This is a publication of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Award No. NA17FC2203.

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

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Secretarial Amendment 1 to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan for Red Grouper is Available

Tampa, Florida - May 16, 2002 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) announces that in accordance with provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Secretarial Amendment 1 to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan for Red Grouper with Associated Impacts on Gag and Other Groupers is available for review.

Amendment 1 would establish a rebuilding plan for the Gulf of Mexico stock of red grouper. Amendment 1 contains alternatives for determining the sustainable fishing parameters on which a rebuilding plan is based. These include maximum sustainable yield (MSY), the fishing mortality rate that produces MSY (FMSY), the biomass or biomass proxy that supports MSY (BMSY), the minimum stock size threshold below which a stock is considered to be overfished, the maximum fishing mortality threshold above which a stock is considered to be undergoing overfishing, and optimum yield. The Draft Red Grouper Amendment also contains alternatives for selecting a rebuilding strategy and rebuilding scenarios (combinations of management measures) to achieve rebuilding. In addition to the pre-constructed scenarios, the Draft Red Grouper Amendment contains individual alternatives to adjust the shallow-water grouper quota, implement or adjust closed seasons, implement commercial trip limits, adjust recreational bag limits, establish closed areas, move the longline/buoy gear boundary, and phase out the use of longlines and buoy gear for reef fish fishing.

Any written comments or questions you have should be submitted to Joseph E. Powers, Acting Regional Administrator, Southeast Regional Office, 9721 Executive Center Drive North, St. Petersburg, Florida 33702 by July 1, 2002. Also, one copy of your comments should be sent to Mr. Scott Guides, Deputy Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, Room 6121, SP, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C. 20230.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Secretarial Amendment 1 to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan for Red Grouper with Associated Impacts on Gag and Other Groupers is available from the Gulf Council at 3018 U.S. Highway 301 North, Suite 1000, Tampa, Florida 33619 or by calling 813-228-2815, or from the Council web site at http://www.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 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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