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: RICHARD LEARD 

LAW ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY PANEL TO REVIEW OPTIONS PAPERS FOR POTENTIAL AMENDMENTS TO THE SHRIMP, REEF FISH, AND COASTAL MIGRATORY PELAGICS FMPS AS WELL AS POSSESSION REGULATIONS

Tampa, Florida - September 19, 2003 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene the Law Enforcement Advisory Panel (LEAP) to review an Options Paper for Amendment 13 to the Shrimp FMP that includes alternatives to set definitions of maximum sustainable yield (MSY), optimum yield (OY), overfishing, and the overfished condition of shrimp stocks as well as improve effort estimates and the bycatch reporting methodology. The LEAP will also review an Options Paper for Amendment 14 that includes options to cap or reduce effort to achieve OY with ancillary benefits of further reducing bycatch from shrimp trawling. The LEAP will also review an amendment to reduce fishing mortality on red grouper, Amendment 22 to the Reef Fish FMP to establish a rebuilding plan for red snapper, and an Options Paper to reduce fishing mortality on vermilion snapper. Finally, the LEAP will review a scoping document that includes potential changes to a wide range of regulations in the Coastal Migratory Pelagics FMP in both the Gulf and Atlantic. The LEAP will discuss possession of both bag limit and commercially caught fish simultaneously and a matter regarding when a violation is determined to have occurred.

The LEAP consists of principal law enforcement officers in each of the Gulf states, as well as the NMFS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the U.S. Coast Guard, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationís (NOAA) General Counsel. The LEAP meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 14 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Omni Hotel - Marina Tower, 900 North Shoreline Boulevard, Corpus Christi, Texas 78401. A copy of the agenda and related materials can be obtained by calling the Council office at 813-228-2815.

The meeting is open to the public and physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Council office by October 7, 2003. Although other non-emergency issues not on the agenda may come before the LEAP for discussion, in accordance with the M-SFCMA, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Actions of the LEAP will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in the agenda and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under Section 305(c) of the M-SFCMA, provided that the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take action to address such emergency.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is 1 of 8 Regional Fishery Management Councils that were established by the MSFCMA of 1976, as amended. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council prepares fishery management plans and amendments that are designed to manage fishery resources to the 200-mile limit in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

This news release, and other Council news releases, can be viewed at the Councilís web site, 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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