Public Input Being Collected For 2014 Management Options

The Atlantic coast states of Massachusetts through Virginia have scheduled hearings to gather public comment on Draft Addendum XXV to the Summer Flounder and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan.

For summer flounder, Draft Addendum XXV includes options that would allow for management measures by region, and the sharing of unused quota, both with the intent of providing more equity in recreational harvest opportunities along the coast.

The specific regions being considered are (1) Massachusetts; Rhode Island through New Jersey; Delaware through Virginia; and North Carolina and (2) Massachusetts and Rhode Island; Connecticut through New Jersey; Delaware through Virginia; and North Carolina.

Under region 1 above for example, Massachusetts would have a five fish bag limit, 16-inch size and 132-day season, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey would all have a four fish bag limit, 18-inch size limit and 135-day season, while Delaware, Maryland and Virginia would each get a four fish bag limit, 16-inch size limit and a 365-day season. North Carolina meanwhile would maintain its six fish, 15-inch size limit and 365-day season.

The quota sharing concept is part of Option 2 in draft Addendum XXV which offers a mechanism to allow the transfer of unused summer flounder quota between states to offset overages or to allow states to liberalize regulations while maintaining the state by state baseline allocations set using MRFSS data from 1998.

The Draft Addendum also proposes two options for the 2014 black sea bass recreational fishery (1) coastwide measures, currently proposed at 13-inch TL minimum size, a five fish possession limit, and a season from June 1 to September 30, or (2) the continued use of management measures by northern (MA-NJ) and southern regions (DE-NC). The regional management approach has been used since 2011.

Saltwater anglers can provide comments by attending one of the following state public hearings, which get underway this evening in Virginia.

Virginia Marine Resources Commission

January 8, 2014 at 6 PM
2600 Washington Avenue
4th Floor Conference Room
Newport News, Virginia
Contact: Rob O’Reilly at 757-247-2247

Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources

January 9, 2014 at 5 PM
Ocean Pines Library
11107 Cathell Road
Berlin, Maryland
Contact: Steve Doctor at 410-213-1431

Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources & Environmental Control

January 10, 2014 at 6 PM
DNREC Auditorium
89 Kings Highway
Dover, Delaware
Contact: John Clark at 302-739-9108

New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

January 13, 2014 at 7 PM
Ocean County Administration Building
Public Hearing Room 119
101 Hooper Avenue
Toms River, New Jersey
Contact: Tom Baum at 609-748-2020

New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation

January 14, 2014 at 6 PM
Bureau of Marine Resources
205 North Belle Mead Road, Suite 1
East Setauket, New York
Contact: Steve Heins at 631-444-0435

Connecticut Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection

January 14, 2014 at 7 PM
Marine Headquarters
Boating Education Center, Building 3
333 Ferry Road
Old Lyme, Connecticut
Contact: David Simpson at 860-434-6043

Rhode Island Division of Fish & Wildlife

January 15, 2014 at 6 PM
University of Rhode Island, Corless Auditorium
South Ferry Road
Narragansett, Rhode Island
Contact: Jason McNamee at 401-423-1943

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

January 16, 2014 at 5 PM
Bourne Fire Station #3, Meeting Room
53 Meetinghouse Lane
Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts
Contact: Nichola Meserve at 617-626-1531

You can also provide input through the commission website on the Public Input page at www.asmfc.org/about-us/public-input. The deadline for comment is 5 p.m. on January 24th.

Logo courtesy Recreational Fishing Alliance

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