Tilghman Reef Deployment

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Chub Mackerel Management Input Needed

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Chub Mackerel, Scomber colias

(photo credit: mafmc.org)

UPDATE 5/29: Click Here to view CCA Maryland’s input on the issue.

5/15/2017

David Sikorski, CCA MD Executive Director

Background:

Last summer the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) passed an amendment to protect forage species from large scale harvest.  Many of the protected species are important food sources for highly migratory species(HMS) like tuna, marlin, swordfish, wahoo, and sharks.

The amendment also placed a temporary cap on the emerging directed commercial fishery for chub mackerel, also referred to as “tinkers”.  The cap was set at a quota level based on a 3 year average of recent catch. This cap will sunset after 3 years, and the MAFMC has now started an amendment to add chub mackerel as a managed stock in the mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries management plan.

A handful of large commercial trawlers aim to expand their catch of chub mackerel in the Mid-Atlantic canyons, and the outcome of the current amendment process could have major impacts on the vitality of HMS based recreational and charter fisheries, as well as a number of highly valuable tournaments.  Industrial trawlers can catch a half million pounds of chub mackerel worth an average of $0.19 per pound.

Large scale fisheries of this kind can have negative impacts on the amount of forage available for predatory species, and can impact the economic well being of towns like Ocean City that depend on a high abundance of tuna, marlin, and other HMS species during the summer months.

The full scoping document can be viewed HERE

Maryland’s public hearing will be held on Tuesday May 16th from 6:30-8:30pm at the Princess Royale Oceanfront Resort & Conference Center.  9100 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD 21842.

You can also provide written input on the scoping document by COB Tuesday May 31, 2017 in the following ways:

Please include “chub mackerel scoping comments” in the subject line if using email or fax, or on the outside of the envelope if submitting written comments.

Additional information and relevant background documents are available on the Council’s website at http://www.mafmc.org/actions/chub-mackerel-amendment.

Please consider the following points when providing comment to the MAFMC:

  • Chub mackerel are a critically important forage species for tuna, marlin, swordfish, sharks and other highly migratory species.
  • Offshore charter and recreational fisheries rely upon a large abundance of forage to concentrate predatory species in the Mid-Atlantic Canyons and surrounding areas.
  • Charter and recreational offshore fisheries generate millions of dollars of economic benefit throughout the summer months for coastal towns like Ocean City, MD.
  • The large scale harvest of chub (“tinker”) mackerel can negatively effect the abundance of marlin, tuna, and other gamefish during economically important times of the year.
  • The harvest of large amounts of the low value chub mackerel should not outweigh the importance of their presence to currently established, and highly valuable charter and recreational fisheries

 

The MAFMC (council) should consider:

  • Adding advisors and members with expertise in the economics of the HMS fisheries to the appropriate advisory panels, FMAT, and Scientific and Statistical Committee.
  • Including protection of the existing Mid-Atlantic marlin and tuna fisheries in the goals and objectives of the amendment and in the definition of Optimum Yield for the chub mackerel fishery.
  • Including a comprehensive description and economic analysis of the existing Mid-Atlantic recreational fisheries (private, charter, and tournament) for marlin and tuna in the amendment, including seasonal and spatial fishing effort.
  • Include management options that would avoid negative impacts to existing HMS fisheries, including options for Optimum Yield that would be based on capping the chub fishery at historical levels.
  • Include a comprehensive suite of management alternatives that would mitigate any impacts to existing HMS fisheries and avoid conflict with new fisheries, including seasonal and spatial restrictions on directed fishing for chub mackerel to prevent industrial-scale removals of chub mackerel until after marlin, tuna and other HMS species have migrated from the Mid-Atlantic canyons.
  • Include risks to the existing HMS fisheries in all of the terms of reference for the management of chub mackerel, including stock assessments and any requests for scientific advice from the Scientific and Statistical Committee.
  • Develop and fund research priorities to document the foraging patterns of HMS species while they are in the Mid-Atlantic

Advocacy Update 3/17

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March 17th, 2016

By: David Sikorski, Executive Director

With the session still in, CCA Maryland’s Government Relations Committee(GRC) is still working the halls of the legislature to ensure our messages of the importance of science based management and the long-term sustainability of our shared natural resources continues to be learned and understood by our elected leaders.

HB 924 – Natural Resources – Oyster Management – Prohibited Actions

HB924 has passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 102-39.   After much debate, the bill has been amended to explicitly describe that it will not limit the ability of Maryland DNR to consider the addition of two tributaries to the overall oyster sanctuary plan, a task that has been requested of the Oyster Advisory Commission by Secretary Belton.

