DEEP: ASMFC Hearing on Lobster Managment Plan Addendum VIII

Notice To Lobster Fishermen

ASMFC Hearing On Lobster Management Plan Addendum VIII

The DEP Marine Fisheries Division is hosting a Public Hearing of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commissionís (ASMFC) Draft Addendum VIII to Amendment 3 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobster. Lobster management has been limited in some areas by inadequate monitoring of fishing activity and stock abundance. The draft addendum is to consider new biological reference points (BRP) that are less data demanding while also considering options for improving monitoring programs to support future stock assessments and management programs.

Biological reference points are benchmarks used to determine whether overfishing is occurring. ASMFC is soliciting comment on two BRP options: 1) to retain the current reference point based on percent spawning potential, 2) adopt reference points based on historical fishery performance in terms of both stock size and harvest rates.

Currently some but not all states have fishery monitoring programs, and existing programs are not always consistent in their requirements. Consequently, there are often substantial "data gaps" which undermine assessments and management. ASMFC is seeking comments on options to address the need for more complete data. Two options are offered in Addendum VIII: 1) encourage states to adopt the coastwide (ACCSP*) standard for fishery monitoring programs, 2) require states to adopt such programs.

Copies of the Draft Addendum can be obtained via the ASMFC website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at (202) 289-6400.

The hearing will be held at:

7:00 PM, Monday, April 10, 2006
DEP Marine Headquarters (Boating Education Center)
333 Ferry Road
Old Lyme, CT 06371
I-95, Exit 70, to Route 156, south to Ferry Road in the
Boating Education Center located at the rear of the property

The public is encouraged to provide input on these options by attending the public hearing or providing written comments. Written comments will be accepted at the hearing or until 5:00 PM on April 21, 2006. Please send written comments to Toni Kerns, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 1444 Eye St, NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005; fax (202) 289-6051 or tkerns@asmfc.org . You may also contact David Simpson, CTDEP Marine Fisheries at 860.434.6043 if you have any questions.

*For more information on the Atlantic Coast Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) visit www.accsp.org