Fisheries Management
& Legislative Report

by Tom Fote
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association September 2020 Newsletter)

Needless to say, it has been an interesting couple of months. I went to many meetings all while staying at home. We are all learning how to utilize the internet for fisheries meetings. There are both good and bad points. The bad point is there is no opportunity for members to socialize and discuss beyond the meeting itself. The good point is that any of you can go on your computer and attend. You don’t have to drive hundreds of miles. I was hoping to see many of you at the joint ASMFC/MAFMC and the ASMFC summer meeting. There were only a few names I recognized from the recreational sector. There was more attention to making sure the public could participate than there was at an in-person meeting. In four days, I only heard two recreational anglers ask questions or make comments. There was a great deal of commercial participation. You need to get involved. If the Commissioners and Council members are not hearing from you, they think they are making the right decisions.

Below are the excerpts from the press release about the Striped Bass Board Meeting, and the entire press release from the joint ASMFC/MAFMC Bluefish Board Meeting.

Paul Eidman covered the Menhaden Board in his article. You can actually listen to the meetings, look at the presentations and all the materials that were distributed by going to the sites listed below.

Press releases, meeting summaries and motions from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s 2020 Summer Meeting Webinar are now available at this link. The document can also be obtained on the Commission website on the Meeting Archives page here. The audio files from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s 2020 Summer Meeting Webinar are now available at this link. Go to the relevant board/committee header and click on either Presentations or Audio. Please note the Atlantic Striped Bass and Atlantic Menhaden Boards have two audio links each.

The Striped Bass Board will review the first draft of the PID at the ASMFC Annual Meeting in October. At that meeting, the Board will determine if the PID is ready to be sent out for public comment or if further modifications to the document are needed. Given current, and possibly future, meeting restrictions due to COVID-19, public hearings may be conducted via webinar.

Here are the excerpts from the ASMFC press release on Atlantic Striped Bass and the Bluefish Management Board meeting summary respectively.

ASMFC Press Release
August 6, 2020

ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Board Initiates Amendment 7 to Address Longstanding Fishery Management Issues

Arlington, VA – The Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board initiated the development of an Amendment to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan. As the first step in the development of a new FMP or amendment, the Public Information Document (PID) will focus on the following management topics: (1) fishery goals and objectives; (2) stock rebuilding/timeframe; (3) management triggers; (4) biological reference points; (5) regional management (recreational measures, coastal and producer areas, regional reference points); (6) recreational discard mortality; (7) conservation equivalency; (8) recreational accountability; and (9) coastal commercial quota allocation. The purpose of the PID is to solicit stakeholder input on prioritizing the importance of each topic for continued development and inclusion in the Draft Amendment.

ASMFC Bluefish Management Board & MAFMC
August 6, 2020

Meeting Summary

The Bluefish Management Board (Board) met jointly with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) to discuss draft alternatives for the Bluefish Allocation and Rebuilding Amendment and to consider the fishery management plan review and state compliance for the 2019 fishing year.

The Board and Council reviewed progress on the amendment and recommendations from the Plan Development Team/Fishery Management Action Team (PDT/FMAT). Consistent with the PDT/FMAT recommendation, the Board and Council removed trigger based sector allocation alternatives and the refereed transfer approach. The Board and Council also decided to remove recreational sector separation from the amendment. Board and Council members agreed that recreational sector separation could be considered more comprehensively in a multi-species action. The ongoing Recreational Reform Initiative will provide an opportunity for thorough consideration (see the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Meeting Summary for more details). Approaches retained for further consideration include fishery management plan goals and objectives, recreational/commercial allocations, commercial allocations to the states, commercial allocations to the states with minimum default allocations, regional commercial quotas, rebuilding plan, recreational/commercial sector transfers, sector specific management uncertainty, and de minimis provision to relieve states from having to adopt fishery regulations.

The Board and Council expect to approve a final range of alternatives during their December joint meeting, with a Draft Amendment expected to be considered for release for public comment by February 2021. Additional information regarding the amendment process and timeline can be found at the bluefish amendment action page.

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