Your Chance to Provide Input to ASMFC on Menhaden

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CCA Maryland

Public Information Document Guidance for

Amendment 3 to the Atlantic Menhaden FMP

 

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has released the Public Information Document (PID) for Draft Amendment 3 for public comment.

ASMFC is requesting comments on potential changes to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Menhaden to be considered in Amendment 3.  CCA Maryland encourages all anglers to comment on any of specific issues either at the public hearing and/or by letter to ASMFC.

There are two chances this week for you to attend meetings in the region, and have your input be heard.

The Potomac River Meeting will be held on TUESDAY Dec 6th, 2016; 6PM

Carpenter Building

222 Taylor Street

Colonial Beach, Virginia

Contact: martingary.prfc@gmail.com

The Maryland meeting is on WEDNESDAY December 7, 2016; 6PM

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Calvary United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall

301 Rowe Boulevard

Annapolis, Maryland

Contact: Lynn Fegley at 410.260.8285

 

Your comments at a meeting should be limited to 3 minutes.

Written comments may be submitted by 5:00 PM January 4, 2017 to:

Megan Ware

Fishery Management Plan Coordinator

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

1050 North Highland Street, Suite 200A-N

Arlington, Virginia 22201

Fax: (703) 842-0741

comments@asmfc.org (subject line: Menhaden PID)

 

Allocation is an important part of menhaden management and NOAA Guidance states that:

 

“Conservation and management measures shall not discriminate between residents of different states. If it becomes necessary to allocate or assign fishing privileges among various United States fishermen, such allocation shall be (a) fair and equitable to all such fishermen; (b) reasonably calculated to promote conservation; and (c) carried out in such manner that no particular individual, corporation, or other entity acquires an excessive share of such privilege.”

All of the issues included in the PID are important to menhaden management. The following is a guide to issues 1, 6, and 8.

 

Issue 1.:  Reference Points

 

Ecological management is right for menhaden, and Issue 1, Option D is the best solution now.

The current approach that ASMFC uses for setting catch limits is wrong for menhaden, because it is based on a single species approach and ignores their importance the ecosystem as a forage species. The best available science supports Option D: managing to a target of 75 percent of the total menhaden biomass before large scale fishing, so menhaden can fulfill their role in the ocean food web, and ensure the population never drops below 40 percent.

Science tells us that this amount would vastly reduce the impact of menhaden fishing on predators that eat menhaden, and help menhaden continue to expand back into the northern and southern extents of their former range; while still providing ongoing substantial yields to fisheries.

Important predators need menhaden. Nearly all near shore predators eat menhaden at some point of the year or their life cycle. Option D recognizes the importance of menhaden to the overall system, and allocates an acceptable level to be left in the water to play out their natural role.

Conservation benefits everyone. Option D will enable the menhaden population to continue to grow, while increasing menhaden’s value to recreational fishing, commercial seafood, and tourism businesses that all depend on this important fish, and its predators.

ISSUE 6: Incidental Catch & Small Scale Fishery Allowance

Count all the catch. The reallocation options in Amendment 3 should provide ample quota to all of the small scale bait fisheries that are utilizing incidental catch allowances under current management.   The menhaden fishery is the largest on the east coast, and even the smallest percentages ad up to a large amount of catch; which must be counted against the quota.

ISSUE 8: Chesapeake Bay Reduction Fishery Cap

Protect the Chesapeake Bay nursery.

The Bay remains the primary nursery for the coast-wide menhaden population, and the area where the majority of catch is concentrated. The cap should remain in Amendment 3, but should be cut in half to be 96 million pounds, closer to current bay harvest levels, to protect against localized depletion and provide for the many predators that depend on menhaden in the Bay.

 

 

a pdf version of this document is available HERE

 

 

Below please find a sample letter to use as a guide for your comments.

 

 

As a recreational angler, and resident of ________who appreciates the unique qualities of the Chesapeake Bay, I am greatly concerned about the menhaden population, which is so important to many species in the Bay and up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

Having read your Public Information Document for Draft Amendment 3, I strongly urge ASMFC to take three crucial actions as you move forward in the management of our menhaden resources—

1. Adopt Option D to manage to a target of 75 percent of the total menhaden biomass before large scale fishing. It’s essential to focus on an ecological management approach.

2. Act to provide ample catch to all of the small scale bait fisheries that are utilizing incidental catch allowances.

3. Maintain but reduce the Chesapeake Bay Reduction Fishery Cap. As the Bay is the primary nursery for the coast-wide Menhaden population and the area where the majority of catch is concentrated, the cap is an essential part of protecting this important fishery. The cap should be maintained but cut in half to under 100 million pounds.

By taking these actions, the Board will be protecting the most important fish in the ocean and serving the public that values this resource.

Thank you for your consideration.