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: AS APPROPRIATE
CONTACT: WAYNE E. SWINGLE

ADVISORY GROUPS TO REVIEW PROPOSAL FOR A MORATORIUM ON PERMITS FOR CHARTER VESSELS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO

Tampa, Florida - December 10, 1999 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) is considering implementation of a temporary moratorium on the issuance of charter vessel/headboat permits to fish the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for reef fish and coastal migratory pelagics (mackerel) fish. A moratorium, if adopted, would provide a basis for the development of a more comprehensive effort limitation program for this segment of the recreational fishery that could provide better long-term control of fishing effort.

The moratorium proposed in this amendment considers 8 features: 1) the duration of the moratorium; 2) initial eligibility requirements for permit; 3) a new Gulf permit for coastal migratory pelagics fisheries; 4) permit transfers during the moratorium; 5) vessel size for permit transfer; 6) the reissuance of permits not renewed; 7) an appeal process; and, 8) vessel reporting. At present, the Council has suggested as preferred alternatives:

The Council did not select preferred alternatives for: 1) a new Gulf permit for coastal migratory pelagics fisheries; 2) vessel size restriction on permit transfers; 3) the appeals process under moratorium; or 4) vessel reporting requirements.

The Draft Charter Vessel/Headboat Permit Moratorium Amendment will be reviewed by the Ad Hoc Charter Vessel/Headboat Advisory Panel (AP) and by the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) at their respective meetings, times, and dates, as follows:

Tuesday, January 4, 2000
Charter Vessel/Headboat Advisory Panel
8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. CST
New Orleans Airport Hilton
901 Airline Drive
Kenner, Louisiana 70062
Wednesday, January 12, 2000
Scientific and Statistical Committee
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CST
Doubletree Hotel
300 Canal Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130

Written comments will be accepted on the draft amendment if received by January 3, 2000. A copy of the draft amendment 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 December 28, 1999.

A copy of the agenda can be obtained by calling 813-228-2815. Although other non-emergency issues not on the agendas may come before the AP and 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 AP and 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.

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 at 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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