Tag Archives: Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

The real reason why you’re suddenly seeing whales in N.J. and N.Y. waters

menhadenWhales. They’ve been seemingly everywhere. Breaching just past the sandbars in Asbury Park. Swimming past groups of surfers in Rockaway Beach. Besides inspiring a chorus of oohs and aahs, the increase in sightings is adding a blubbery new wrinkle to a raging debate over a far smaller fish: the Atlantic menhaden. It’s the menhaden, also known as “bunker” — clumsy, multidinous, slow swimming virtual floating hamburgers — that those whales are chasing. But the story of why Atlantic menhaden is suddenly so plentiful is a complicated — and controversial — one, pitting environmentalists and anglers against commercial fishing operations, with both sides claiming science is on their side. Read the story here 12:33

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Northern shrimp season canceled for 2017

In response to the depleted condition of the northern shrimp resource, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section extended the moratorium on commercial fishing for the 2017 fishing season. The Section also approved a 53 metric ton research set aside to allow for the continued collection of biological data. The 2016 Stock Status Report for Gulf of Maine Northern Shrimp indicates abundance and biomass indices for 2012 through 2016 are the lowest on record of the 33-year time series. Recruitment indices for the 2010 through 2015 year classes are also poor and include the three smallest year classes on record. As a result, the 2012 through 2016 indices of harvestable biomass are the lowest on record. Read the rest here The 2016 Stock Status Report is available, click here  15:52

Commission likely to keep Gulf of Maine shrimp fishery closed

maineshrimp_courtesyofC_SchmidtA board of the regulatory Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is set to decide Thursday whether fishing will be allowed this year. A committee of scientists has advised the board it’s not a good idea, with temperatures off New England inhospitable to the shrimp. Spencer Fuller, a shrimp and lobster buyer with Cozy Harbor Seafood in Portland, said his company was once the largest processor of Maine shrimp in the country, and it has suffered. He said that he is prepared for another year of closure, but that it will send residual troubles through Maine’s seafood industry. The commission is also working on a plan for how to manage the fishery if or when reopening happens, Appelman said “If the fishery opens back up again, which we hope it does, we can’t have a free-for-all on all these shrimp,” he said. “This is how to make sure the pressure on this weak population isn’t too much for it to handle right off the bat.” Read the story here 08:05

ASMFC scientists conclude Maine’s shrimp fishery should stay shut down

maineshrimp_courtesyofC_SchmidtA scientific committee says Maine’s shuttered cold water shrimp fishery should stay shut down for at least another year. The shrimp fishery has been shuttered since the end of 2013 because of low populations. Scientists say warming ocean temperatures off New England are inhospitable for the shrimp. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says a scientific committee that studies the shrimp reports the species still faces “poor prospects for the near future.” The committee is recommending the commission extend the moratorium on fishing for the shrimp through 2017.  An arm of the Atlantic States that deals with Maine shrimp will meet to make a decision about the coming fishing year on Nov. 10 in Portsmouth. link 15:53

Regulators increase menhaden quota – “Science says the stock’s in good shape,”

menhadenRegulators voted Wednesday to increase the annual quota for menhaden in 2017, giving Maine lobstermen a welcome boost in the supply of a popular bait fish, but no relief for Maine fishermen who want a bigger share of the national menhaden harvest. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has struggled to set its quota for the oily forage fish, also known as pogey, with members split between wanting to maintain the annual menhaden catch at 187,880 metric tons and those who say the stock has rebounded enough to raise the quota. On Wednesday, as the commission gathered for its annual meeting in Bar Harbor, the menhaden board voted 16-2 to increase the annual quota by 6.5 percent, to 200,000 metric tons, with Pennsylvania and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service holding out for keeping the quota unchanged. “Science says the stock’s in good shape,” said Bill Adler of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association. “I find it difficult that we can deal with overfishing, we can do a good job of cutting things down, but then we have success and we don’t know what to do with it.” Read the rest here 08:07

