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 - 813.348.1630

GULF COUNCIL WILL CONVENE TO RECEIVE PUBLIC TESTIMONY ON REEF FISH AMENDMENT 18A; THE RED GROUPER REGULATORY AMENDMENT; AND EXEMPTED FISHING PERMITS (IF ANY).

Tampa, Florida - August 23, 2005 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will meet September 12 -16, 2005 at the Wyndham Bourbon Orleans Hotel, 717 Orleans Street, New Orleans, LA 70116. Public testimony is scheduled on Wednesday, September 14, 2005 from 1:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on: (a) Final Reef Fish Amendment 18A, (b) Final Red Grouper Regulatory Amendment and (c) 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.

On Monday, September 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon, the Reef Fish Management Committee will review a final version of Reef Fish Amendment 18A/EA and then make recommendations to the Council on submitting it to NMFS for implementation. Next, the Committee will review the Public Hearing Draft of Reef Fish Amendment 26 for a Red Snapper IFQ program and may modify their preferred alternatives for management measures for public hearings. The Committee will then review the Final Red Grouper Regulatory Amendment, public hearing comments and letters, and make recommendations to the Council for adoption.

The Joint Reef Fish/Shrimp Management Committees will convene from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to review red snapper management scenarios based on the data provided by the new red snapper stock assessment conducted under the Southeast Data Assessment and Review ( SEDAR). Then the Committees will review a scoping document for a regulatory amendment on BRD (bycatch reduction device) certification criterion and certification of new bycatch reduction devices (BRDs). Next the Committees will review a scoping document for a joint Reef Fish/Shrimp Amendment targeted at reducing trawl bycatch, bycatch in the directed fishery, and effort limitation alternatives for the shrimp fishery.

On Tuesday, September 13, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., the Joint Reef Fish/Shrimp Committees will reconvene to complete their work. From 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. the Budget/Personnel Committee will meet to review the Council's CY 2006 Operating Budget. From 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. the Migratory Species Management Committee will hear a presentation on a proposed HMS amendment.

On Wednesday, September 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. the Administrative Policy Committee will meet to review the current SSC Operations. They will also discuss the possibility of holding a Joint SSC/Council meeting and a Joint AP/Council meeting. The Committee will then consider a two-year term for the Council Chair and

Vice-Chair, and then discuss the pros and cons of limiting Council meetings to four or five per year.

The Council will act on the Committee recommendations on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. At the end of the Council meeting a new Chair and Vice-Chair will be elected.

Although other non-emergency issues not on the agenda 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 discussion 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.

These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Dawn Aring at the Council (see ADDRESSES) by September 1, 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. The 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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