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

Gulf Council logoNEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: AS APPROPRIATE
CONTACT: WAYNE E. SWINGLE

COUNCIL TO TAKE PUBLIC TESTIMONY ON REEF FISH AMENDMENT 22 (RED SNAPPER REBUILDING PLAN)

Tampa, Florida - April 23, 2004 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold its May 17-20, 2004 meeting at the Westin Beach resort 9700 South Overseas Highway, Key Largo, Florida, and will take public testimony on the Reef Fish Amendment 22 (Red Snapper Rebuilding Plan) and Exempted Fishing Permits (if available). Public testimony is scheduled on Wednesday, May 19, 2004, starting at 8:45 a.m. Persons testifying must register before the start of the testimony period.

The meeting will begin on Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. with the Advisory Panel Selection Committee convening in a session closed to the public to appoint Advisory Panel members. At 9:00 a.m. the Habitat Protection Committee will convene to receive a presentation by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on impacts of liquified natural gas facilities; receive a report on the Kempís Ridley turtle meeting; and discuss the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP).

The Joint Reef Fish/Mackerel Committees will meet from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon to review hearing comments on the Joint Reef Fish/Mackerel Limited Access Scoping Document. The committees will also review and revise a Draft Scoping Document for Extension of the Charter Vessel Permit Moratorium.

The Reef Fish Management Committee will meet on Monday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Tuesday, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. to discuss the NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Centerís (SEFSC) bycatch reduction device (BRD) analyses. The committee will also review and take final action on the Final Reef Fish Amendment 22 (red snapper rebuilding program) and review the Public Hearing Draft of Vermilion Snapper Amendment 23 that contains alternatives for arresting overfishing of that stock by commercial and recreational fishermen. An options paper for Reef Fish Amendment 18 pertaining to the grouper fishery will be discussed. The committee will also consider using the current red snapper individual fishing quota (IFQ) profile as a scoping document. The Committee will develop recommendations for consideration by full Council on Wednesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, the Shrimp Management Committee will meet from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon to review Draft Shrimp Amendment 13. The Council will meet in closed session from 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. to receive a briefing on litigation. The Personnel Committee will meet in closed session from 2:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to review applicants for a SEDAR/Travel Coordinator.

The Council will act on committee recommendations on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning followed by agency reports. The Council will receive a report on the National Mercury Working Group at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

Although other non-emergency issues not on the agendas may come before the Council and Committees for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during these meetings. Actions of the Council and Committees will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in the agendas and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under Section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take action to address the emergency. The established times for addressing items on the agenda may be adjusted as necessary to accommodate the untimely completion of discussion relevant to other agenda items. In order to further allow for such adjustments and completion of all items on the agenda, the meeting may be extended from or completed prior to the date established in this notice. A copy of the committee schedule and Council 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 10, 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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