Comments Sought on 2016 Fluke, Scup, Sea Bass Management

Black Sea Bass Fishery is Good Business
Black Sea Bass, photo/New England Boating

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board approved Draft Addendum XXVII for public comment at the Joint Commission/Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Annapolis, Maryland earlier this month.

Draft Addendum XXVII proposes regional management approaches for the 2016 summer flounder and black sea bass recreational fisheries. The Atlantic coast states of Massachusetts through Virginia have scheduled public hearings to gather public comment. Draft Addendum XXVII was initiated to consider extending use of regional management approaches for the 2016 recreational summer flounder fishery, including an option that would allow for a Delaware Bay specific region. The Draft Addendum also includes options for extending use of ad-hoc regional management approaches for black sea bass recreational fisheries in 2016 and 2017. In the event the options in Draft Addendum XXVII are not approved for management, the Board extended the current summer flounder regional management approach for use in 2016.

In 2014, the Board approved Addendum XXV to shift away from traditional use of state-by-state harvest targets under conservation equivalency to use of an alternative regional strategy for managing summer flounder recreational fisheries. Based on its success in keeping recreational harvest within the RHL and providing greater regulatory consistency among neighboring states, this strategy was extended for use in 2015. State-by-state harvest targets previously utilized under conservation equivalency created difficulties for some states as overages occurred due largely to state shares and limits not reflecting local summer flounder abundance and its availability to recreational fishermen. In 2014 and 2015 management regions were the following: 1) Massachusetts; 2) Rhode Island; 3) Connecticut-New Jersey; 4) Delaware-Virginia; and 5) North Carolina.

The Draft Addendum also proposes 2 options for the 2016 black sea bass recreational fishery (1) coastwide measures or (2) the continued use of management measures by northern (Massachusetts – New Jersey) and southern regions (Delaware – North Carolina). The regional management approach has been used since 2011 and offers advantages over coastwide regulations by addressing geographic differences in the stock (size, abundance and seasonality) while maintaining the consistent application of management measures by neighboring states.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on Draft Addendum XXVII either by attending state public hearings (see schedule below) or providing written comment. The Draft Addendum is available HERE:

and can also be accessed on the Commission website HERE under Public Input. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. (EST) on January 21, 2016, and should be forwarded to Kirby Rootes-Murdy, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, Virginia 22201; (703) 842-0741 (fax) or at krootes-murdy@asmfc.org  (Subject line: Draft Addendum XXVII). For more information, please contact Kirby Rootes-Murdy at krootes-murdy@asmfc.org or (703) 842-0740.

Hearing Schedule

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

  • January 14, 2016 at 4:30 PM
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 101 Academy Drive, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532
  • Contact: Nichola Meserve at (617) 626-1531

Rhode Island Division of Fish & Wildlife

  • January 6, 2016 at 6 PM
  • University of Rhode Island, Corliss Auditorium, South Ferry Road, Narragansett, Rhode Island
  • Contact: Jason McNamee at (401) 423-1943

Connecticut Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection

  • January 5, 2016 at 7 PM
  • Marine Headquarters, Boating Education Center, Building 3, 333 Ferry Road, Old Lyme, Connecticut
  • Contact: David Simpson at (860) 434-6043

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