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: WAYNE E. SWINGLE - 813.228.2815

COUNCIL TO TAKE FINAL ACTION ON REEF FISH AMENDMENT 18A AND GENERIC AMENDMENT FOR EXTENDING THE CHARTER VESSEL PERMIT MORATORIUM, AND WILL HEAR PUBLIC TESTIMONY ON MANAGEMENT OF RED GROUPER

Tampa, Florida - June 17, 2005 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will meet July 11 - 15, 2005 at the DiamondHead Beach Resort, 2000 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, Florida 33931. The Councilís Committees will meet Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The Council session will begin at 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday. Public testimony on a regulatory amendment for management of the red grouper stock is scheduled from 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Public testimony is scheduled on Thursday morning from 8:40 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for (a) the Red Grouper Regulatory Amendment (if any), (b) Reef Fish Amendment 18A, (c) the Generic Amendment for the Charter Vessel Permit Moratorium Extension and (d) Exempted Fishing Permits (if any). The Council agenda will be continued whenever the public testimony sessions are completed. Persons who wish to testify before the Council must register before the start of the testimony period. Copies of these documents are available by calling or e-mailing the Council.

The Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) Selection Committee will meet in closed session to appoint applicants to the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, July 11, 2005. The Advisory Panel (AP) Selection Committee will meet Monday beginning at 8:45 a.m. to develop the structure of the membership of an Ad Hoc Grouper Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Advisory Panel (AP). The members of the AP will be appointed at a subsequent meeting. The Coral Management Committee will meet beginning at 10:00 a.m. Monday to consider the recommendations of the Coral SSC on coral reef research and other matters. The Budget/Personnel Committee will meet Monday beginning at 10:45 a.m. to consider options recommended by staff under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for inclusion in the Councilís Statement of Organization Practices and Procedures (SOPPs).

The Reef Fish Management Committee will meet Monday from 1:00 to 5:30 p.m. and Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The Committee will review the new red snapper stock assessment conducted under the SouthEast Data, Assessment and Review (SEDAR) process which yields a peer-reviewed assessment. They will also review the recommendations of the SSC, Socioeconomic Panel (SEP) and Red Snapper AP on this assessment.

The Reef Fish Management Committee will review Draft Reef Fish Amendment 26 for a red snapper IFQ program and select their preferred alternatives for management measures for public hearings. The Committee will take final action on Reef Fish Amendment 18A which provides management measures for the grouper fishery. The Committee will consider the public recommendations for public hearings, letters and testimony in reaching their decisions. The will also consider the recommendations of the SSC, AP and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

The Committee will consider public recommendations on management of red grouper from public hearings, letters and testimony and will select preferred management alternatives for a regulatory amendment that will be presented for public testimony in September.

The Shrimp Management Committee will meet from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday. The Committee will consider changes to the protocol for approving bycatch reduction devices (BRDs), hear reports on status of shrimp stocks, and review a preliminary scoping document, selecting future management alternatives.

The Sustainable Fisheries/Ecosystem Committee will meet Tuesday from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. to consider the recommendations of the Ecosystem SSC and to develop recommendations to Congress on amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation & Management Act (M-SFCMA).

A joint meeting of the Reef Fish Management and Mackerel Management Committees will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday to take final action on a generic amendment for extending the moratorium on issuance of charter vessel and headboat permits. The Committees will consider public recommendations from public hearings, letters and testimony and recommendations of the Charter Boat AP and the SSC.

The Council will act on the Committee recommendations on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 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 (M-SFCMA), 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 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 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 June 27, 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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