As the bill moves over to the Senate, CCA Maryland will share continue to share our support for the bill, and provide testimony to help inform Senators as the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs(EHEA) committee considers the merits of delaying any changes in current oyster sanctuaries until a study informing the sound science based fishery management plan for our oyster resource is completed.

The current bill information can be found here, and by clicking the link in the top left corner of the bill information page you can review the text of the bill.

SB 554/ HB 1339- Natural Resources – Gill Nets – Mesh Size

Since our last update, SB 554 received an unfavorable report from the EHEA committee.  HB 1339 has passed the second reader after being amended, and will move to the EHEA to be considered by the committee in an amended form which is available for review here.

Oyster Advisory Commission

The winter weather this week caused DNR to postpone the March meeting of the Oyster Advisory Commission.  The meeting has been rescheduled for Tuesday March 21st at 6pm in the Fellowship Hall at Calvary United Methodist Church (301 Rowe Blvd, Annapolis, MD 21401).

Plastics/Trash Effecting Fish Health and Water Quality

Many are aware of the issues with trash that negatively effect our waterways in our region.  It’s hard to miss the evidence when on the water, or walking the shorelines many areas of the state.

SB186/HB229 was introduced this session, but our GRC members were not aware of the bill until after the committee hearings occurred.  While committee hearings are an important chance to provide input on legislation, they are not the only opportunity, and our GRC team has spent time this session learning more about SB186/HB229 while visiting legislators in the past few weeks, and sharing how important the control of trash is important to the health of our environment.  

We do not know if this proposed legislation will move forward this year to become law, but we can report that our GRC leaders are becoming increasingly aware of the impacts that plastics and other debris causes on our fish and local ecosystems, and our GRC team will continue to work increase awareness of efforts that can improve water quality in the region.  While much of our focus over the years has been on promoting sound fisheries management principles, it is very important to our interests as recreational fishermen to expand our advocacy and work with other groups to help limit any negative impacts on the sustainable management of our shared natural resources.

This article shares information on the impacts of plastics on fish reproduction and health, and we ask that you bring issues like this to our attention.  As our GRC leaders expand our understanding of new issues, we also ask that you consider helping our GRC team to cover the many issues that need our attention.

As an important side note, many of our Baltimore Chapter members have spent time working with our friends at the Back River Restoration Committee(BRRC), to help their efforts in clearing trash from the Back River watershed.  More information on BRRC can be found on their website, and by following their facebook page.

While CCA Maryland works hard on behalf of our members and fellow recreational fishermen, we urge you to provide your personal input on these matters as well.  The general assembly website is a great place to start for contact information, and always feel free to drop us a line if you’d like more information on any pending legislation.  General Assembly Website

We are always working to Conserve, Promote, and Enhance Maryland’s Marine Resources, and rely on the grass roots support of hard working volunteers and generous sponsors.  Please consider attending one of our many meetings or events, and asking any volunteer leaders or our Executive Director how you can help CCA Maryland.  

Advocacy Update: February 24th

RicksummerbryanFebruary 24th, 2016

By: David Sikorski, Executive Director

Volunteers from CCA Maryland’s Government Relations Committee worked the halls of Annapolis this week to share the message of sound, science based fisheries management.

SB 554 – Natural Resources – Gill Nets – Mesh Size

On Tuesday, Larry Jennings, a long time CCA Maryland volunteer spoke in opposition of Senate Bill 0554, a bill that aims to increase the allowable stretched size of a gill net used in the Chesapeake Bay to 7.5″.   The regulatory authority to manage gill nets for striped bass already exists for the Department of Natural Resources(DNR). Existing Maryland code already allows for a 5-7″ net, but many watermen are concerned that a net material they have will stretch to much, and put them at risk of being out of compliance with regulations.

Because DNR has the regulatory authority to manage commercial fishing gear already, we felt this bill was unnecessary and might take away flexibility for changes that industry members might want to make quickly at a later date, to change gear or other management measures

When a fishery is managed under a fisheries management that aims to maintain healthy stock levels, and prevent over fishing is used to manage a stock, DNR’s fisheries managers should be left to work through the ASMFC process, and/or state regulatory process to manage the fish.

The written testimony CCA Maryland submitted can be read here.