KAELIN: Fisheries commission should increase menhaden quota

menhadenWhen Thanksgiving rolls around this year, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission may give New Jersey’s fishermen something to be thankful for. At its meeting Wednesday, the ASMFC will be voting on whether to increase the number of menhaden fishermen can catch each year. By voting in favor of a quota increase, which is strongly supported by the science New Jersey’s commission representatives can improve local economies and bolster the bottom line of hard-working fishermen during the summer and fall seasons while maintaining a balanced ocean ecosystem. After the release of a periodic stock assessment in 2012, the ASMFC incorrectly concluded the stock was threatened. The commission followed that assessment with a significant cut in the amount of menhaden New Jersey fishermen were allowed to catch — a cut of more than 50 percent that remains in effect today, much to the detriment of New Jersey fishing businesses. Read the story here 19:57

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting at Bar Harbor, Maine October 24th-27th – Listen Live

logo%20jpegThe Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will meet in at the Harborside Hotel 55 West Street Bar Harbor, Maine.  The agenda is subject to change. The agenda reflects the current estimate of time required for scheduled Board meetings. The Commission may adjust this agenda in accordance with the actual duration of Board meetings. Interested parties should anticipate Boards starting earlier or later than indicated herein. Click here for details, Click here for webinar 12:10

New York State Extends Commercial Black Sea Bass Season to October 13th

dec-logoGovernor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the state has extended the commercial black sea bass fishing season to October 13. Originally scheduled to close on September 17, the recent tropical storm contributed to a lower rate of black sea bass landings, making New York’s waters prime for an extended harvest season. After review of the most recent landings data, Department of Environmental Conservation and Division of Marine Resources staff determined that the commercial season could be extended. The current trip limit of 50 lbs. per day remains in effect. For certain commercially harvested species like black sea bass, annual commercial quota allocations are provided by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Fishery management tools such as fishing trip limits and quota management plans have been implemented for quota managed species. The Department of Environmental Conservation continues to work closely with commercial fishermen to expand black sea bass harvest opportunities, and also has called for a revised, more equitable federal management strategy to improve the fishery experience. Link 19:06

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Further cut in fluke quota puts Stonington fishermen, wholesaler in peril

Imagine one of the breadwinners in a typical two-earner household is suddenly hit with a 26 percent pay cut. Then, just as the family has adjusted to the leaner budget, the same worker’s pay gets lopped another 30 percent. Their landlord already has reduced their rent, and the family has cut corners wherever they could, so how will they make ends meet now? That’s basically the question Mike Gambardella, owner of Gambardella Wholesale Fish at Stonington Town Dock, is asking himself. He faces a new 30 percent reduction in the supply of fluke, one of his main products, next year, following the 26 percent cut he’s already dealing with this year that’s cost him about $100,000 in revenue. It also forced him to lay off one of his workers and reduce pay for himself and his remaining six workers, and negotiate reduced rent on the building he rents from the town. “At this point,” he said Thursday, “we’re fighting a losing battle. If I lose another $100,000 next year, I can’t afford to stay in business.” The new 30 percent cut in the supply of fluke — also called summer flounder — was announced Aug. 15 by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, which regulates fluke and other species for the East Coast along with a larger body, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, but the council basically has the controlling authority. Read the story here 11:14

Bait Relief! Maine Pogy fishery reopens with strict new rules

1016188_285199-Feature_01Maine made bait fishermen and lobstermen happy Monday when it reopened its pogy fishery after concluding there is still enough menhaden left in the Gulf of Maine to keep the population healthy. Those who hunt for nearshore schools of the flat, oily-fleshed silver fish – the second most popular lobster bait in Maine after herring – must follow strict new rules to prevent unusual damage or imminent depletion of the Atlantic menhaden. If they limit their fishing days to three and their catch to no more than 120,000 pounds a week, Maine fishermen can use up the remaining 2.3 million-pound quota allotted to Maine, Rhode Island and New York during a so-called “episodic” fishing event, when pogies are deemed unusually plentiful in New England waters. Read the rest here 08:08

