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

Gulf Council logoNEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: AS APPROPRIATE
CONTACT: STEVEN ATRAN

REEF FISH ADVISORY PANEL TO MEET TO REVIEW REEF FISH AMENDMENT 18A

Tampa, Florida - June 6, 2005 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene the Reef Fish Advisory Panel (AP) to review the Draft Amendment 18A to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico: Reef Fish Amendment 18A deals with enforcement and monitoring issues, including simultaneous commercial and recreational harvest on a vessel (to improve enforceability of prohibition on sale of recreationally caught reef fish), maximum crew size on a Coast Guard inspected vessel when fishing commercially (to resolve a conflict between NMFS maximum crew size and USCG minimum crew size regulations), use of reef fish for bait, and vessel monitoring system (VMS) requirements on commercial reef fish vessels. Amendment 18A also addresses administrative changes to the framework procedure for setting total allowable catch (TAC) of reef fish, and measures to reduce bycatch and bycatch mortality of endangered sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish taken inadvertently in the commercial and charter/headboat reef fish fishery.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 28, 2005, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Doubletree Westshore Hotel, 4500 West Cypress Street, Tampa, Florida 33607, 813-879-4800.

Although other non-emergency issues not on the agenda may come before the AP for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (M-SFCMA), those issues may not be the subject of formal action during these meetings. Actions of the AP will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in the agenda and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under Section 305(c) of the M-SFCMA, 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 Amendment and related materials can be obtained by calling the Council office at 813.228.2815. The meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Dawn Aring at the Council by June 21, 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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