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News Release                                                                              Contact:  Wayne Swingle

                   Release:  Immediate                                                                                  813-348-1630


Gulf Council to Convene its Regularly Scheduled Meeting November 14 – 17, 2005, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida


Tampa, Florida – October 21, 2005 - The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will meet November 14-17, 2005 at the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort, 1500 Miracle Strip Parkway Southeast, Fort Walton Beach, FL  32548.  Public testimony is scheduled for Wednesday, November 16, 2005 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  Comments will be accepted on the following issues:


Reef Fish Amendment 26 - Red Snapper Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ)

Red Grouper Regulatory Amendment (Recreational)

Exempted Fishing Permits (if any) 


Copies of documents pertaining to any of these issues are available by calling or E-mailing the Council. Anyone wishing to testify before the Council must register prior to the start of the scheduled public comment period.

Beginning Monday, November 14 at 10:00 a.m., the Council will hear a presentation regarding NOAA Fishery Capacity.  At 10:30 the Joint Reef Fish/Mackerel/Red Drum Committee will meet to discuss the aquaculture amendment alternatives. Later that afternoon, at 1:30, the Reef Fish Management Committee will convene to review public hearing summaries and public letters regarding Reef Fish Amendment 26 for a Red Snapper IFQ program.  The Ad Hoc Red Snapper Advisory Panel and the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) will present recommendations regarding the IFQ program, which will be followed by committee discussion and recommendations.  Also on the committee’s agenda are discussions regarding the recreational sector Draft Red Grouper Regulatory Amendment and a report on the industry business plan for a longline buy-back program. 

Tuesday’s agenda includes a meeting of the Joint Reef Fish/Shrimp Management Committee, who will evaluate and refine the scoping document for Reef Fish Amendment 27/Shrimp Amendment 14.  An options paper for the Red Snapper Regulatory Amendment to set total allowable catch and management measures will be presented by staff and the committee will discuss management scenarios and recommendations made by the SSC.  Finally, staff will present the Draft Regulatory Amendment Addressing Bycatch Reduction Device (BRD) Certification. That committee will convene at 8:30 a.m.

The Sustainable Fisheries/Ecosystem Committee will convene from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to hear reports on the previously held Ecosystem Workshops, the preparation of the Ecosystem Amendment, and the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the ecosystem.  At 4:30, the law Enforcement Committee will meet to review the Operations Plan for 2006, as well as issues that arose during the October Law Enforcement Advisory Panel (LEAP) meeting.

On Wednesday, November 16, prior to public comment, Council Chair Robin Riechers will nominate Council members for committee assignments, as part of the Council’s annual reorganization. Those nominations will be confirmed by the full council.  Beginning Wednesday afternoon at 1:30, and continuing through to Friday, the Council will act on committee recommendations established earlier in the week.

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. 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 five days prior to the meeting.

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.

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