MAFMC and ASMFC Actions on Black Sea Bass, Bluefish, Scup and Summer Flounder

10.summer-flounderLast week the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) reviewed previously implemented specifications for scup, black sea bass and bluefish fisheries and modified specifications for summer flounder. The Commission’s actions are final and apply to state waters. The Council will forward its federal waters recommendations regarding summer flounder specifications to NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Administrator for final approval. For summer flounder, both groups approved a commercial quota of 5.66 million pounds and a recreational harvest limit of 3.77 million pounds for 2017, an approximate 30% decrease from 2016. This decrease in catch and landings limits responds to the findings of the 2016 stock assessment update, which indicates summer flounder has been experiencing overfishing since 2008. Read the rest here 12:06

Draft plan unveiled to curb Southern New England lobster declines

AR-160809943.jpg&MaxW=624&MaxH=400The American Lobster Management Board has released a draft plan responding to declining stocks of lobsters in Southern New England waters that will be considered by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission at its annual meeting in late October. The proposal presents a suite of management measures to increase egg production and lower harvesting mortality through a combination of management tools that include season closures, trap limits and reductions and changes in escape vent and lobster size regulations. The goal is to increase egg production for lobsters in Southern New England waters from zero to 60%. The draft responds to the 2015 American lobster benchmark stock assessment that found the Southern New England “stock severely depleted and undergoing recruitment failure with poor prospects of recovery,” according to Friday’s statement from ASMFC. Read the rest here 11:13

Shortage of herring for lobster bait market maxes out Maines Pogey Quota for the first time.

625968-20160805_Feature_03-1024x683The offshore supply of fresh Atlantic herring, the go-to bait for most Maine lobstermen, has been in short supply, driving prices up as much 30 percent in late July, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association said. The shortage triggered near-shore fishing restrictions to try to stretch out the summer herring catch in hopes of keeping bait bags full as Maine’s lobster season hits its peak. With herring getting scarce and expensive, fishermen have turned to other bait for relief, especially the pogie, the local name for Atlantic menhaden. It’s the No. 2 bait fish among Maine lobstermen, according to a state Department of Marine Resources survey. Maine fishermen have never landed the state’s entire pogie quota, which is set at about 166,000 pounds annually. But this year they had caught all of that and a bit more by July 31, said Megan Ware, head of the menhaden program for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which oversees the pogie catch and other migratory fisheries on the East Coast. Read the story here 09:41

Rules tightened on shark fin removal at sea

spiny dogfishInterstate regulators are tightening the restrictions on the last species of shark that can have its fins removed at sea in the U.S. Smooth dogfish are the only sharks from which American fishermen can remove fins at sea. Many other sharks can be hunted, but fins can’t be removed until processing on land. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted Tuesday to approve a new rule that allows fishermen to bring smooth dogfish to land with fins removed, as long as their total retained catch is at least 25 percent smooth dogfish. Right now, they can bring ashore as many as they choose. The rule change would better incorporate the Shark Conservation Act of 2010 into management of the dogfish, staff with the fisheries commission said. The dogfish are harvested from Rhode Island to North Carolina, and are among the many shark species that fishermen bring to land in states from Maine to Texas. Sharks are also hunted for their meat, but their greatest value is in their fins, which are used to make shark fin soup. Read the rest here 17:33

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission could increase menhaden catch

menhadenNew Jersey commercial bait fishermen want to see the coastwide catch of menhaden increased nearly 80,000 metric tons. “We’re focused on the science. If the science supports an increase, we want to take it,” said Jeff Kaelin from Lunds Fisheries, a commercial fishing operation in Cape May. The amount of menhaden fishermen will be able to take from the water next year will be decided Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia, when the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meets. The Atlantic Menhaden Technical Committee has given the ASMFC options that would allow the catch to increase by as much as 10,000 to 80,000 metric tons. Kaelin said Jersey gill netters have been shut out of the fishery since July 4, after fishermen reached their allocation for this year. He said if they had more quota, they could be selling bait to New England lobstermen who are clamoring for bait. Read the rest here 19:22

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Summer Meeting – Alexandria, Virginia August 2-4, 2016

ASMFC Sidebar

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will meet in at the The Westin Alexandria August 2-4, 2016.  The agenda is subject to change. The agenda reflects the current estimate of time required for scheduled Board meetings. The Commission may adjust this agenda in accordance with the actual duration of Board meetings. Interested parties should anticipate Boards starting earlier or later than indicated herein. Board/Section meeting proceedings will be broadcast daily via webinar beginning at 10:15 a.m. on August 2nd  and continuing daily until the conclusion of the meeting (expected to be 4:00 p.m.) on Thursday August  4thClick here for details, Click here for webinar 10:45

