MA Angler Input Sought on 2 Fisheries Issues

Striped Bass, photo/New England Boating
Striped Bass, photo/New England Boating

Recreational fishermen in Massachusetts are invited to offer their comments and suggestions on 2 important fishing issues.

ONE: Striped Bass Management Measures in 2015

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission – which coordinates management of shared fisheries resources along the Atlantic Coast – is accepting public comment on proposed revisions to the interstate management plan for Atlantic striped bass. Draft Addendum IV proposes reducing fishing mortality because even though overfishing is not occurring, spawning stock biomass has been steadily declining below the target level since 2006 and is projected to fall below the threshold level due to a series of years with poor juvenile production. While recreational harvest of striped bass in Massachusetts has not changed appreciably with the decline in the stock, recreational catch (including both harvested and released fish) has fallen by roughly 75% since 2006. In response, the draft addendum offers a range of management options to reduce both commercial and recreational harvest throughout the striped bass’ range beginning in 2015. Specific options under consideration include various bag and size limit combinations for the recreational fishery and quota reductions for the commercial fishery. Please read the addendum for more information.

Draft Addendum IV is available here or through the Commission’s website, www.asmfc.org, under “Breaking News”. The document includes instructions for submitting written public comment through the comment deadline of September 30. There will also be four public hearings in Massachusetts on the Draft Addendum during the first week of September. Details on the hearings are available here or through MarineFisheries website, www.mass.gov/marinefisheries, under “Marine Fisheries Notices.”

TWO: National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy

NOAA Fisheries (www.nmfs.noaa.gov) is developing a national policy on saltwater recreational fisheries to outline a set of principles to guide the agency’s management actions and decisions over the long term. The new policy will make clear the values NOAA Fisheries will keep in mind when implementing the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the legislation that governs fisheries management in federal waters. The policy will also serve as the underpinning to the agency’s recreational fishing Action Agenda.

NOAA Fisheries would like to know your thoughts on what should be in the policy. Comments will be accepted through September 12. Click here for more information, including how to submit comments.