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ASMFC UPDATES ON KEY SPECIES

At the Winter Meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in Virginia, management issues pertaining to such key species as striped bass, black sea bass and fluke were addressed.
By Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission  |  February 8, 2015
ASMFC UPDATES ON KEY SPECIES

Recreational Regional Management for 2015 & Approves State Plans for 2015 Recreational Black Sea Bass & Scup Fisheries

The Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board approved Addendum XXVI to the Summer Flounder and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan, continuing adaptive regional management for the 2015 recreational summer flounder fisheries. The approved regions are Massachusetts; Rhode Island; Connecticut through New Jersey; Delaware through Virginia; and North Carolina. The Addendum provides the option for the Board to extend the adaptive regional management approach into 2016 through Board action.

Addendum XXVI was initiated to consider a continuation of regional management approved in Addendum XXV. Both addenda address concern that summer flounder management measures under state‐by‐state conservation equivalency were not providing recreational fishermen along the coast with equitable harvest opportunities to the resource. The adaptive regional management approach is designed to respond to changes in resource availability and effort in the fishery. The Board decided to continue 2014 management measures for the 2015 fishing season.

For black sea bass, the Board approved the methodologies used by the states of Massachusetts through New Jersey to establish their minimum size, bag limits, and season lengths to achieve a 33% reduction in the 2015 recreational harvest levels from the 2014 harvest level. The 33% reduction is required in order to achieve but not exceed that 2015 recreational harvest limit.

For scup, the Board approved the maintenance of 2014 recreational management measures for the 2015 fishing season, with the exception of Connecticut which will increase its size and possession limit to be consistent with the other states’ private and for‐hire fisheries. States will finalize their regulations over the next couple of weeks for the recreational summer flounder, black sea bass, and scup fisheries.

Addendum XXVI will be available on the Commission website by the end of February. For more information, please contact Kirby Rootes Murdy, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at krootesmurdy@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

MOTIONS:
Move to approve Option 2 under Section 3.1.1 Timeframe for Summer Flounder Measures.
Motion made by Mr. Simpson and seconded by Mr. Gilmore. Motion carries.
Move to approve Addendum XXVI as modified today.
Motion made by Mr. Adler and seconded by Mr. Hasbrouck. Motion passes (Roll Call: In favor – MA, RI, CT, NY, DE, MD, PRFC, VA, NC; Opposed – NJ; Abstentions – USFWS, NMFS).
Move to approve the black sea bass proposals and methodologies for use in 2015 management as approved by the technical committee.
Motion made by Mr. Simpson and seconded by Mr. Adler. Motion carries (Roll Call: In favor – ME, NH, MA, RI, CT, DE, MD, PRFC, VA, NC; Opposed – NJ; Abstentions – NY, USFWS, NMFS).
Move to approve Connecticut’s reduction in minimum size (10”) and increase in bag limit to 30 fish to be consistent with the states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York for 2015.
Motion made by Mr. Simpson and seconded by Mr. Gilmore. Roll call vote; motion carries without objection.

ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Board Approves State Implementation Plans to Reduce Harvest

The Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board approved Addendum IV implementation plans and conservation equivalency proposals for all the states and jurisdictions. The implementation plans, which were reviewed and approved by the Technical Committee, contain statespecific management options that achieve a 25% reduction in harvest from 2013 levels for the coastal fishery and 20.5% reduction in harvest from 2012 levels for the Chesapeake Bay fishery. Given the wide range of options being considered, the Board recommended neighboring states and jurisdictions work together to implement consistent management measures, especially on shared water bodies. This recommendation was also supported by the Commission’s Law Enforcement Committee. Additionally, the Board reminded states there is greater certainty in the percent reductions of simple management measures (i.e., changes in bag or size limits) relative to more complex measures (e.g., slot/trophy fish and mode‐specific options).

The Board also tasked the Technical Committee with expanding the exploration of stock specific reference points to include the other producer areas, such as the Delaware Bay and the Hudson River stocks, in addition to the Chesapeake Bay. The Board will review progress on the stock specific reference points at its Spring Meeting in May.

States and jurisdictions must have final measures for implementing Addendum IV in place by the beginning of their 2015 fishing seasons. For more information, please contact Mike Waine, Senior Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at mwaine@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

MOTIONS:
Main Motion
Move to approve all state implementation plans including any conservation equivalency proposals for both Recreational and Commercial fisheries submitted to and approved by the Technical Committee for the states and jurisdictions of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Potomac River Fisheries Commission, Virginia, and North Carolina.
Motion made by Mr. White and seconded by Mr. Fote. Motion amended.
Motion to Amend
Move to amend the motion to include an additional option for Maryland and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission for a spring trophy fishery, pending approval by the TC, of one fish at 28‐36” or one fish over 40”.
Motion made by Mr. O’Connell and seconded by Mr. Gary. Motion carries unanimously.
Main Motion as Amended
Move to approve all state implementation plans including any conservation equivalency proposals for both Recreational and Commercial fisheries submitted to and approved by the Technical Committee for the states and jurisdictions of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Potomac River Fisheries Commission, Virginia, and North Carolina and to include an additional option for Maryland and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission for a spring trophy fishery, pending approval by the TC, of one fish at 28‐36” or one fish over 40”.
Roll call vote; motion passes unanimously.

For a complete look at the Winter Meeting summary, please visit ASMFC.org.

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