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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 a public meeting.


The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene its Law Enforcement Advisory Panel (LEAP).


The meeting will be held on Monday, March 13, 2006, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.


The meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Downtown/Market Square, 318 W. Durango Boulevard, San Antonio, TX.

Council address: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 2203 North Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, Tampa, FL 33607.

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Dr. Richard Leard, Deputy Executive Director, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; telephone: (813) 348-1630.

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The Council will convene the LEAP to review an Options Paper for Joint Amendment 27 to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan (FMP)/Amendment 14 to the Shrimp FMP. This amendment contains alternatives to regulate the harvest and bycatch of red snapper by both the directed commercial and recreational fisheries and the shrimp fishery in the Gulf of Mexico. The need for this amendment arose from the Southeast Data, Assessment and Review (SEDAR) process through which a recent stock assessment showed that the red snapper stock in the Gulf was overfished and overfishing was continuing.

In addition, the LEAP will discuss the Automated Identification System that will soon be required of many fishing vessels in the Gulf. The LEAP will review a discussion paper that may ultimately be used as the basis for developing Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) programs for the grouper and potentially other commercial reef fish fishing operations in the Gulf. Finally, the LEAP will review the status of various FMP amendments and other regulatory actions and report on the various activities of participating organizations.

The LEAP consists of principal law enforcement officers in each of the Gulf States, as well as the NMFS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the U.S. Coast Guard, and the NOAA General Counsel. A copy of the agenda and related materials can be obtained by calling the Council office at (813) 348-1630.

Although other non-emergency issues not on the agendas may come before the LEAP for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Actions of the LEAP 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 Magnuson-Stevens Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take action to address the emergency.

Special Accommodations

This meeting is 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) at least 5 working days prior to the meeting.

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Dated: February 22, 2006.

Helen Troupos,

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

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[FR Doc. E6-2778 Filed 2-27-06; 8:45 am]