ASMFC 2015 Summer Meeting Supplemental Materials Now Available

July 29, 2015– The following was released by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission:

Supplemental meeting materials for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s 2015 Summer Meeting have been posted at http://www.asmfc.org/home/2015-summer-meeting for the following Boards (click on “Supplemental Material” following each relevant board header to access information).

Executive Committee – Review of Commission Guidance Documents

American Lobster Management Board – Draft Proceedings from May 2015; Public Comment Summary and Submitted Public Comment on the Draft Jonah Crab Fishery Management Plan (FMP); Reports of the Law Enforcement Committee and Jonah Crab Advisory Panel on the Draft FMP; Letter from Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries; and Technical Committee Report on NMFS Observer Coverage of the American Lobster Fishery

American Eel Management Board – Revised Meeting Overview and Delaware Annual Compliance Report

Tautog Management Board – Draft Public Information Document for Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Tautog

Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board – Public Comment and Draft 2015 Fishery Management Plan Review

Atlantic Menhaden Management Board  – Atlantic Menhaden Allocation Working Group Conference Call Summary; ASMFC Press Release on Atlantic Menhaden Ecosystem Management Objectives Workshop; and Public Comment

ISFMP Policy Board – 2015 Annual Stock Performance

South Atlantic State/Federal Fisheries Management Board  – Draft Proceedings from May 2015

For ease of access, all supplemental meeting materials (with the exception of ACCSP materials) have combined into one PDF –http://www.asmfc.org/files/Meetings/Summer2015/CombinedSupplemental.pdf. As a reminder, Board/Section meeting proceedings will be broadcast daily via webinar beginning at 10:15 a.m. on August 4th and continuing daily until the conclusion of the meeting (expected to be 12:15 p.m.) on August 6th. The webinar will allow registrants to listen to board/section deliberations and view presentations and motions as they occur. No comments or questions will be accepted via the webinar. Should technical difficulties arise while streaming the broadcast, the boards/sections will continue their deliberations without interruption. We will attempt to resume the broadcast as soon as possible. To register for the webinar, please go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/453851280130891265.

 

Fishermen, environmentalists battle over red snapper

July 25, 2015 — WASHINGTON — Red snapper has become the focus of the battle between fisherman and environmentalists, and the catalyst for members of Congress, who represent Gulf Coast states, to push legislation that would allow for longer seasons and larger limits.

The fish has become the symbol of recreational fishers’ frustration with federal management.

Anglers say they are now seeing an abundance of the early maturing reef fish that can live to the age of 57.

Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., introduced a bill Thursday that would transfer management of the red snapper fishery from the federal government to five Gulf states out to nine miles from shore. Currently, state management ends at 3 miles offshore in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. (Texas and Florida state waters extend to 9 miles already).

“When I was growing up, we could fish snapper year round; this year’s recreational season was just 10 days,” Graves said. “Our state-based approach will eliminate failed federal fish management that saw only one weekend of red snapper fishing in federal waters, while preventing overfishing.”

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, Ala., has included similar language in an appropriations bill heading to the floor.

In many ways, the battle over red snapper is emblematic of the conflict over the nation’s fishing laws. Lawmakers are caught between environmentalists and the fishermen back home.

Read the full story at The Montgomery Advertiser 

 

ASMFC Atlantic Herring Section July 30 Days Out Conference Call Cancelled

July 29, 2015 — ARLINGTON, Va. — The following was released by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Comission:

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Herring Section will not meet via conference call on July 30th to discuss Area 1A landings and days out measures. As of July 24th, preliminary landings for Area 1A are estimated to be 6,062  mt, consistent with projected landings. The Section will meet via conference call in August to review Trimester 2 landings and set Area 1A days out specifications for Trimester 3 (October 1 – December 31); the details of this call will be released once they are finalized.  Landings will continue to be closely monitored and the directed fishery will be closed when the trimester’s quota is projected to be reached.
 
For more information, please contact Ashton Harp, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at aharp@asmfc.org.

Reef protections aim to grow fish stocks

July 28, 2015 — Fishing practices that disturb the sea floor will soon be banned in a 38,000-square mile swath of the Atlantic Ocean in an effort to protect fragile East Coast coral reefs.

While the new rules will mean fishermen are catching less in coral zones, officials say the effort could grow fish populations, keeping customers from having to pay more for seafood.

In mid-June, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council voted to establish “deep sea coral zones” from waters off the northern North Carolina border through New York. Trawls, dredges, bottom long lines and traps would be prohibited in the protected area, which starts at about the 450-feet depth point and extends 200 miles out to sea.

The rule still needs to be approved by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, but it would complement protections passed in 2010 by sister organization the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to safeguard coral zones from Southeastern North Carolina through Florida.

Read the full story at Star News Online

NEW JERSEY: Legislators call for less restrictive fluke quota

July 24, 2015 — As the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Science and Statistical Committee met this week to ponder quota cuts for the 2016 summer flounder season, three of New Jersey’s lawmakers called on the SSC not to make those cuts too steep.

Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., D-NJ, submitted a letter to the Council on Wednesday requesting less restrictive quota limits than the 25 percent recommended in a recent Council staff memo. Such a reduction wrote Pallone, “would significantly impact the recreational and commercial fisherman whose livelihoods depend on a fair summer flounder quota.”

