he Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board approved a combination of state and regional proposals for the 2014 summer flounder recreational fishery and state proposals for the 2014 black sea bass recreational fishery in accordance with Addendum XXV to the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan.
For the summer flounder fishery, the Board approved regional management measures for two regions (1) Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, including the Potomac River Fisheries Commission, and (2) Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. Adopted regulations for the first region (DE-VA) include a 16-inch minimum size limit, 4 fish bag limit, and a year-round season, while the second region’s (CT-NJ) regulations include an 18-inch minimum size, 5 fish bag limit, and 128 day open season with not more than 45 days open from May 1 – June 30. Further, states have the option to develop a program that allows
for a 16-inch minimum size limit at state designated sites offering only shore-based fishing access. For North Carolina, the Board approved the state’s maintenance of 2013 regulations for the 2014 fishery. The overall intent of the regional management measures for the summer flounder recreational fishery is to provide more equity in recreational harvest opportunities along the coast.
The Board also approved a request from Massachusetts and Rhode Island to split its region into individual state regions to account for the significantly different recreational fisheries of the two states. Both states will maintain their 2013 regulations for the 2014 fishery so that the effect of these measures, when combined with the other regions’ measures, will constrain the coastwide harvest to the recreational harvest limit of 7.01 million pounds.
For black sea bass, the Board approved the methodologies used by the states of Massachusetts through New Jersey to establish their minimum size, bag limits, and season lengths to achieve a 7% reduction in the 2014 recreational harvest levels from the 2013 harvest level. The 7% reduction is in response to harvest overages that occurred in 2013. States will be finalizing their regulations over the next couple of weeks. The Board also agreed to a send letter to NOAA Fisheries requesting a review of the 2013 final Marine Recreational Information Program black sea bass harvest numbers when determining the final rule for 2014 measures.
Motions from the Board meeting can be found on the Commission website under Meeting Archives (http://www.asmfc.org/home/meeting-archive) at directly at http://www.asmfc.org/files/Meetings/SFScupBSBboard_13March2014.pdf. For more information, please contact Kirby Rootes-Murdy, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.842.0740.