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: IMMEDIATELY
CONTACT: STEVEN ATRAN

COUNCIL TO DELAY FINAL ACTION ON REEF FISH AMENDMENT 18 UNTIL NOVEMBER 2001

Tampa, Florida - August 7, 2001 - At its July meeting, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) elected not to take final action on Reef Fish Amendment 18 primarily because of discrepancies in the data that had been presented at public hearings, a lack of complete comments from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and inadequate/incomplete portions of the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS). Additionally, in reviewing the amendment at the July 2001 meeting, the Council added additional alternatives and requested that additional analyses be performed.

In reviewing the actions needed to complete Amendment 18, the Council has determined that completion of the requested biological and economic analyses will take until the end of August 2001. Consequently, it will be impossible for these tasks to be completed in time for planned additional public hearings and a review by the Reef Fish Advisory Panel (AP) prior to the September 2001 Council meeting. Additionally, the DSEIS has to be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency for a 45-day comment period which cannot be accomplished by the September 2001 Council meeting.

The Council will review progress on the draft document at its September 10-13, 2001 meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, and may consider additional alternatives or proposals. The Council intends to take final action on Amendment 18 at its November 2001 meeting in Biloxi, Mississippi following a review by the Reef Fish AP, the Scientific and Statistical Committee, and additional public hearings scheduled for mid October 2001. Dates, locations, and times of these additional meetings will be included in future press releases and Federal Register notices.

Copies of the current draft Reef Fish Amendment 18 and the draft SEIS can be obtained by contacting the Gulf Council office at 813-228-2815 (e-mail gulfcouncil@gulfcouncil.org).

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 Councilís 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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