HeaderHB 924 – Natural Resources – Oyster Management – Prohibited Actions

Today, Rick Elyar, CCA Maryland’s Habitat Committee Chairman, Summer Miles, a Central Region Chapter member, and Westminster High School student, and Bryan Shumaker, the STEM coordinator for Carroll County Public Schools, attended the committee hearing for HB 924.     The trio shared their views on the importance of conservation, and why oysters should be managed based on science, and that more reefs are needed to properly support the ecological health of the Chesapeake and it’s many rivers.

Dr. Jim McVey, also a CCA Maryland member, provided the committee a great deal of information regarding disease resistant stocks of oysters.  Dr. McVey managed the NOAA Sea Grant program for a number of years that supported a great deal of oyster disease research.

A large panel of other groups testified in support of the bill, and I provided a reminder to the committee that our public natural resources belong to all of us, that we have a privilege to harvest them,  and that they should be managed in a fair and equitable fashion.   Oysters are the foundation of the entire bay ecosystem, and act as the home for many important estuarine species, and should be managed by sound science.  When questioned whether the legislature should be mandating oyster rules by Del. Jay Jacobs, I explained that we have a trust in DNR, and trust in science, but do have concerns that oysters are over fished, and short term gain seems to be the hope of many, instead of the long term benefit for Bay.

This is not a new problem, and is not an issue that follows any partisan political party line.  Last session, the legislature required DNR perform a stock assessment in order to determine sustainable harvest rates.  More than one Legislator noted that HB924 provides a reinforcement of the last years Sustainable Oyster Population and Fishery Act of 2016(SB 937- Bill Text)     It should also be noted that, if passed,  HB 924 would not limit DNR’s ability to manage the public fishery in public shellfish areas this fall, or limit the Oyster Advisory Commission’s ability to identify the next two sanctuary tributaries.

HB 924 requires that sanctuaries not be reduced or altered until the report required by SB 937 is complete.     Many proponents explained that oyster sanctuaries should be closed permanently in order to maximize the growth potential, but to also support an increase in the overall biomass of disease resistant oysters in multiple areas.

A bipartisan poll was reported this afternoon by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and can be found by clicking here.  The result?  A majority Marylander’s believe oyster sanctuaries should be remain protected.

DNR Secretary Belton, and Fisheries Director Dave Blazer, fielded questions from the committee after sharing DNR’s opposition of the bill.

Numerous opponents testified after DNR, and shared a number of reasons they oppose the bill.

CCA Maryland’s written testimony can be found here

Firing of DNR Blue Crab Manager

We are deeply concerned by the recent termination of Brenda Davis, a 28 year veteran of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources.  Experienced managers like Brenda are responsible for instituting important measures to ensure the growth and sustainability of Maryland’s crab fishery.  We will continue to seek more information on this issue, and look forward to discussing this issue with the many crabbers that have reached out to CCA Maryland seeking support.

Bay Journal Article

Washington Post Article

We remind everyone, that while CCA Maryland works hard on your behalf, we urge you to provide your input on these matters as well.  The general assembly website is a great place to start for contact information, and always feel free to drop us a line if you’d like more information on any pending legislation.  General Assembly Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update on Man O War Shoal from 2/13 OAC meeting

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Photo credit: Bay Journal/Virginia Marine Resources Commission

2/14/2017

David Sikorski, Executive Director CCA Maryland

An update on the status of the application to dredge Man O War shoal’s fossil shell was presented at the meeting of the Oyster Advisory Commission (OAC) on February 13, 2017. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources(DNR) reported that the timeline provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a decision is three to four months after DNR provided their most recent answers to questions. The original deadline for the answers was April 1st, but DNR handled the request faster than required and sent the answers to the Corps early this week.

DNR has posted the most recent details of the application on their website

CCA Maryland continues to stand against the dredging of fossil shell from Man O War Shoal.   

While some OAC members believe that Man O War shell will provide a future for the industry, CCA Maryland disagrees.  Among many reasons, we are concerned about the lack of accountability for shell that was already dredged over a 46 year period, using untold amounts of public dollars in the process.  We do not support the removal of one of the upper bay’s last great shoals for a short term, and costly fix for a lack of shell.

This past December, CCA MD sent a letter to Gov. Hogan as a reminder of why past efforts to dredge fossil shells were previously abandoned, and why the majority of citizens and stakeholders disagree with the dredging of Man O War Shoal in the future.

It should be noted that the OAC discussed an interest in finding other sources for shell in other areas of the bay, and we remain open minded, and willing to discussing these options.  We note that Maryland has a shell problem, and remain committed to work through discussions with varying stakeholder groups to find a solution to the problem, but in no way support a return of fossil shell dredging to the upper bay.

