This is a publication of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Award No. NA03NMF4410028.

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

COUNCIL TO REVIEW A DRAFT OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT (EIS) FOR THE GENERIC ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH) AMENDMENT

Tampa, Florida - May 12, 2003 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a specially-convened meeting of the Council on June 5-6, 2003 at the New Orleans Airport Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, 2150 Veterans Boulevard, Kenner, Louisiana to take public testimony on and review a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Generic Amendment. The amendment contains alternatives for specifying EFH, habitat areas of particular concern (HAPCs), and impacts of fishing on EFH. Public testimony is scheduled from 8:40 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Thursday, June 5, 2003. Persons testifying must register before the start of the testimony period. The Council will review the amendment and make recommendations beginning at 1:00 p.m. The meeting is scheduled to conclude by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, June 6, 2003. Final action to approve the EIS for the EFH Amendment will be taken at a the July 14-17, 2003 meeting in Naples, Florida.

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 (MSFCMA), 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 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 May 30, 2003.

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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