DEEP: Notice of ASMFC Public Hearing on Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management

Notice of ASMFC Public Hearing on
Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management

October 26, 2018

The DEEP Fisheries Division is hosting a Public Hearing of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to gather input on Draft Addenda XXXI and XXXII to the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Plan.

The hearing will be held:

7:00 PM, Monday, November 5, 2018
DEEP Marine Headquarters Boating 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 Boating Education Center is located at the rear of the property.


 
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commissionís Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board approved Draft Addendum XXXI for public comment at the Joint Commission/Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Virginia Beach, VA in August 2018, and approved Draft Addendum XXXII at the Commissionís Annual Meeting in New York City.
 
Draft Addendum XXXI
Draft Addendum XXXI and the Councilís complementary framework consider adding the following management options to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan.

1. Conservation equivalency for the recreational black sea bass fishery
2. Conservation equivalency rollover for summer flounder
3. Transit provisions for Block Island Sound for recreational and/or commercial fisheries for all three species
4. Slot limits (not currently a management option in the Councilís FMP)

The Draft Addendum aims to increase the suite of tools available for managing summer flounder, scup and black sea bass, as well as reduce inconsistencies between state and federal regulations. This action does not consider implementing black sea bass conservation equivalency or slot limits for any of the three species in 2019. Rather, the options would update the FMPs to allow these management tools to be used in future years.
 
Draft Addendum XXXII
Draft Addendum XXXII was initiated to establish new recreational management programs for summer flounder and black sea bass, as the current addenda under which the two fisheries are currently managed (Addenda XXVIII and XXX, respectively) expire at the end of 2018. The Draft Addendum proposes two options for each recreational fishery: (1) coastwide management (the default program for both species under the FMP), or conservation equivalency for summer flounder; and (2) setting measures through a specifications process.
The Draft Addendum seeks to address several challenges with the recreational management of summer flounder and black sea bass. Since the adoption of the FMP, shifts in abundance, distribution, and behavior of these two species have created challenges in constraining harvest to the coastwide recreational harvest limit (RHL) while providing fair and equitable access to fishermen throughout the speciesí ranges. In addition, the use of highly variable and inherently delayed annual harvest estimates to establish management measures for the subsequent year has led to regulatory instability, regulatory disparities, and frustration on the part of stakeholders.

Setting measures through specifications would be a procedural change, allowing regional management to reflect the current condition and distribution of the stocks and fisheries, and enabling measures to be established based on more complete harvest data rather than preliminary projections. This process would eliminate the need for measures to be established through addenda; instead, the Board would approve measures in the late winter or early spring each year, based on technical committee analysis of harvest estimates and other information on resource availability. Public input on specifications would be gathered by states through their individual public comment processes. For each species, the Draft Addendum also includes proposed standards and guiding principles to structure how measures are set in order to provide fair and equitable access to the resource, and increase regulatory stability.
 
Interested groups are encouraged to provide input on Draft Addenda XXXI and XXXII either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. Draft Addenda are available at:

www.asmfc.org/files/PublicInput/SF_Scup_BSB_DraftAddendumXXXI_PublicComment_Oct2018.pdf
and www.asmfc.org/files/PublicInput/SF_BSB_DraftAddendumXXXII_PublicComment_Oct2018.pdf.

They can also be accessed on the Commission website (
www.asmfc.org) under Public Input. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on November 29, 2018 and should be forwarded to Caitlin Starks, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, Virginia 22201; 703.842.0741 (fax) or at comments@asmfc.org (Subject line: Draft Addendum XXXI and XXXII Comment).

For more information about the hearing location please contact the DEEP Marine Fisheries Program by email at
deep.marine.fisheries@ct.gov, by mail at PO 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 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.
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