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: DR. RICHARD LEARD - 813.228.2815

FISHERY COUNCIL TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING ON GENERIC AMENDMENT FOR ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT

Tampa, Florida - December 10, 2004 - Following the judicial decision in American Oceans Campaign v. Daley (Civil Action No. 99-982), NOAA Fisheries and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared an "Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Generic Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Amendment to the Following Fishery Management Plans of the Gulf of Mexico: Shrimp, Red Drum, Reef fish, Stone Crab, Coral and Coral Reef in the Gulf of Mexico and Spiny Lobster and the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic." The Draft EIS analyzes within each fishery a range of potential alternatives to: (1) describe and identify essential fish habitat for each fishery; (2) identify other actions to encourage the conservation and enhancement of such EFH; and (3) identify measures to minimize to the extent practicable any adverse effects of fishing on such EFH. Based on this EIS, the Council has subsequently developed "Draft Amendment 3 for Addressing EFH Requirements, Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPCs), and Adverse Effects of Fishing in the Following Fishery Management Plans of the Gulf of Mexico: Shrimp, Red Drum, Reef fish, Stone Crab, Coral and Coral Reef in the Gulf of Mexico and Spiny Lobster and the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic." The Amendment contains proposed alternatives to further identify EFH, establish HAPCs, and to the extent practicable prevent adverse impacts of fishing activities on coral in HAPCs.

A public hearing will be held beginning at 7:00 p.m. and concluding no later than 10:00 p.m. at the following location:

Tuesday, January 4, 2005
DoubleTree Grand Key Resort
3990 South Roosevelt Boulevard
Key West, Florida 33040
Phone - 888.310.1540

Copies of the document and other related materials can be obtained by calling 813.228.2815. These hearings are open to the public and are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Council office by December 28, 2004. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is 1 of 8 regional fishery management councils that were established by the M-SFCMA of 1976. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management 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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