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    CONTACT:    CHARLENE PONCE - 813.348.1630






Tampa, Florida ‑ September 30, 2005 ‑ The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) has canceled the October 27, 2005 public hearing scheduled to solicit comments on draft Amendment 26 to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), as well as the scoping meeting on Amendment 14 to the Shrimp FMP/Amendment 27 to the Reef Fish FMP.  The meetings, originally scheduled to take place in Lake Charles, Louisiana, have been cancelled due to insufficient hotel room availability in Louisiana as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  The public hearing and scoping meeting were one in a series of four scheduled for the week of October 24.  Lake Charles is the only cancellation. 


Draft Amendment 26 to the Reef Fish FMP contains alternatives to establish an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for the commercial red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico that has been declared to be overfished and undergoing overfishing.  The IFQ program is being considered to address existing and emerging problems resulting from overcapitalization in this fishery while it recovers.  Actions being considered as part of the IFQ program include: its duration, eligibility for shares, initial allocation of shares, potential caps and/or restrictions on shares, and transferability of shares. 


Scoping meetings are being held to receive comments on possible ways to reduce bycatch in the directed reef fish fishery and ways to further reduce bycatch in the shrimp fishery, particularly of red snapper.  Other topics for scoping comments include: ways to further reduce effort in the shrimp fishery as needed; possibly requiring Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMSs) on permitted shrimp vessels in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Gulf; and possible limits on transferability of federal shrimp vessel permits.  The Council is soliciting public comment on these issues through these scoping meetings and by mail, e‑mail, or facsimile. 


All written comments must be received by the Council on or before November 10, 2005.  Copies of both documents can be obtained by calling the Council at 813.348.1630 or by e‑mail at


The other public hearings/scoping meetings previously scheduled will remain unchanged and are listed below.  Meetings will begin at 6 p.m. and conclude no later than 10 p.m.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Double Tree Grand Key Resort

3990 South Roosevelt Boulevard

Key West, Florida  33040



Monday, October 17, 2005

National Marine Fisheries Service Laboratory

3500 Delwood Beach Road

Panama City, Florida  32408


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hilton Garden Inn Orange Beach

23092 Perdido Beach Boulevard

Orange Beach, Alabama  36561



Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tampa Marriott Westshore

1001 North Westshore Boulevard

Tampa, Florida  33607



Monday, October 24, 2005

Four Points by Sheraton

3777 North Expressway

Brownsville, Texas 78520



Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Univ. of TX Marine Science Institute Auditorium

750 Channel View Drive

Port Aransas, Texas 78373



Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Holiday Inn Galveston

5002 Seawall Boulevard

Galveston, Texas 77550



Meetings are open to the public and are physically accessible to people with disabilities.  Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Council office within five business days of the meeting date.


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 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  In addition, Council press releases may be received via e‑mail by sending a blank e‑mail message to with SUBSCRIBE as the subject.