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

SPINY LOBSTER ADVISORY PANEL TO BE CONVENED VIA CONFERENCE CALL

Tampa, Florida - June 13, 2002 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene its Spiny Lobster Advisory Panel (AP) by conference call to review and comment on a proposed federal rule that would complement a rule drafted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC). The proposed rule would allow vessels in transit to have on board an additional sublegal-size lobster for each trap aboard, in addition to the current limit of 50 sublegal-size lobsters. All such lobsters are held in aerated live wells. The proposed rule is being implemented by the framework procedure implemented by Spiny Lobster Amendment 2 approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) October 27, 1989 (54 FR 48059). The procedure approved in the amendment by NMFS, the Council, and the state of Florida, allows implementation of this type of rule in the EEZ by the Regional Administrator (RA) of NMFS if he/she concurs that the rule is consistent with the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan (FMP), and with federal law. In making that decision, the RA considers the comments of the Councils. The Councils may consider the comments of the AP and the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) who are forwarded this proposal by the FFWCC, along with a copy of the administrative record for the state actions in approval of the state rule.

The conference call is scheduled for July 2, 2002 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. EST. The NMFS Laboratory at 75 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, Florida will be a listening station for members of the public that wish to participate in the Spiny Lobster AP session. Interested persons should contact Ms. Sophia Howard at 305-361-4285 for directions to the listening station.

Although non-emergency issues not contained in the agenda may come before the Spiny Lobster AP for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305 (c) of the MSFCMA, provided the public has been notified of the Councilís intent to take final action to address the emergency. A copy of the agenda can be obtained by calling (813) 228-2815.

The meeting is 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 25, 2002.

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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