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 813.228.2815

COUNCIL TO SELECT PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE FOR A RED SNAPPER IFQ PROGRAM AND TO REVIEW THE SHRIMP INDUSTRY BUSINESS PLAN

Tampa, Florida - October 18, 2004 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold its November 7 - 10, 2004 meeting at the Sheraton Hotel, 310 Padre Boulevard, South Padre Island, Texas. The Council meeting will begin on Sunday, November 7, 2004 at 9:00 a.m. with the Mackerel Management Committee. This committee will review public hearing and Advisory Panel (AP)/Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) comments on Draft Coastal Migratory Pelagics (CMP) Amendment 15 which proposes a permanent limited access system on commercial mackerel vessel permits. The Committee’s recommendations on this limited access system will subsequently be considered by the Council and then the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC). The Law Enforcement Committee will meet from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. to review and approve a 5-year Strategic Plan and an Operation Plan for 2005 that was drafted by the Council’s Law Enforcement Advisory Panel (LEAP). The LEAP consists of federal and state law enforcement officials from the Gulf States, NOAA, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A joint meeting of the Council Management Committees for Reef Fish and Mackerel will meet from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon to review a Mississippi Fishing Banks Special Management Zone Request.

The Reef Fish Management Committee will meet from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Committee will consider the recommendations of an Ad Hoc Red Snapper Advisory Panel who reviewed the public scoping comments and selected their preferred alternatives for the structure of a Red Snapper Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) program. The Committee will develop its recommendations to the Council on the preferred alternatives for rules regulating the IFQ program. The Committee will also review an Options Paper for Reef Fish Amendment 18A, which contains alternatives for regulating effort in the commercial grouper fishery and requirements for vessel monitoring systems (VMS). The Committee will also review Draft Reef Fish Amendment 24 with public hearing and AP/SSC comments, which proposes a permanent limited access system on commercial reef fish vessel permits. The Reef Fish Management Committee will be reconvened from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. on Monday to complete its work.

The Shrimp Management Committee will be convened from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Monday. Its principal action will be the review of a Business Plan for the Gulf Shrimp Industry that was drafted by NOAA Fisheries and which contains management alternatives that NOAA Fisheries believes are necessary for the industry to survive the economic slump caused by importation of foreign shrimp. The Committee will make its recommendations to the Council on management alternatives that should be implemented to begin reversing this adverse economic trend. The Committee will also hear a report by NOAA Fisheries enforcement on a sea turtle management strategy.

The Habitat Protection Committee will meet from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. to review and recommend a public hearing draft of a Generic Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Amendment to the Council for approval. The Committee will review recommendations of the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) on cooperative state and federal management of aquatic resources. A joint meeting of the Council Management Committees for Reef Fish, Mackerel and Red Drum will meet from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. These committees will review the first draft of an Options Paper for a Generic Amendment for Regulating Offshore Aquaculture. This options paper has been drafted by the Council’s Ad Hoc Aquaculture Advisory Panel. The committees will recommend changes in the options paper to the Council, which will provide the document to

a NMFS/NOAA/Council Interdisciplinary Project Team who will develop the draft amendment/SEIS. A status report on the Amendment to Extend the Charter Vessel Permit Moratorium will be presented to the Committees. The Data Collection Committee will meet from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. to review the fishery community socioeconomic studies being carried out by

NOAA Fisheries. The Administrative Policy Committee will meet from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. to discuss options for consolidating committees.

The Council will act on committee recommendations on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. The meeting is scheduled to conclude at noon on Wednesday. Beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 9, 2004, the Council will hear public testimony on exempted fishing permits, if any. Persons wishing to testify must register before the start of the testimony period.

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 27, 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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