Restrictions on tap for southern New England lobster fishery

lobster-sizeNew restrictions are on tap for the region’s historic lobster fishery, which is grappling with an unprecedented decline. Scientists have said lobsters off southern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut have declined in the face of the warming ocean. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering ways to help preserve the species, and a report from the commission says one way to preserve lobsters could be to increase the minimum harvesting size. The commission’s lobster board might take action on the issue Thursday. “The biggest challenge I see is trying to establish an appropriate goal to manage the fishery in the face of what the scientists are telling us is the decline caused by ocean warming,” said Dan McKiernan, a member of the lobster board. Read the rest here 15:43

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission extends Herring catch limits to prolong catch of lobster bait

atlantic herringThe Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has extended some of Maine’s emergency Atlantic herring restrictions to Massachusetts to try to close a loophole that threatened to derail the summer supply of lobster bait. On Wednesday, the Commission voted 2-1 to cut the number of days that herring boats can land fish each week within its jurisdiction from five to two, with Maine and New Hampshire representatives voting in favor of the landing day reduction and Massachusetts voting against it. Under its emergency rules, Maine had already cut its landing days down to two in an attempt to prolong the availability of fresh herring throughout the lobster season, but boats that fished that area could still land for five days if they sailed to a Massachusetts port such as Gloucester. “Without constraints on the landing (in Massachusetts) we would not make it into August, much less September,” said Terry Stockwell of Maine Department of Marine Resources. Meanwhile, Maine lobstermen are struggling. “The bait freezers are empty,” Stockwell said. And the bait that is available is expensive. Read the story here 09:11

Work on Atlantic Marine Monument not done yet, Eric Reid, North Kingstown, Rhode Island

ObamaIn June, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, a Republican U.S. Rep. Utah, visited New Bedford and spoke to several members of the industry regarding their concerns about a potential marine monument off the coast of New England. Following the meeting, I remarked to The Standard-Times reporter that a monument could potentially cost the industry up to $500 million in economy activity, in addition to countless jobs. This estimate has been criticized for being far too high. But it is based on two premises — a conservative estimate of the economic impact of fishing in New England, and the lack of clarity surrounding the marine monument discussion. Currently, the commercial fishing industry from Maine to New Jersey brings in an estimated $1.4 billion per year in landings. These landings support hundreds of millions of dollars more in economic activity for related and shoreside businesses, and employ tens of thousands of people up and down the coast. Read the rest here 08:18

Connecticut – DEEP to host hearing on shark, menhaden plan

asmfc black logoThe state Department of Energy and Environmental Marine Fisheries Division will host a public hearing to get input on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s draft management plan for coastal sharks and for menhaden. The hearing will take place at 7 p.m. June 28 at DEEP Marine Headquarters, 333 Ferry Road. The purpose of the plan for coastal sharks is to maintain consistency between federal and state fishery management plans, where possible, and to better incorporate the intent of the smooth dogfish limited exception in the Shark Conservation Act of 2010 into state regulations. Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the plan at the hearing or by providing written comment. Read the rest here 08:43

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission revisit chance of reopening Maine shrimp fishery

maine shrimpInterstate fishing regulators are revisiting the possibility of reopening Maine’s shrimp fishery, now in its third year of a shut down since warming oceans have negatively affected the shrimp population. Fishery managers with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are opening up the possibility of new regulations to manage the fishery. Fishery Management Plan Coordinator Max Appelman said new regulations would address issues such as overfishing. “The big challenges facing this resource are overcapacity in the fishery and overcoming adverse effects of climate change,” Appelman said. (Here comes catch shares!) Read the rest here 13:48

Long Island Commercial Fishing Association opposes offshore marine monument

asmfc black logoThe Long Island Commercial Fishing Association has joined the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in the latter group’s motion to oppose the designation of an offshore marine monument in the Northeast Atlantic, which environmental groups support. Last week, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Interstate Fisheries Management Program unanimously approved a resolution opposing any designation, but offering recommendations should such a monument be created. Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, released a statement on Friday in support of the fishery commission’s resolution. Read the rest here , Read ASMFC Urges Transparency and Public Input in Proposed New England Offshore Canyons & Seamounts Monument Decision Making Process, Letter to the Obama administration  Click here 11:06

Long Island lobstermen oppose closures, question how regulators are making their decisions.

