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

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RELEASE: IMMEDIATELY
CONTACT: STEVEN ATRAN

RED SNAPPER AND REEF FISH ADVISORY PANELS AND STANDING AND SPECIAL REEF FISH SCIENTIFIC AND STATISTICAL COMMITTEE TO REVIEW RED SNAPPER AND RED GROUPER ASSESSMENTS AND RECOMMEND MANAGEMENT MEASURES FOR 2000

Tampa, Florida - October 1, 1999 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene a meeting of the Red Snapper Advisory Panel (AP) on October 25, 1999, a meeting of the Reef Fish AP on October 26, 1999, and a meeting of the Standing and Special Reef Fish Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) on October 27-28, 1999. All meetings will be at the Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore, 2225 Lois Avenue, Tampa, Florida.

The Red Snapper AP meeting on October 25, 1999 will begin at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude by 3:30 p.m. The Red Snapper AP, consisting of recreational and commercial red snapper fishermen, seafood dealers, a Sea Grant extension agent, a representative of the coastal fishing community tourist industry, and a conservation group representative will review a red snapper stock assessment that has been prepared by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and reports from the Council's Reef Fish Stock Assessment Panel and Socioeconomic Panel that include biological, social, and economic information related to the range of acceptable biological catch (ABC). Based on these reports, the AP may recommend levels of total allowable catch (TAC) for red snapper in 2000 and other appropriate management measures.

The Reef Fish AP meeting on October 26, 1999 will begin at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude by 3:30 p.m. The Reef Fish AP, consisting of recreational reef fish fishermen, commercial reef fish fishermen, and seafood dealers will review a red grouper stock assessment that has been prepared by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and reports from the Council's Reef Fish Stock Assessment Panel and Socioeconomic Panel that include biological, social, and economic information related to the range of acceptable biological catch (ABC). Based on these reports, the AP may recommend levels of total allowable catch (TAC) for red grouper in 2000 and other appropriate management measures.

The Standing and Special Reef Fish SSC meeting on October 27-28, 1999 will begin at 9:00 a.m. on October 27 and will conclude by 10:00 a.m. on October 28. The Standing SSC consists of economists, biologists, sociologists, and natural resource attorneys; and the Special Reef Fish SSC consists of fishery biologists who specialize in reef fish biology. The joint SSC will review several reports containing scientific information about gag and gag fisheries that was recently presented to the Council by Dr. Chris Koenig of Florida State University and by Dr. Trevor Kenchington on behalf of the Southeastern Fisheries Association. Because some of the information in those reports is conflicting, the joint SSC is being asked to review and comment on them. The joint SSC will also review the red snapper and red grouper stock assessments and the Socioeconomic Panel report, comment on their scientific adequacy, and may make recommendations regarding red snapper and red grouper TAC and other management measures.

Copies of the agendas can be obtained by calling 813-228-2815. Although other non-emergency issues not on the agendas may come before the Red Snapper AP, Reef Fish AP, and Standing and Special Reef Fish SSC for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during these meetings. Actions of the Red Snapper AP, Reef Fish AP, and Standing and Special Reef Fish SSC will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in the agendas and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under Section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take action to address the emergency.

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 October 18, 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.

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