This is a publication of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Award No. NA04NMF4410020.

Gulf Council logoNEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: AS APPROPRIATE
CONTACT: STEVEN ATRAN

SEDAR ASSESSMENT REVIEW WORKSHOP TO REVIEW GOLIATH GROUPER AND HOGFISH STOCK ASSESSMENTS

Tampa, Florida - January 12, 2004 - The Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils, in cooperation with the Southeast Fisheries Science Center of the National Marine Fisheries Service, will hold a Stock Assessment Review Workshop in Tampa, Florida as part of the Southeast Data Assessment and Review (SEDAR) process to evaluate the status of goliath grouper (formerly known as jewfish) and hogfish stocks. The Stock Assessment Review Workshop will convene a select group of scientists, commercial and recreational fishing representatives, environmental organization representatives, and other knowledgeable persons to review recently completed stock assessments on these species. The goliath grouper assessment was prepared by assessment biologists at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, and the hogfish assessment was prepared by the University of Miami under contract to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The workshop will evaluate the scientific validity of the assessments and determine whether the assessments are suitable for management purposes. The workshop may also recommend status determination criteria (minimum stock size thresholds and maximum fishing mortality thresholds) needed for determination of the overfished and overfishing status, and may recommend levels of allowable biological catch. A report will be produced by the workshop which may be used by the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in preparing rebuilding plans, if needed, and future management actions for these stocks.

The meeting will be held January 27-30, 2004 at the Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore, 2225 North Lois Avenue, Tampa, FL 33607 phone: 813/877-6688. It will begin on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 2:00 p.m., and will conclude by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, January 30, 2004. An agenda and materials to be reviewed at the workshop are available from NMFS SEDAR Coordinator John Carmichael (843-571-4366 (corrected phone number), e-mail John.Carmichael@safmc.net). The goliath grouper and hogfish assessments can also be downloaded from the Downloadable Files page of the Gulf Council website (http://www.gulfcouncil.org).

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 January 20, 2004.

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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