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: WAYNE E. SWINGLE

RESCHEDULED - COUNCIL TO TAKE PUBLIC TESTIMONY ON GROUPER QUOTA AND TRIP LIMITS AND NOAA FISHERIES TO HOST A RECREATIONAL DATA FORUM

Tampa, Florida - September 14, 2004 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold its October 11-15, 2004 meeting at the Edgewater Beach Resort, 11212 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, Florida 32407. This meeting was rescheduled from September 13-17 due to Hurricane Ivan. Please be advised that the Reef Fish Management Committee, in their meeting on Tuesday afternoon, will hear testimony from fishery groups on the need for commercial vessel trip limits for shallow-water and deep-water groupers. The Committee would like industry recommendations on the poundage of vessel trip limits needed to assure that the shallow-water and deep-water grouper fisheries are not closed next year. The Council will select trip limits from the recommendations and recommend that NOAA Fisheries implement them by emergency rule.

The Reef Fish Management Committee will hear such testimony for only 2 hours, from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. Fishermen coming to testify on this issue should select spokespersons, as there will be inadequate time for everyone to testify. Persons testifying must register before the start of the testimony period.

NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Regional Office (SERO) invites you to attend the Gulf Coast Recreational Data Forum on Tuesday, October 12, 2004, at the Edgewater Beach Resort in Panama City, Florida. Dr. Roy Crabtree, SE Regional Administrator, SERO staff, and fisheries statistics staff from NOAA Fisheries Headquarters will be on hand to provide up-to-date program information and answer questions about NOAA Fisheries' recreational data collection program. The informal two-hour session is open to the public and will begin at 6:30 p.m. For more information on the Gulf Coast Recreational Data Forum, contact Michael Bailey at 727-570-5474.

The Council meeting will begin on Monday, October 11, 2004 at 8:30 a.m. The Joint Personnel/Administrative Policy Committees will review the disciplinary action section of the Council’s Standard Operating Practices and Procedures (SOPPS) and the SEDAR Process and Pool Section of SOPPs. The Budget Committee will meet from 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. to review the 2005-2009 budgets, followed by the Joint Reef Fish/Mackerel Management Committee, who will review amendments for commercial limited access systems for reef fish and mackerels from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. Following recess, the Shrimp Management Committee will meet from 1:00 - 3:30 p.m. to discuss NOAA Fisheries’ bycatch reduction device (BRD) technical developments; proposed revision of BRD certification rule; report on Shrimp Summit meeting; and Draft Shrimp Amendment 13/SEIS. From 3:30 - 5:30 p.m., the Ecosystem Management Committee will meet and presentations on the NOAA Fisheries’ ecosystem management will be given. There will also be a presentation on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) approach to ecosystem management.

On Tuesday, October 12, 2004 the Data Collection Committee will meet from 8:00 - 9:30 a.m. to hear a presentation of the recreational data needs and data collection. The Habitat Protection Committee will meet from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. to review a Preliminary Public Hearing Draft of Generic Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Amendment and a report on NOAA Fisheries’ Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Facilities Workshop. The Reef Fish Management Committee will meet from 11:00 - 12:00 noon and from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. There will be a review of the Final Reef Fish Amendment 23 for rebuilding vermilion snapper; an Options Paper for Reef Fish 18A pertaining to the grouper fishery; scoping comments on Red Snapper IFQ Profile; and public testimony on grouper quota and trip limits.

The Highly Migratory Species Committee will meet Wednesday, October 13 from 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. to suggest changes to the NOAA Fisheries HMS/Billfish Amendments. From 10:30 - 1:00 p.m. the Sustainable Fisheries Committee will suggest changes to the draft proposed guidelines for National Standard One. The Coral Management Committee will meet from 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. to review the Oceana petition for rulemaking on deep-water coral and draft a Council letter commenting on it. There will be a Joint Advisory Panel (AP)/Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) selection Committee in a Closed Session from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. to discuss the appointment of 2 persons to the Ad Hoc Red Snapper AP and appointment of members to the Ad Hoc Ecosystem SSC.

Beginning at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, October 14, 2004 the Council will hear public testimony on Reef Fish Amendment 23 (Vermilion snapper Rebuilding Program) and exempted fishing permits, if any. Persons wishing to testify must register before the start of the testimony period.

The Council will act on committee recommendations on Thursday and Friday morning. The meeting is scheduled to conclude at 10:45 a.m. on Friday.

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 October 4, 2004.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils that were established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council prepares fishery management plans that are designed to manage fishery resources in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. This news release, and other Council news releases, can be viewed at the Council’s 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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