10-lobsters1Long Island lobstermen, already straining under the weight of a seasonal closure of the Long Island Sound and sharply reduced lobster populations, face the potential for more closures as federal regulators work to rebuild a depleted stock. At a meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission last week, the American Lobster Management Board agreed to review a series of new measures to address what they called the continuing decline in the Southern New England lobster fishery, which includes the . The fishery has been affected by environmental factors and fishing activity, the board said. Montauk lobsterman Al Schaffer said he and others saw a resurgence in the areas they fish around the Long Island Sound last year, though fishing is down thus far this spring. “There’s zero science,” he said, adding he strongly opposes any attempt to further restrict fishing. Read the story here 11:10

To avoid another massive fish kill in the Peconic, limits on bunker fishing lifted by “episodic event set aside program,”

2016_0401_bunker-1With unusually large numbers of bunker fish appearing in the Peconic River this spring, commercial fishermen will be allowed to net bunker in an effort to prevent the massive bunker kills seen last year, thanks to a ruling announced today by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The interstate commission, which limits how many fish can be caught each year, has agreed to add New York to a special program that allows greater numbers of bunker to be harvested in places where bunker are occurring in higher abundance than normal. The decision was made specifically to reduce the amount of bunker in the Peconic Estuary, where bunker have been reported in unusually large numbers since last month. Commercial fishermen will be allowed to use seine nets to capture bunker in the Peconic River. Up to one million pounds of bunker are allowed to be harvested under the episodic event set aside program. Read the rest here 14:25

New Jonah crab rules for East Coast fishermen

jonahFishing regulators say there will be a new limit on how many Jonah crabs fishermen will be allowed to harvest. East Coast fishermen’s catch of Jonah crabs has been growing in recent years as the crustacean grows in popularity. They are used in processed products and as an alternative to the more expensive Dungeness and stone crabs. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission  has set a bycatch limit of 1,000 pounds of crabs per trip for trawl and net fishermen. Fishermen who unintentionally catch Jonah crabs using certain kinds of traps will face the same standard. Bycatch is incidental catch by fishermen who are seeking something else. The commission says the new standards will prevent increases in proliferation of traps. AP

How will battery of new regulations affect Southern New England’s lobster fishermen?

AR-160509878.jpg&MaxW=650Southern New England’s fading lobster fishery will be subject to a battery of new regulations, possibly closed fishing areas and stricter size standards, to try to save the crustacean’s population locally.,, But the catches on SouthCoast have not been as bad as the numbers may indicate, local lobstermen say. “The past three years have been the best I’ve ever seen,” said Jarrett Drake, a lobsterman in Marion for 26 years. “And that’s the same for everyone around me, the stock assessments are brought down by places off Virginia and Maryland that aren’t doing very well.” The overall decline, however, is here to stay, said Beth Casoni, associate executive director for the Mass. Lobstermen’s Association. “The environmental factors will continue to cause this decline, with what we know about warming,” Casoni said. “But it’s unfortunate that Massachusetts and Rhode Island Area Two, lobstermen are in this stock that is in such a downward spiral.” Read the rest here 14:47

ASMFC Spring Meeting – May 2-5, 2016, Alexandria, Virginia

ASMFC SidebarThe Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will meet in Alexandria, Virginia at The Westin Alexandria 400 Courthouse Square May 2-5, 2016. The agenda is subject to change. The agenda reflects the current estimate of time required for scheduled Board meetings. The Commission may adjust this agenda in accordance with the actual duration of Board meetings. Interested parties should anticipate Boards starting earlier or later than indicated herein. Board/Section meeting proceedings will be broadcast daily via webinar beginning at 9:00 a.m. on May 2nd and continuing daily until the conclusion of the meeting (expected to be 2:30 p.m.) on May 5thClick here for details, Click here for webinar 18:42

