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: IMMEDIATELY
CONTACT: STEVEN ATRAN

REVIEW OF YELLOWTAIL SNAPPER STOCK ASSESSMENT SCHEDULED

Tampa, Florida - July 3, 2003 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council), South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (South Atlantic Council), Southeast Fisheries Science Center of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) will convene an Assessment Review Workshop as part of the 2003 Southeast Data Assessment and Review (SEDAR) process. The Gulf Councilís Standing Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) will also be convened as a component of the Assessment Review Workshop. The workshop will begin at 1:30 p.m. on July 28, 2003 and conclude by noon on July 31, 2003 at the Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore, 2225 Lois Avenue, Tampa, Florida.

The purpose of the Assessment Review Workshop will be to evaluate the results of a SEDAR Yellowtail Snapper Stock Assessment Workshop that was held June 9-13, 2003. Yellowtail snapper off the U.S. mainland straddle the jurisdictional boundaries of the Gulf Council, South Atlantic Council and FFWCC, and are considered to be a single stock. Yellowtail snapper in the Caribbean appear to be a different population, based on preliminary genetic analyses, and are not included in this assessment.

The Assessment Review Workshop is the third of three meetings held as part of the SEDAR process. A Data Review Workshop was held March 3-7, 2003, to review available data on yellowtail snapper. A Stock Assessment Workshop was held June 9-13, 2003, to analyze the data and prepare a preliminary stock assessment for review by the Assessment Review Workshop.

The Assessment Review Workshop will consist of representatives of the Gulf Councilís and South Atlantic Councilís SSCs, staff from the Gulf Council, South Atlantic Council, FFWCC and NMFS, representatives of recreational and commercial fishing communities, representatives of environmental organizations, outside stock assessment biologists who were not involved in the Stock Assessment Workshop, and scientists from the University of Miamiís Center of Independent Experts.

The preliminary yellowtail snapper stock assessment will be available from the Gulf Councilís website (http://www.gulfcouncil.org) prior to the meeting, and a final stock assessment will be prepared following the meeting. The Assessment Review Workshop reports and recommendations will be presented to the Gulf Council, South Atlantic Council and FFWCC, which may set year a 2004 total allowable catch (TAC) as well as other management measures for the yellowtail snapper stock within the respective jurisdictions of each management agency.

A copy of the agenda of the meeting can be obtained by calling 813-228-2815. Although other issues not on the agenda may come before the Assessment Review Workshop and Standing SSC for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Actions will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in the agenda listed as available by this notice.

The Assessment Review Workshop 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 July 11, 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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