This is a publication of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Award No. NA17FC1052.

NOAA logoNEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: IMMEDIATELY
CONTACT: RICHARD L. LEARD

LAW ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY PANEL TO REVIEW MANAGEMENT OPTIONS FOR SHRIMP AND GROUPERS AS WELL AS A MORATORIUM ON FEDERAL CHARTER VESSEL PERMITS

Tampa, Florida - February 16, 2001 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene the Law Enforcement Advisory Panel (LEAP) to discuss options papers for Amendment 10 to the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and Amendment 18 to the Reef Fish FMP. The Options Paper for Amendment 10 to the Shrimp FMP contains alternatives to address additional bycatch reduction from shrimp trawls used in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off Florida, south and east of Cape San Blas (85°30' W. Longitude). Some of the alternatives being considered include additional or extended closed areas and/or seasons and requiring bycatch reduction devices. The Options Paper for Amendment 18 to the Reef Fish FMP contains options for a comprehensive management strategy for groupers and includes alternatives for effort management, gear allowances, size limits, bag limits, and adjustments to fishing seasons and areas, among others. The LEAP will also review a Draft Amendment for a Charter Vessel/Headboat Permit Moratorium that includes various alternatives to cap effort in the charter industry of the Gulf. The LEAP will also receive status reports of various FMPs, Amendments, and Regulatory Actions; state and federal enforcement reports; and consider adoption of a Cooperative Law Enforcement Operations Plan for 2001 that was developed by the LEAP and the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (GSMFC) Law Enforcement Committee (LEC).

The LEAP consists of principal law enforcement officers in each of the Gulf states, as well as the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the U.S. Coast Guard, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) General Counsel. The LEC meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 14, 2001 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., followed by the LEAP meeting from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The meetings will be held at the Holiday Inn Fort Brown, 1900 East Elizabeth, Brownsville, Texas. A copy of the agenda and related materials can be obtained by calling the Council office at 813-228-2815.

The meetings are open to the public and physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Council office by March 5, 2001. Although other non-emergency issues not on the agendas may come before the LEAP for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (M-SFCMA), those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Actions of the LEAP will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in the agenda and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under Section 305(c) of the M-SFCMA, provided that the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take action to address such emergency.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is 1 of 8 regional fishery management councils that were established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council prepares fishery management plans, amendments, and other regulatory actions that are designed to manage fishery resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

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