Gulf Council to Meet In New Orleans August 20-23

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet August 20 – 23, 2012, at the Astor Crowne Plaza, 739 Canal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. The Council Committees will begin meeting Monday at 1:00 p.m. and will meet through 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The full Council will convene at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and is expected to adjourn by 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Agenda highlights are summarized below. For a copy of the detailed agenda or to review briefing book materials, please visit the Council web site at or call 888-833-1844.

The meeting will open Monday with the Ad Hoc Restoration Committee, which will receive a presentation on current restoration projects, research, and activities. The Data Collection Committee will then meet to discuss the final draft of a generic amendment that considers changes to dealer permits and reporting requirements. The Committee will also discuss electronic reporting for headboats and the for-hire industry.

The Shrimp Management Committee will review a white paper on funding options for the electronic logbook program, and the Law Enforcement Committee will hear a report from the recent Law Enforcement Advisory Panel meeting.

Monday will close with the Budget/Personnel Committee, which will discuss the selection process for the Executive Director position.

On Tuesday, the Reef Fish Management Committee will meet to receive a presentation by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on state boundary extension and pilot program. The Committee will also review:
Scoping document for Reef Fish Amendment 28 – Sector Allocations Options paper for a Framework Action on Vermilion Snapper Annual Catch Limits Comments on Amendment 33 – Reef Fish Limited Access Privilege Program Public hearing draft for Reef Fish Amendment 37 – Gray Triggerfish Rebuilding Plan Public hearing draft of a Framework Action for the 2013 Gag Season, a potential split season, and possibly eliminating the February – March shallow-water grouper closure Final Reef Fish Amendment 38 – Revise Post-Season Recreational Accountability Measures for Shallow-Water Grouper and revision to the Generic Framework procedure Discussion on Exempted Fishing Permits related to reef fish (if any) Immediately following the Committee recess Tuesday, the Council and NOAA Fisheries will hold an informal Question and Answer session on general fishery management issues.

The Joint Artificial Reef/Habitat Committees will convene Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m., after a Closed Session, to discuss an Options Paper for Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 4 – Designating Petroleum Platforms and Artificial Reefs as Essential Fish Habitat.

The full Council will convene Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. beginning with the induction of new Council members, followed by Committee Reports for Ad Hoc Restoration, Shrimp, Law Enforcement, and Budget/Personnel.

Beginning at 1:15, the Council will take public comment on the following:

Final Reef Fish Amendment 38 – Revise Post-Season Recreational Accountability Measures for Shallow-Water Grouper & Revision to the Generic Framework Procedure Final Generic Amendment for Dealer Permits and Reporting Amendment 33 for Adding Additional Reef Fish to the Limited Access Privilege Program Exempted fishing permits (if any) The Council will also hold an open public comment session to give members of the public an opportunity to address the Council on fishery issues that may not be on the agenda. Open public comment will be taken immediately following public testimony until 5:30 p.m. Comment cards must be completed before the start of public testimony.

Beginning Thursday at 8:30 a.m., the Council will deliberate and take action on committee recommendations made earlier in the week. The meeting will conclude with officer elections.

Although other non-emergency issues not on the agenda may come before the Council and Committees for discussion, in accordance with the M-SFCMA, those issues may not be the subjects of formal action. Actions of the Council and Committees will be restricted to 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 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 Kathy Pereira at the Council office at least five days prior to the meeting.

About Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Council prepares fishery management plans, which are designed to manage fishery resources within the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.