DEEP: Notice to Scup Fishermen

Notice to Scup Fishermen

September 23, 2011

RECREATIONAL OPEN SEASON EXTENSION

The recreational scup fishery closure scheduled to occur on September 27 (October 12 for Party/Charter vessels) has been suspended. The recreational scup fishery will remain open through the end of 2011. For anglers fishing from shore or on private vessels, the minimum size (10 ˝") and bag limit (10 fish) remain unchanged during the extended open season.

For paying passengers fishing from a party or charter vessel (P/C), the current 40 fish bag limit remains in place only through October 11. Thereafter, the bag limit returns to 10 fish. The 11 inch minimum size for P/C fishermen remains unchanged through the rest of the year.

The states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York are all pursuing similar measures to keep their recreational scup season open for the remainder of 2011. However, all anglers are reminded that recreational scup fishing in federal waters will still close on September 27. Federal waters occupy portions of Block Island Sound, but not Long Island Sound. Anglers are also reminded to check regulations in neighboring states before fishing there.

COMMERCIAL TRIP LIMIT ADJUSTMENT

Between September 1 and October 31:
In the pound net and gillnet fisheries, the possession limit shall be 500 pounds until 90% of the Connecticut quota specified in the plan has been landed in Connecticut, at which time the possession limit shall be 100 pounds.

In the commercial hook, bottom trawl and fish pot fisheries, the possession limit shall be 1,000 pounds until 90% of the Connecticut quota specified in the plan has been landed in Connecticut, at which time the possession limit shall be 200 pounds.

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

SCUP QUOTA STATUS

On September 15, 2011 the coastwide total combined landings for commercial and recreational fisheries was projected to fall as much as 9.9 million pounds short of the Total Allowable Landings (TAL) under the fishery management plan. This unexpected underage has recently allowed states and the federal government to increase commercial access substantially under existing rules that provide for full utilization of the TAL in the commercial fishery through routine in-season adjustments to trip limits. These adjustments are made possible through weekly monitoring of commercial landings relative to the TAL. However, despite these adjustments the market demand is weaker than supply, leading to the projected underage for 2011.

Similar in-season adjustments are not practical for recreational fisheries with many thousands of participants and no "real-time" monitoring. However, the large projected commercial and recreational underage provides a unique opportunity to suspend the closed season in the recreational fishery and provide this much needed opportunity for anglers and the businesses that rely on recreational fishing, without negatively impacting any other fishery or state.

The 2011 TAL increased some 90% over 2010 and is expected to increase approximately 71% in 2012. These large quota increases reflect the near record scup biomass that is presently twice as large as the target set under federal law.

The Department monitors landings and adjusts trip limits according to Department regulations in an attempt to provide fishing opportunity throughout the year for all participants in the commercial fishery. In addition, the Department strives to provide advance notification of trip limit changes, although this may not always be possible due to rapidly escalating or unanticipated landings. In such circumstances, only a short notification period may be possible.

For further information, contact the DEEP 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.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and service provider. In conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, DEEP makes every effort to provide equally effective services for persons with disabilities. 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 860-424-3035 or e-mail the ADA Coordinator, at dep.aaoffice@ct.gov. Persons who are hearing impaired should call the State of Connecticut relay number 711.

(N11-15)