registration card before the start of the testimony period.

The Advisory Panel (AP) Selection Committee will meet beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, March 1, 1999 to appoint AP members, and the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) Selection Committee will meet beginning at 1:00 p.m. to appoint SSC members. Both meetings will be closed sessions. The Administrative Policy Committee will meet beginning at 4:00 p.m. to approve the revised Statement of Organization Practices and Procedures (SOPPS).

On Tuesday, March 2, 1999, the Reef Fish Management Committee will meet beginning at 8:00 a.m. to review the draft Gag Regulatory Amendment Options Paper and develop recommendations to the Council for final action. The recommendations will be considered by the Council on Wednesday, March 3, 1999. The Committee will also hear a status report on the red snapper regulatory amendment and may take action.

The Marine Reserves Committee will meet on Tuesday beginning at 12:30 p.m. to review a draft scoping document on marine reserves. The Personnel Committee will meet at 2:30 p.m. to discuss selection of a fishery biologist. The Personnel Committee meeting will be a closed session.

On Wednesday, March 3, 1999, the Vessel Monitoring Committee will meet to receive a National Marine Fisheries Service (NFMS) progress report, and Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Development Foundation (G&SAFDF) proposals.

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 February 22, 1999.

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.