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: WAYNE E. SWINGLE - 813.228.2815

COUNCIL TO TAKE FINAL ACTION ON SHRIMP AMENDMENT 13/EA - CORRECTED

Tampa, Florida - February 18, 2005 (corrected 2/24/05) - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will meet March 7 - 10, 2005 at The Wynfrey Hotel, 1000 Riverchase Galleria, Birmingham, Alabama. The Councilís Committees will meet Monday and Tuesday. The Council session will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday with public testimony on Final Shrimp Amendment 13/EA and Exempted Fishing Permits (if any). Persons who wish to testify before the Council must register before the start of the testimony period. Shrimp Amendment 13/EA proposes to: (1) Establish a separate vessel permit for the royal red shrimp fishery or an endorsement to the existing federal shrimp vessel permit (Action 1); (2) Define (maximum sustainable yield (MSY), optimum yield (OY), the overfishing threshold, and the overfished condition for royal red and penaeid shrimp stocks in the Gulf (Actions 2 through 7); (3) Establish bycatch reporting methodologies and improve collection of shrimping effort data in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) (Action 8); (4) Require completion of a Gulf Shrimp Vessel and Gear Characterization Form (Action 9); (5) Establish a moratorium on the issuance of commercial shrimp vessel permits (Action 10); and (6) Require reporting and certification of landings during a moratorium (Action 11). Copies of this document are available by calling or e-mailing the Council.

The meeting will begin on Monday, March 7, 2005 with a closed session of the Advisory Panel (AP) Selection Committee at 8:30 a.m. to consider applicants for appointment to the APs, followed by a closed session of the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) Selection Committee beginning at approximately 10:00 a.m. to consider applicants for appointment to the SSCs.

The Reef Fish Management Committee will meet from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 7, 2005. The Committee will review Draft Reef Fish Amendment 18A addressing the grouper fishery and a revised draft of a red grouper regulatory amendment providing for commercial vessel trip limits and a revised total allowable catch (TAC). The Committee will then discuss an Options Paper for Reef Fish Amendment 26 (Red Snapper IFQ). The Committee will also review a biological opinion on the effect of the Gulf reef fish fishery, proposed by NMFS, under the Endangered Species Act. The Committee will discuss updated greater amberjack analyses and alternatives for reducing greater amberjack landings.

A joint meeting of the Reef Fish, Mackerel and Red Drum Management Committees will be held on Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. to review an Options Paper for Generic Offshore Aquaculture Amendment. The Committees will then hear a status report on a Draft Generic Amendment for Extension of the Charter Vessel Permit Moratorium. The Committee will also discuss SEDAR Assessments for 2009 & 2010 and hear SEDAR Assessment Updates. Afterwards, the Administrative Policy Committee to hear cost and budget analyses for video/teleconferencing of future public hearings. The Committee will also hear a proposal on Intranet use at meetings and discuss adoption of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) standards.

The Migratory Species Committee will then meet to review scoping comments on Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Amendment 2 and hear a presentation on a regional meeting on bluefin tuna management. The Sustainable Fisheries/Ecosystem Committee will hear a report on the Ecosystem Scientific Meeting and review plans for tasks to be completed under the Ecosystem Cooperative Agreement.

The Shrimp Management Committee will meet jointly with the Standing and Special Shrimp SSCs to review the SEP report and public comments on Shrimp Amendment 13 and make recommendations to Council. The Shrimp Management Committee will then discuss Shrimp Amendment 14.

The Council will act on the Committee recommendations on Wednesday and Thursday morning.

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 timely completion of discussions relevant to the 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 February 23, 2005.

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 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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