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Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting

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National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.


Notice of public meeting.


The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene a joint public meeting via conference call of the Standing and Special Reef Fish Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC).


The meeting will be via conference call on July 10, 2003, beginning at 10 a.m. EDT.


Listening stations will be available at the following locations:

National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 9721 Executive Center Drive, North, St. Petersburg, FL 33702, Contact: Peter Hood at 727-570-5305;

National Marine Fisheries Service, Panama City Laboratory, 3500 Delwood Beach Road, Panama City, FL,; Contact: Gary Fitzhugh at 850-234-6541, extension 214.

Council address: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 3018 U.S. Highway 301 North, Suite 1000, Tampa, FL 33619.

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Steven Atran, Population Dynamics Statistician, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; telephone: 813-228-2815.

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The SSC will be convened to review and comment on a proposed Amendment 21 to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to extend the time period for the Madison/Swanson and Steamboat Lumps marine reserves beyond their June 16, 2004 expiration date.

The Madison/Swanson and Steamboat Lumps marine reserves were implemented on June 19, 2000 with a 4-year sunset provision. The Madison/Swanson site is approximately 115 square nautical miles in size and is located about 40 nautical miles southwest of Apalachicola City, FL. Steamboat Lumps is approximately 104 square nautical miles in size and is located about 95 nautical miles west of Tarpon Springs, FL. Within each area, fishing is prohibited for all species except for highly migratory species, i.e., tunas, marlin, oceanic sharks, sailfishes, and swordfish. These marine reserves were created primarily to protect a portion of the gag spawning aggregations and to protect a portion of the offshore population of male gag. The areas are also suitable habitat and provide protection for many other species, such as scamp, red grouper, warsaw grouper, speckled hind, red snapper, red porgy, and others. If action is not taken to continue the reserves, they will cease to exist after June 16, 2004.

A copy of the agenda can be obtained by contacting the Council (see ADDRESSES).

Although non-emergency issues not contained in the agenda may come before the SSC for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305 (c) of the MSFCMA, provided the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take final action to address the emergency.

The listening stations are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Anne Alford at the Council (see ADDRESSES) by July 3, 2003.

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Dated: June 20, 2003.

Richard W. Surdi,

Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-16088 Filed 6-24-03; 8:45 am]