DEEP: 2015 Recreational Fisheries Measures for Black Sea Bass, Scup and Striped Bass

Notice of Public Hearing

February 18, 2015

2015 RECREATIONAL FISHERIES MEASURES FOR BLACK SEA BASS, SCUP AND STRIPED BASS

CT DEEP Marine Fisheries Division is holding a Public Hearing to get input on alternatives to meet the requirements of Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Fishery Management Plans for Black Sea Bass, Scup and Striped Bass while also providing optimal fishing opportunity for Connecticut anglers.

The hearing will be held at:

7:00 PM, Wednesday, February 25, 2015
CT DEEP Marine Headquarters Education Center
(rear building)
333 Ferry Road, Old Lyme CT

Black sea bass. In 2014, black sea bass harvest exceeded the coastwide recreational harvest limit substantially. With the 2015 recreational harvest limit being little different than in 2014, states in the northern region (MA-NJ) are required to reduce harvest by about 32%. Several options will be offered to accomplish this reduction.

Scup. Connecticut has had more restrictive scup conservation measures than its neighbors in recent years. In 2015, we have an opportunity to relax both the minimum fish size (from 10.5"/11" to 10") and creel limit (from 20 fish to 30) to match rules in place in nearby states which is expected to increase Connecticut harvest by about 56%.

Striped bass. In August 2014, the department hosted an ASMFC hearing on Striped Bass Addendum IV. At that meeting there was strong public support for conservative management. In early February, the Commission approved Addendum IV, calling for coastal states to adopt 1 fish at 28 inches or equivalent conservation. The Board also approved a 25% reduction in commercial quota allocations. Marine Fisheries expects 1 fish at 28 inches to be adopted for the 2015 recreational fishery. The bonus striper program will issue 25% fewer vouchers in 2015, consistent with the reduction in commercial quota (3,000 vouchers instead of 4,000). Since commercial striped bass fishing is prohibited in Connecticut, the commercial allocation is used to support our small bonus striper program (134 fish were reported harvested in 2014). We are seeking input on voucher distribution, particularly on the number to be set aside for enhanced shore fishing opportunity versus general public distribution at DEEP offices. We are also seeking comments on the number of vouchers any single fisherman should be allowed annually.

Summer flounder. At its February 4, 2015 meeting, ASMFC adopted regional management for 2015 with no change in required minimum size, creel limit or open season. Consequently, summer flounder regulations in 2015 will again include a minimum length of 18 inches, 5 fish possession limit and an open season extending from May 17 through September 21.

Written comments should be submitted to Marine Fisheries by March 1, 2015 via email: deep.marine.fisheries@ct.gov; or U.S. Mail: Marine Fisheries Division PO Box 719, Old Lyme CT 06371. The list of options is available by calling Marine Fisheries (860-434-6043) and will be posted on our web site by Thursday February 19, 2015: www.ct.gov/deep/fishing under Announcements.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer that is committed to requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any person with a disability who may need information in an alternative format may contact the agency's ADA Coordinator at 860-424-3194, or at deep.hrmed@ct.gov. Any person with limited proficiency in English, who may need information in another language, may contact the agency's Title VI Coordinator at 860-424-3035, or at deep.aaoffice@ct.gov. Any person with a hearing impairment may call the State of Connecticut relay number - 711. Discrimination complaints may be filed with DEEP's Title VI Coordinator. Requests for accommodations must be made at least two weeks prior to any agency hearing, program or event.

(N15-02)