*The OAC also discussed a “straw man” proposal for future changes in the state’s oyster sanctuary plan.  The “straw man” proposal is based on the input of a number of stakeholder groups, and was prepared by DNR in an effort to provide a plan for the OAC to focus on.  The “straw man” is a draft document that includes the classification of new sanctuaries, declassification of previous sanctuaries, as well as proposed rotational harvest areas.  CCA Maryland will be reviewing this proposal, and providing our thoughts to ensure that recreational fishermen can provide input into any proposed plan as the OAC continues to advise DNR on future oyster management efforts.   

** Straw man proposal is available HERE

 

CCA Maryland announces the hiring of its new Executive Director

CCA Maryland is proud to announce the hiring of David Sikorski as its next Executive Director.  David officially joins us after more than a decade of work as a volunteer with the association.   David’s background makes him a strong choice to lead our state chapter. He is native Marylander, a passionate and experienced sportsman, and has been a tireless volunteer for CCA Maryland.  As a longtime participant and current Chair of our Government Relations Committee, David has a thorough understanding of the many issues that affect our fisheries.

He is a member of the Striped Bass and Atlantic Menhaden Advisory Panels for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Chairman of the Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission to Maryland DNR, and has been a frequent attendee to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council in recent years.   In his work with these councils and commissions David has helped CCA Maryland protect striped bass, yellow perch, menhaden, and many other species of forage along our coast. David is also a past Annapolis Chapter President, and is deeply involved with our oyster advocacy and habitat work.

As an active member of CCA Maryland, David has demonstrated a commitment to our membership and stakeholders. With this new chapter we are excited to build our membership, proactively strengthen our advocacy positions, expand habitat work, and continue our work to Conserve, Promote, and Enhance Maryland’s Marine Resources.

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.

States Schedule Hearings on Atlantic Menhaden Draft Amendment 3 Public Information Document

States Schedule Hearings on Atlantic Menhaden Draft Amendment 3 Public Information Document

 Arlington, VA – The Atlantic coastal states of Maine through Florida have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on the Public Information Document (PID) for Draft Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. The details of the scheduled hearings follow.

 

Maine Department of Marine Resources

December 13, 2016; 6:15 PM

Casco Bay Lines Conference Room

56 Commercial Street

Portland, Maine

Contact: Terry Stockwell at 207.624.6553

*This hearing will immediately follow the Jonah Crab Draft Addendum II hearing

 

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department

December 6, 2016; 7:20 PM

Urban Forestry Center

45 Elwyn Road

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Contact: Doug Grout at 603.868.1095

* This hearing will immediately follow the Jonah Crab Draft Addendum II hearing

 

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

December 12, 2016; 5:30 PM

Bourne Community Center, Room 1

239 Maine Street

Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts

Contact: Nichola Meserve at 617.626.1531

* This hearing will immediately follow the Jonah Crab Draft Addendum II hearing

 

December 20, 2016; 6 PM

Thayer Public Library, Logan Auditorium

798 Washington Street

Braintree, Massachusetts

Contact: Nichola Meserve at 617.626.1531

 

Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife

December 19, 2016; 7 PM

University of Rhode Island Bay Campus

Corless Auditorium, South Ferry Road

Narragansett, Rhode Island

Contact: Robert Ballou at 401.222.4700 ext: 4420

* This hearing will immediately follow the Jonah Crab Draft Addendum II hearing

 

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

December 14, 2016; 7 PM

CT DEEP Boating Education Center

333 Ferry Road

Old Lyme, Connecticut

Contact: David Simpson at 860.434.6043

*This hearing will precede the Jonah Crab Draft Addendum II hearing

 

New York Department of Environmental Conservation

December 15, 2016; 6:30 PM

Freeport Memorial Library

144 West Merrick Road

Freeport, New York

Contact: Steve Heins at 631.444.0430

 

New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

December 8, 2016; 6:30 PM

Nacote Creek Marine Law Enforcement Office

360 North New York Road, Mile Marker 51

Port Republic, New Jersey

Contact: Russ Allen at 609.748.2020

 

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

December 8, 2016; 6:30 PM

901 Pilottown Road

Lewes, Delaware

Contact: John Clark at 302.729.9914

* This hearing will immediately follow the Jonah crab public hearing

 

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

December 7, 2016; 6 PM

Calvary United Methodist Church

Fellowship Hall301 Rowe Boulevard

Annapolis, Maryland

Contact: Lynn Fegley at 410.260.8285

 

