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PUBLIC HEARINGS IN SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND

Following the ASMFC meetings in early February, New England states have scheduled public hearings to gather input on 2020 regulation changes for striped bass, bluefish and other key species.
By Toby Lapinski  |  February 3, 2020
PUBLIC HEARINGS IN SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND
Remember that if you cannot make any of the meetings in person, written comment may be submitted via fax, email or snail mail.

Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts have already accepted the 28- to 35-inch slot limit for striped bass for 2020, but both Connecticut and Rhode Island (among other states) have as yet to finalize which way they’ll go. A slew of conservation equivalency measures were submitted, as well as a regional proposal between Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York, but with NY’s Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC) indicating it favors measures outside the consistent regional proposal, it’s really anyone’s guess as to where things will end up on April 1. (That’s the deadline as set for by the ASMFC back in October for all member states to enact its new 2020 striped bass regulations.)

New Jersey has its meeting scheduled for February 13.

RHODE ISLAND
The DEM Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a public hearing on Monday, February 10, 2020 at 6:00 PM. The meeting will be held at:

URI Bay Campus
Corless Auditorium, Narragansett
South Ferry Road
Narragansett, RI

The purpose of this hearing is to provide opportunity for public comment on proposed amendments to the Division of Marine Fisheries Regulations “Part 3 – Finfish”. The public notice and proposed rule, as well as additional documentation detailing the rationale for the proposed amendments, and/or additional proposals not specifically found in the proposed rule, can be found on the Sec. of State website (please go to the tab “Rulemaking Documents”). The public comment period ends on February 23, 2020.

CONNECTICUT
The CT DEEP Marine Fisheries Program is holding a Public Informational Meeting to provide information on the status of important recreational species, to provide information on planned recreational regulations for the 2020 fishing season, and to gather public input on potential 2020 regulation options for striped bass and bluefish.

The meeting will be held at 7:00 PM, Thursday, February 13, 2020, at:

CT DEEP Marine Headquarters
Boating Education Center (rear building)
333 Ferry Road
Old Lyme CT

The meeting will primarily focus on striped bass and bluefish regulations, details as to the proposed measures may be found at the DEEP website.

BLUEFISH FLUKE, PORGY & SEA BASS REALLOCATION SCOPING HEARINGS
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) have scheduled a series of scoping hearings to gather public input on the range of issues and information to be considered in the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment. Hearings will be held February 13 – March 3. Meeting details can be found here.

BLUEFISH REBUILDING & REALLOCATION SCOPING HEARINGS

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold 11 supplemental scoping hearings to gather public input for the Bluefish Allocation and Rebuilding Amendment.

The Council is developing this action in cooperation with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) in order to update the goals and objectives of the Bluefish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), perform a comprehensive review of the bluefish sector allocations, commercial allocations to the states and transfer processes, and also to initiate a bluefish rebuilding plan.

Scoping hearings will be held between February 13 and March 4, 2020. Written comments will be accepted through March 17, 2020. An initial round of scoping was conducted in the summer of 2018 to gauge public interest in the development of an amendment. Since then, recalibrated Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) estimates became available and were incorporated into the 2019 bluefish operational assessment. Meeting details can be found here.