DEEP: ASMFC Public Hearing on Black Sea Bass Draft Addendum XXI


March 3, 2010

The DEP Marine Fisheries Division is hosting an Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Public Hearing on black sea bass management. Draft Addendum XXI to the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan proposes to establish a management approach to divide the recreational black sea bass coastwide allocation into regional or state-specific allocations. Since 1996, a uniform coastwide size, season, and bag limit has been set by the Commission and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to constrain the recreational fishery to the annual harvest target. The harvest target was exceeded five times over the last 15 years, most recently in 2009 and 2010 when the harvest target was the lowest in the time series.

The current management plan only allows for the implementation of measures to be applied coastwide and not on a regional or state-specific basis. In 2010, all states, with the exception of Massachusetts, adopted coastwide regulations of 25 fish, 12.5 inches TL minimum fish size, and an open season from May 22 to October 11 and November 1 to December 31 in 2010. Massachusetts opted for a more restrictive 20 fish possession limit, and adopted all other coastwide regulations in 2010. The 2010 regulations resulted in a preliminary estimated harvest of 2.98 million pounds, approximately 1.15 million pounds above the 2010 target.

Given that the 2010 regulations were not effective in staying within the target, harvest will need to be reduced by 40% to achieve, but not exceed, the 2011 target of 1.78 million pounds. In order to meet the required reduction using coastwide measures, the Board has proposed increasing the minimum size limit to 13 inches and contracting the season to July 1 to October 1 and November 1 to December 31. However, analyses have shown that these proposed changes will impact states differently. The Board initiated the Draft Addendum to provide the necessary management flexibility to mitigate potential disproportionate impact on states that can result from coastwide measures.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the draft addendum, either by attending the public hearing or providing written comments. The draft addendum can be obtained via the Commission’s website at under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at 703-842-0740. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on March 18, 2011 and should be forwarded to Toni Kerns, FMP Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703-842-0741 (FAX) or at (Subject line: Black Sea Bass).

The hearing will be held at:

7:00 PM, Tuesday, March 8, 2011
DEP Marine Headquarters Education Center
333 Ferry Road
Old Lyme, CT 06371

Take I-95 to Exit 70 to Route 156 south, turn right onto Ferry Road, follow to the end.
The Education Center located at the rear of the property.

For further information, contact the DEP Marine Fisheries Division by email at, 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 Environmental Protection is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and service provider.  In conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, DEP 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 860-424-3051 or 860-418-5937 or e-mail Marcia Bonitto, ADA Coordinator, at  Persons who are hearing impaired should call the State of Connecticut relay number 711. Requests for accommodations must be made at least two weeks prior to the program date.