This is a publication of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Award No. NA05NMF4410003.

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RELEASE: AS APPROPRIATE
CONTACT:  ASSANE DIAGNE - 813.228.2815

FISHERY COUNCIL TO CONVENE SOCIOECONOMIC PANEL

Tampa, Florida - February 1, 2005 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene its Socioeconomic Panel (SEP) to review "Draft Amendment 13 for Shrimp", "Draft Amendment 18A for Reef Fish", and "Draft Amendment 26 for Red Snapper." The shrimp amendment considers several issues including the establishment of a moratorium on the issuance of commercial shrimp vessel permits and the requirement of separate vessel permits for the royal red shrimp fishery. The reef fish amendment reviews effort capacity control measures, enforcement and monitoring issues in the reef fish fishery. The red snapper amendment considers the establishment of an individual fishing quota (IFQ) for the commercial red snapper fishery. In addition, the SEP will discuss potential grouper trip limits and buyback programs.

The SEP meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 24, 2005 and conclude by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, February 25, 2005. The meeting will be held at the Four Points Sheraton New Orleans Airport, 6401 Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Metairie, Louisiana. The SEP will prepare a report containing their conclusions and recommendations. This report will be presented to the Council at its meeting on March 7-10, 2005 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Comprising the SEP membership are economists, sociologists, and anthropologists from various universities and state fishery agencies throughout the Gulf. They advise the Council on the social and economic implications of certain fishery management measures.

A copy of the agenda can be obtained by calling 813-228-2815. Although other non-emergency issues not on the agendas may come before the SEP 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 SEP 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 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 February 14, 2005. 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, as amended. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council prepares fishery management plans that are designed to manage fishery resources to the 200-mile limit in 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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