This is a publication of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Award No. NA07FC0015.

NOAA logoNEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: AS APPROPRIATE
CONTACT: WAYNE E. SWINGLE

HEARINGS SCHEDULED ON PROPOSED MARINE RESERVE

Tampa, Florida - May 26, 2000 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold public hearings on a Generic Amendment Addressing the Establishment of Tortugas Marine Reserves, which proposes to establish the Tortugas South marine reserve that will encompass the Riley’s Hump mutton snapper spawning aggregation site established by the Council in 1994. The total area of the proposed Tortugas South marine reserve is 60 square nautical miles. The amendment also proposes to create the Tortugas North marine reserve cooperatively with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) program, the state of Florida, and the National Park system, which will encompass an area of 120 square nautical miles. The portion proposed to be established by the Council is 13 square nautical miles. The Council proposes that marine reserves be established for a period of at least 10 years, during which the ecological benefits of the reserve will be evaluated. The Council also proposes that fishing and anchoring be prohibited within the marine reserves.

The hearings will be held from 3:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the following locations and dates:

Wedesday, June 21, 2000
Sombrero Country Club
4000 Sonbrero Boulevard
Marathon, Florida 33050
Thursday, June 22, 2000
Holiday Inn Beachside
3841 North Roosevelt Boulevard
Key West, Florida 33040

The Council will also hear public testimony before taking final action on the amendment on July 12, 2000 at its meeting in Key Largo, Florida. The Council will accept written comments received by June 30, 2000.

The meetings are 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 June 7, 2000.

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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