October 25, 2012 — The following was released by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Philadelphia, PA – The Commission’s Spiny Dogfish and Coastal Sharks Management Board approved spiny dogfish quotas for the 2013/14, 2014/15, and 2015/16 fishing seasons (May 1 – April 30), with a maximum possession limit of 4,000 pounds per day for the northern region states (Maine through Connecticut).  The approved quotas represent an approximately five million pound increase in quota over the 2012/13 season.  State-specific shares for the northern region and southern states (New York through North Carolina) are provided in the table below.  Any overages from the previous fishing seasons will be paid back by the region or state in the following season, as has been done in years past. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) forwarded the same recommendation to the National Marine Fisheries Service Northeast Regional Administrator for final action prior to the start of the 2013/14 fishing season.  The New England Fishery Management Council will take action at its November meeting.

View a chart of regional/state quotas and possession limits here

The Board’s action responds to the findings of the 2012 Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) Update on the Status of Spiny Dogfish, which estimates that spiny dogfish are not overfished and not experiencing overfishing. Spawning stock biomass (SSB) was estimated at 474.97 million pounds in 2012, and has exceeded the target (351.23 million pounds) for the past five years.  Fishing mortality is estimated to be 0.114 in 2011, well below the plan’s threshold (0.2439).  The recommendation from the MAFMC Science and Statistical Committee (SSC) took into account the projected record low recruitment from 1997 to 2003, and the recommended quotas are not expected to cause SSB to decline below the biomass threshold.
Discards have remained relatively stable around 11 million pounds over the past decade and are expected to remain near that level in the future fishing seasons. Canadian landings have also decreased significantly in recent years (249,000 pounds in 2009; 13,230 pounds in 2010; 273,000 pounds in 2011). It is anticipated the Canadian dogfish harvest will not increase in the near future given the lack of demand for the product and the subsequent closure of Canadian spiny dogfish processors.
Additionally, based on the recommendation of its Coastal Sharks Technical Committee, the Board approved a 36 fish possession limit for sharks in the large coastal sharks (LCS) species group (silky, tiger, blacktip, spinner, bull, lemon, nurse, scalloped hammerhead, great hammerhead, and smooth hammerhead sharks) for 2013. The Board increased the LCS possession limit, consistent with the proposed federal shark specifications.
For more information, please contact Marin Hawk, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 703.842.0740 or mhawk@asmfc.org.