DEEP: Declaration of Regulation Change

DEP Marine Fisheries News

Declaration of Regulation Change

April 15, 2010

Under authority of Sections 26-25 and 26-159a of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 26-159a-22 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection is authorized to establish or adjust, by declaration, closed seasons, length limits, creel limits, trip limits and trip limit adjustment values in order to meet the harvest level for efficient management and to comply with interstate fishery management plans adopted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).

In accordance with the aforementioned authority, the following changes in Department COMMERCIAL FISHING regulations will be effective during 2010:

NEW

BLACK SEA BASS COMMERCIAL FISHERY POSSESSION LIMITS
From May 1 to August 28, inclusive:

1) in the bottom trawl and fish pot fisheries, 300 pounds until 90% of the Connecticut quota specified in the plan has been landed, at which time the limit shall be zero pounds;

2) in the commercial hook, pound net, scallop dredge and gill net fisheries, 75 pounds until 90% of the Connecticut quota specified in the plan has been landed, at which time the limit shall be zero pounds;

3) in the lobster pot fishery when in possession of lobsters, 10 fish.

SUMMER FLOUNDER COMMERCIAL FISHERY POSSESSION LIMITS
From May 1 to August 28, inclusive, 125 pounds until a total of 95% of the Connecticut quota specified in the plan has been landed in Connecticut, at which time the limit shall be zero pounds.

WEAKFISH COMMERCIAL FISHERY POSSESSION LIMITS
Effective May 1: 100 pounds. This possession limit shall apply to the aggregate of all persons on board the vessel per trip or per day whichever is the longer period of time. Transfer of weakfish between vessels at sea is prohibited.

REMINDERS

AMERICAN LOBSTER MINIMUM CARAPACE LENGTH
A minimum carapace length of 3-3/8 inches is required for all lobsters taken from Lobster Management Area 6 (Long Island Sound and western Block Island Sound). Effective July 1, 2010 the escape vent size will increase to 2 inches by 5-3/4 inches rectangular or 2-5/8 inches circular. Note that the ASMFC extended the deadline for complying with the vent size increase from June 1 to July 1.

WINTER FLOUNDER COMMERCIAL FISHERY POSSESSION LIMITS
50
pounds or 38 fish. This possession limit shall apply to the aggregate of all persons on board the vessel per trip or per day whichever is the longer period of time. Transfer of winter flounder between vessels at sea is prohibited. Exemptions apply to federally permitted vessels fishing outside the southern New England stock area. Contact Marine Fisheries for details.

SCUP COMMERCIAL FISHERY POSSESSION LIMITS
From June 1 to August 31, inclusive:

1) in the commercial hook, pound net and gillnet fisheries, the possession limit shall be 50 pounds until 40% of the Connecticut quota specified in the plan has been landed in Connecticut, at which time the possession limit shall be 25 pounds until 70% of said Connecticut quota has been landed, at which time the limit shall be zero pounds;

2) in the bottom trawl and fish pot fisheries, the possession limit shall be 100 pounds until 40% of the Connecticut quota specified in the plan has been landed in Connecticut, at which time the possession limit shall be 50 pounds until 70% of said Connecticut quota has been landed, at which time the limit shall be zero pounds;

3) in the lobster pot fishery when in possession of lobsters, the possession limit shall be 10 fish.

SPINY DOGFISH COMMERCIAL FISHERY POSSESSION
From May 1 to August 28, inclusive, 3,000 pounds.

These adjustments comply with the requirements of the interstate/federal Fishery Management Plans for these species. Black sea bass, scup (summer period) and summer flounder are under state specific quota management. Measures for these species are crafted in cooperation with participants in those fisheries and in consideration of the diversity of interests within the fleet, the seasonal value of landed catch, and the need to minimize discards. Black sea bass and scup stocks are fully rebuilt, while summer flounder are projected to be fully rebuilt by the end of 2010. Spiny dogfish are under regional (northern region is ME-CT) quota management through ASMFC. At present there is no biomass target for this stock, but the harvest level is consistent with the requirements for a sustainable fishery. The 2010 coastwide quota is 15 million pounds, 58% of which may be landed in the northern region. The fishery will be closed for the remainder of the fishing year when the regional quota is reached. Weakfish (coastwide) and winter flounder (southern New England) stocks are both at low levels. The low trip limits (weakfish 100 lb, winter flounder 50 lb) are intended to prevent a directed fishery, but also avoid waste of incidental bycatch in other fisheries.

For further information, contact the DEP Marine Fisheries Division by email at dep.marine.fisheries@ct.gov, by mail at P.O. Box 719, Old Lyme, CT 06371 or by telephone at 860.434.6043 between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

In conformance with the ADA, individuals with disabilities who need this information in an alternative format to allow them to benefit and/or participate in the agency’s programs and services, should call 860.424.3051 or 860.418.5937 or e-mail Marcia Z. Bonitto, ADA Coordinator, at: Marcia.Bonitto@ct.gov. Requests for accommodations must be made at least two weeks prior to the program date.

(N10-12)