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

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RELEASE: IMMEDIATELY
CONTACT: STEVEN ATRAN

STANDING AND SPECIAL REEF FISH SCIENTIFIC AND STATISTICAL COMMITTEE AND REEF FISH ADVISORY PANEL TO REVIEW REEF FISH AMENDMENT 18 IN NEW ORLEANS

Tampa, Florida - May 18, 2001 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene a meeting of the Standing and Special Reef Fish Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) on Tuesday, June 12, 2001, and a meeting of the Reef Fish Advisory Panel (AP) on Wednesday, June 13, 2001. Both meetings will be held at the New Orleans Airport Hilton, 901 Airline Highway, Kenner, Louisiana, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. The SSC and the AP will be asked to review and comment on proposals contained in draft Reef Fish Amendment 18, which will establish a 10-year red grouper rebuilding program and address other gear and enforcement issues. The SSC and AP will also be asked to review and comment on a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) which updates the last SEIS (published in 1993 as part of Amendment 5), reviews environmental impacts of the Amendment 18 alternatives, and identifies reef fish essential fish habitat (EFH). The issues contained in draft Reef Fish Amendment 18 and the Councilís preferred alternatives are as follows:

Copies of the agendas, draft Reef Fish Amendment 18, and the draft SEIS can be obtained by calling 813-228-2815 (or toll-free 888-833-1844). Although other non-emergency issues not on the agenda may come before the SSC or the Reef Fish AP 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 SSC and AP 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 June 5, 2001.

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.

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