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

COUNCIL TO TAKE FINAL ACTION ON SECRETARIAL REEF FISH AMENDMENT 2 FOR GREATER AMBERJACK

Tampa, Florida - August 16, 2002 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold its September 9-12, 2002 meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel Lakeside New Orleans, 3838 North Causeway Boulevard, Metairie, Louisiana and will take public testimony on the Secretarial Reef Fish Amendment 2 and on a regulatory amendment for status determination criteria and king mackerel total allowable catch (TAC). Public testimony on these issues is scheduled from 8:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, September 11, 2002. Persons testifying must register before the start of the testimony period.

The meeting will begin on Monday morning with the Vessel Monitoring Committee from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to hear a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) presentation on the vessel monitoring system (VMS) program. The Budget Committee will meet from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. to review the CY 2003 budget. The Habitat Protection Committee will meet from 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m to hear reports on sargassum as essential fish habitat (EFH), methylmercury, and the NOAA-GOM-GIS project. They will also hear a legal opinion on prey species as it will be used in the EFH environmental impact statement (EIS), and discuss the classification of artificial reefs and oil structures as EFH.

The Mackerel Management Committee will meet on Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to review and make recommendations on a regulatory amendment for king mackerel TAC and status determination criteria. They will also hear a report on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Councilís (SAFMC) action on the Dolphin/Wahoo Fishery Management Plan (FMP).

The Reef Fish Management Committee will meet on Tuesday afternoon from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to review and make recommendations for final action on the Secretarial Reef Fish Amendment 2 for Greater Amberjack. They will also review an options paper for Reef Fish Amendment 18 and hear a presentation on the SAW/SARC process. They will discuss a letter to the Secretary of Commerce on a fishing capacity reduction program, and will review the red snapper rebuilding plan regulatory amendment scoping document.

The Council will act on the committee recommendations on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning followed by agency reports.

Although non-emergency issues not contained in the agenda may come before the Council for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, those issues may not be the subject of formal Council action during this meeting. Council 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 Committee schedule and 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 August 30, 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 Council prepares fishery management plans that are designed to manage fishery resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 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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