Potomac River Fisheries Commission

December 6, 2016; 6 PM

Carpenter Building

222 Taylor Street

Colonial Beach, Virginia

Contact: Martin Gary at 804.456.6935

 

Virginia Marine Resources Commission

December 5, 2016; 6 PM

2600 Washington Ave, 4th Floor

Newport News, Virginia

Contact: Rob O’Reilly at 757.247.2247

 

North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries

November 30, 2016; 5:30 PM

5285 US Highway 70 West

Morehead City, North Carolina

Contact: Michelle Duval at 252.808.8013

 

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

December 1, 2016; 6 PM

Melbourne City Hall Chambers

900 E. Strawbridge Avenue

Melbourne, Florida

Contact: Jim Estes at 850.617.9622

 

As the first step in the amendment process, the document seeks input from stakeholders and those interested in Atlantic menhaden about changes observed in the fishery/resource and potential management measures. Draft Amendment 3 was initiated following Board review and acceptance of the 2015 Stock Assessment and Peer Review report, which found the menhaden resource in good condition — not overfished nor experiencing overfishing. Population fecundity, a measure of reproductive capacity, was estimated to be roughly double the threshold value (86.8 trillion eggs).  Additionally, total fishing mortality was estimated to be 0.22, below both the fishing mortality threshold (1.26) and target (0.38). 

 

The PID outlines a number of issues in the fishery and solicits feedback on how the resource should be managed. Specifically, the PID presents a suite of tools to manage the menhaden resource using ecological reference points and provides options to allocate the resource among the states, regions, and user groups. In addition to the specific issues identified in the PID, commenters are welcome to provide input on all aspects of the fishery and resource, including recommendations for future management.

 

Stakeholders are encouraged to provide input on the PID either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. The PID can be obtained at http://www.asmfc.org/files/PublicInput/AtlMenhadenAmend3PID_PublicComment.pdf or via the Commission’s website, www.asmfc.org, under Public Input. Public comment will be accepted until 5 PM (EST) on January 4, 2017 and should be forwarded to Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at comments@asmfc.org (Subject line: Menhaden PID). If your organization is planning to release an action alert related to the Amendment 3 PID, please contact Megan Ware at 703.842.0740 prior to its release.  The Management Board will meet at the Commission’s 2017 Winter Meeting to review and consider public comment and provide direction to staff for items to be included in the Draft Amendment 3.                                           

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2016 Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Symposium

Thanks to our good friends at COSTA  it’s time to mark your calendars and get ready for another great day of learning about a number of important fisheries management issues.
Learn all about the upcoming menhaden management changes, and hear why ecosystem based management is the best way to achieve longterm sustainability for “the most important fish in the sea”.
Capt. John McMurray (http://www.nycflyfishing.com/) will also be joining us to talk FISHING, and share his views on managing our resources for the benefit of recreational fisheries.  He will also update us on various issues he is working on as a Mid-Atlantic Council member, and Proxy to ASMFC.
We will also review the status of striped bass, and fill you in on some of the great habitat restoration and education work CCA Maryland is working on right now.
AGENDA
 
For more information, and please contact CCA Maryland’s Government Relations Committee Chairman David Sikorski for any further information
443-621-9186

Menhaden Math Doesn’t Add Up

Menhaden Math Doesn’t Add Up

Proposed commercial harvest increase jeopardizes menhaden plan

POSTED ON OCTOBER 24, 2016

Many places along the coast are seeing more menhaden than they have in years, and it’s a wonderful sight.

After decades of managing this important forage base as simply a feedstock for a single industrial harvester, managers cut harvest by 20 percent and agreed to manage menhaden as a critical forage base for the entire marine ecosystem. It was a sea-change in attitude and a true victory for conservation.

However, the tools to properly manage menhaden properly are still under development, and already there is serious talk of an increase in commercial harvest. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Menhaden Management Board will address the issue at their Oct. 26 meeting in Maine.   Some Board members have been discussing a possible “compromise” to increase the TAC for 2017 6.5 percent, to an even 200,000 metric tons of menhaden.  Others will be seeking even larger increases.

Those states on the outskirts of menhaden’s geographical range have only just begun to see the return of a healthy forage base. However, those gains will be jeopardized so that just two states can reap the vast majority of the increase in commercial harvest – see table below.

Instead of awarding the states with the old allocations based on poor data, managers should work through reallocation in Amendment 3, and find a proper ecosystem-based management plan before awarding more quota on bad information, especially when the largest level of harvest is concentrated at the entrance to the largest estuary on the Atlantic coast, the Chesapeake Bay.

Contact your ASMFC Commissioners by clicking here

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