U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker ( D-NJ) both signed the letter.

Read the full story at Asbury Park Press 

 

NOAA begins fence-mending with Northeast fishermen

July 23, 2015 —  NOAA Fisheries this week undertook an effort to build trust and cooperation from the New England fishing industry by including the industry in upcoming groundfish stock assessments.

NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, based in Woods Hole, conducted meetings at five sites Wednesday, with web meeting access provided for several more sites up and down the New England coast.

The NOAA scientists made a presentation of the assessment process and some of the options that the New England Fishery Management Council’s Science Committee has for action on assessments.

According to the NOAA web site, those options range from the status quo to a complete review and rebuild of all the methods and computer models being used by the science center to guide NOAA’s annual quota decisions on 20 different groundfish stocks.

With very few fishermen fishing for groundfish, few were among the 20 or so participants, according to Don Cuddy, spokesman for the New Bedford-based Center for Sustainable Fisheries.

Read the full story at the New Bedford Standard-Times

 

ASMFC 2015 Summer Meeting Final Agenda and Meeting Materials Now Available

July 22, 2015 — The following was released by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC):

The final agenda and meeting materials for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s 2015 Summer Meeting can be obtained at http://www.asmfc.org/home/2015-summer-meeting; click on the relevant Board/Committee name to access the documents for that Board/Committee. Please note due to file size (496 pages) t
he American Lobster Benchmark Stock Assessment and Peer Review Report can be obtained through a separate link –https://asmfc.egnyte.com/dl/FlHpq2hcUn. To access, click on the link, allow time to load (may take a couple of minutes) and press the DOWNLOAD button (upper right) to download the full report. Bookmarks have been set up in the PDF document to allow for easy navigation within the document.

 
The agenda is subject to change. The agenda reflects the current estimate of time required for scheduled meetings. The Commission may adjust this agenda in accordance with the actual duration of meetings. Interested parties should anticipate meetings starting earlier or later than indicated herein.
 
For ease of access, all Board and Section materials have been combined into one PDF (http://www.asmfc.org/files/Meetings/Summer2015/CombinedFiles.pdf). The combined file does not include the Benchmark Stock Assessment and Peer Review of American Lobster, and the ACCSP Coordinating Council and ACCSP Executive Committee meeting materials. Some documents may be large, so please be patient downloading. Supplemental materials will be posted to the website next Wednesday, July 29th.
 
Board/Section meeting proceedings will be broadcast daily via webinar beginning at 10:15 a.m. on August 4th and continuing daily until the conclusion of the meeting (expected to be 12:15 p.m.) on August 6th. The webinar will allow registrants to listen to board/section deliberations and view presentations and motions as they occur. No comments or questions will be accepted via the webinar. Should technical difficulties arise while streaming the broadcast, the boards/sections will continue their deliberations without interruption. We will attempt to resume the broadcast as soon as possible. To register for the webinar, please go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/453851280130891265.
 
As a reminder, the guidelines for submission of written comment for issues for which the Commission has NOT established a specific public comment period(i.e., in response to proposed management action) are as follows: 

1.   Comments received 3 weeks prior to the start of a meeting week will be included with the main meeting materials.

2.   Comments received by 5:00 PM on the Tuesday immediately preceding the scheduled ASMFC Meeting (in this case, the Tuesday deadline will be July 28, 2015) will be distributed electronically to Commissioners/Board members prior to the meeting and a limited number of copies will be provided at the meeting.

3.   Following the Tuesday, July 28, 2015 5:00 PM deadline, the commenter will be responsible for distributing the information to the management board prior to the board meeting or providing enough copies for the management board consideration at the meeting (a minimum of 50 copies).

The submitted comments must clearly indicate the commenter’s expectation from the ASMFC staff regarding distribution.  As with other public comment, it will be accepted via mail, fax, and email.

Fishing group meets to discuss New England catch limits

July 23, 2015 — It’s simple: If fishermen can’t catch it, we can’t eat it. On Wednesday, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center met with fishermen across New England to discuss the state of groundfish like cod.

The federal government had to close down all commercial and recreational cod fishing late last year because the population was at an all-time low. This restriction allows them to repopulate off the coast of Maine and Massachusetts.

22News spoke with Schermerhorn’s Seafood Owner Michael Fitzgerald as he was getting updated from his suppliers. Cod is still largely off limits, but there is a popular alternative you can buy.

Read the full story and watch the video at WWLP

 

Gulf fishermen react to bill that would transfer Red-snapper control to states

July 20, 2015 — Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) on Thursday introduced legislation that would transfer control of Gulf of Mexico red-snapper stocks from the National Marine Fisheries Service to a consortium established by the five Gulf states.

Graves said similar protocols have been successfully implemented along the East Coast and in Alaska, adding that “state-based management will result in more frequent stock assessments and improved regional collaboration in the collection and use of timely fishery data.”

Fisheries directors from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have grown displeased with federal red-snapper management, and began a concerted effort earlier this year to wrest control of the fishery from NMFS.

Gulf of Mexico recreational anglers have seen their access to booming red snapper stocks dwindle in recent years. In 2015, the private-boat recreational season stretched only 10 days, even though the overall harvest quota was the largest in history.

Read the full story at The Times Picayune