(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association November1997Newsletter)
MID-ATLANTIC FISHERY MANAGEMENT COUNCIL
Room 2115, Frear Federal Building
300 South New Street
Dover, Delaware 19904-6790
TEL (302)-674-2331 FAX (302) 674-5399
COUNCIL MEETING JOINTLY WITH THE ATLANTIC STATES MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION (ASMFC) SUMMER FLOUNDER, SCUP, AND BLACK SEA BASS BOARD
The Council and Board voted to set the 1998 summer flounder quota at 18.52 million pounds with the following provisions: (1) the quota be divided between the recreational and commercial sectors, as per the FMP; (2) 15% of each state's commercial allocation be set aside to mitigate discards after closure of the directed commercial fishery; (3) to be eligible to land bycatch, fishermen will be restricted to appropriate state imposed trip limits sufficiently restricted to allow the bycatch fishery to remain open for the entire year without exceeding a states quota, and either fishermen or states agree to participate in a data collection program; and (4) to reduce discard mortality in the recreational fishery, the Council and Commission will adopt an appropriate hook description to decrease the catch of small fish and improve their survival as part of the development of recreational management measures for 1998
The Board voted that items 2 and 3 of the previous motion be mandatory compliance measures for states, that states submit plans to meet these requirements a.s.a.p., and that before beginning its 1998 commercial summer flounder fishery, each state's plan must be approved by the Board or preliminarily approved by the Plan Review Team.
The Council and Board voted to support the staff and the Monitoring Committee's recommendation on summer flounder mesh and fish size which is 5.5" mesh and 14" fish size, this is the same as for 1997.
The Council and Board voted to continue the summer flounder small mesh exemption program and recommended additional at-sea samplers, and at such time if there is a definite indication of a bycatch problem, to address it at that point.
The Council and Board accepted the staff recommendation for a TAC of 7.275 million pounds for Scup for 1998. They also adopted a discard allowance of 1.103 million pounds, a commercial quota of 4.572 million pounds, and a stretch mesh of 4.5" for the directed Scup fishery in 1998.
The Council and Board voted to recommend a 20,000 pound landing limit for the first winter period, until 85% of landings projected are reached, then decrease the limit to 1,000 pounds, and 8,000 pounds for the second winter period, respectively, for Scup in 1998.
The Scup minimum fish size and threshold for the Scup minimum mesh would remain unchanged from the 1997 values which are 4.5" mesh and 4,000 pounds for the winter period and 1,000 pounds for the summer period.
For 1998 Scup recreational discards, the same percentage used in 1997 (.046 million pounds) would be used in 1998.
Black Sea Bass
The Council and Board accepted the staff and the Monitoring Committee's recommendation of a Total Allowable Level of harvest (TAL) of 6.173 million pounds for black sea bass in 1998. There would be a uniform trip limit for all gear types of 11,000 pounds in the first quarter, 7,000 pounds in the second quarter, 3,000 pounds in the third quarter, and 4,000 pounds in the fourth quarter for black sea bass in 1998.
The Board and Council voted that the minimum size limit on the Federal part of the Plan be increased to 10" in the commercial fishery for black sea bass in 1998. The minimum mesh size of 4" will not be changed in 1998 but the minimum mesh threshold will be 1,000 pounds for the trawl fishery for black sea bass in 1998.
There will be no change in escape vent size for 1998. However, in the event the size limit were to stay at 10"10",, the vent size would increase.
The South Atlantic Council is beginning development of a Fishery Management Plan for dolphin and wahoo. The Mid-Atlantic Council voted to accept the South Atlantic Council's proposal that they have true lead Council status providing the Mid-Atlantic Council has full participation at the Committee and advisory levels with a committee composed of equal representation from each Council involved and chaired by a representative from the lead Council.
The South Atlantic Council is forming an advisory panel for this FMP. Mid-Atlantic fishermen interested in participating on that panel should write or fax to the address or fax number on page 1 to David Keifer, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Council.
The Council is considering creating an advisory panel to work with the Habitat Committee. Interested persons who would like to serve on the panel should write or fax to the address or fax number on page 1 to David Knifer, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Council.
COAST GUARD NUMBERS
To report a fisheries violation call 1-800-853-1964. The Fishing Vessel Safety Hotline is 1-800-521-9219.