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

NOAA logoNEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: IMMEDIATELY
CONTACT: STEVEN ATRAN

REEF FISH STOCK ASSESSMENT PANEL TO REVIEW NEW RED SNAPPER AND RED GROUPER STOCK ASSESSMENTS AND NEW SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION ON GAG

Tampa, Florida - August 27, 1999 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene a meeting of the Reef Fish Stock Assessment Panel (RFSAP) to review stock assessments on the status of the red snapper stock and the red grouper stock in the Gulf of Mexico prepared by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The RFSAP will also evaluate new information on gag biology that had been presented to the Council during its development of the revised Regulatory Amendment to Set 1999 Gag/Black Grouper Management Measures. This new information includes reports prepared by Dr. Chris Koenig (Florida State University, Dr. Robert Chapman (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources) and other academic and state scientists, plus an evaluation and response to the analyses prepared for Southeastern Fisheries Association by Dr. Trevor Kenchington (Gadus Associates) and other independent scientists retained by Dr. Kenchington.

The meeting is scheduled for September 20-24, 1999 at the Miami Laboratory of NMFS, 75 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, Florida 33149. The meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, September 20, 1999 and will conclude by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, September 24, 1999.

Based on its review of the red snapper and red grouper stock assessments, the RFSAP may recommend a range of allowable biological catch (ABC) for 2000, and may recommend management measures to achieve the ABC. In addition, the RFSAP will review the adequacy of recent biological information presented to the Council on gag that was used by the Council in its recent management decisions.

The RFSAP is composed of biologists who are trained in the specialized field of population dynamics. They advise the Council on the status of stocks and, when necessary, recommend a level of ABC needed to prevent overfishing or to effect a recovery of an overfished stock. They may also recommend catch restrictions needed to attain management goals.

The conclusions of the RFSAP will be reviewed by the Council’s Standing and Special Reef Fish Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), Red Snapper Advisory Panel (RSAP), and Reef Fish Advisory Panel (RFAP) at meetings to be held in late October, 1999. Red grouper is a component of the shallow-water grouper complex (which consists of red grouper, gag, yellowfin grouper, black grouper, scamp, yellowmouth grouper, rock hind, and red hind). The Council may set a year 2000 total allowable catch (TAC) for the red grouper component of the shallow-water grouper complex and red snapper. The Council may also consider other management measures at its meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on November 8-11, 1999.

A copy of the agenda for the RFSAP meeting can be obtained by calling 813-228-2815. Although other issues not on the agenda may come before the RFSAP 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. Actions of the RFSAP will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in the agenda listed as available by this notice.

The RFSAP 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 13, 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.

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.

X X X