Elver fishermen unite as tribes agree to new rules

SMR_Feigenbaum-Simmons-Young-Atwood-1Last year, Maine fishermen harvested elvers worth more than $11.4 million from the state’s streams and rivers. That made the fishery for the tiny, translucent juvenile eels the fourth most valuable in the state, but it still wasn’t a good year. A cold, dry spring delayed the migration of elvers from the sea into the rivers where harvesters set their gear. As a result, Maine fishermen landed just 5,259 pounds of the tiny wrigglers, little more than half the 9,688-pound quota allocated the state by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. When the Maine Elver Fishermen Association gathered for its annual meeting Saturday morning, harvesters received some good news from Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher and former MEFA Executive Director Jeffrey Pierce. Read the article here 09:42

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approves NJ option for summer flounder

New Jersey is one step closer to becoming its own summer flounder management region. The  unanimously approved an option Tuesday during their winter meetings in Virginia to allow for a New Jersey/Delaware Bay management region. It would pull the state out of its present management region which it shares with Connecticut and New York.The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council must now vote to adopt the measure. The council’s next meeting is March 3. Read the rest here 19:21

Regulators Postpone Plan to Try to Preserve Lobsters

Atlantic_States_Marine_Fisheries_Commission_logoInterstate fishing regulators have decided to hold off on starting the process of crafting a plan to try to preserve the dwindling southern New England lobster stock. A board of the  voted Tuesday to postpone authorizing a new management plan for the fishery. A plan could address issues such as trap reductions and closed seasons for lobster fishermen. Southern New England’s lobster fishery is a historic industry in decline. Scientists say the area’s lobster population has sunk to its lowest levels on record. Lobster supply to consumer remains strong because of heavy catch off Maine and Canada. The board decided to postpone the initiation of the plan to allow a technical committee to do more work. It could revisit the issue in May or August. Link 17:48

Gulf of Maine lobster stock at an all-time high

lobsterDM0811_468x521A recent lobster stock assessment shows the population of the state’s famous bottom-dwelling crustacean at record highs in the Gulf of Maine. Through data collected by fishery-dependent and fishery-independent sources, the stock assessment gives fishermen and scientists a picture of the condition of the economically important stock. According to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the 2015 benchmark stock assessment for lobsters shows the stock of crustaceans in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank is not depleted and overfishing is not occurring. However, the situation for the stock in southern New England is far less clear,,, Read the article here 12:52

New England States prepare to review new rules for herring fishery

atlantic herringThe new year will soon be here, and with it comes a new round of significant changes to the rules governing the herring fishery. Next week, the Department of Marine Resources will hold a public hearing on what is known as “Draft Amendment 3 to the Interstate Management Plan for Atlantic Herring.” Hearings are also scheduled in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. According to the ASMFC, the new rules would affect the inshore Gulf of Maine — called Area 1A — herring fishery to reflect changes in both the herring resource and the fishery itself. Read the article here 08:30

Omega Protein : Conservation groups and legislators look to change menhaden regulations

With the lights of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel twinkling in the background, Barry Knight looked at a room full of supporters and realized he no longer was alone. For nearly a decade, the Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates has been trying to wrestle the menhaden fishing industry from the grasp of the state’s General Assembly. An environmentally conscious angler and a rural Virginia Beach pig farmer, he has wondered for years why menhaden are the only species in Virginia waters that are not controlled by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Read the article here 15:31

Shrimpers wanted for Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission research program

maineshrimp_courtesyofC_SchmidtThe commission, which hopes to begin the test-tow portion of the the program in mid-January and the trap portion about a month after that, is looking for a total of four trawl vessels and two trap vessels from New Hampshire, Maine or Massachusetts. The $10,000 program is designed to catch the northern shrimp, Pandalus borealis, while they are in inshore waters to collect data on the timing of the egg hatch, as well as the size, gender and development stages of the shrimp. Read the article here 07:44

2016 Maine shrimp fishing season canceled

ASMFC SidebarThe Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section voted Monday to cancel the 2016 Maine shrimp fishing season. A report written by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Technical Committee said, “Given the depleted condition of the resource and poor prospects for the near future, the NSTC recommends that the Northern Shrimp Section extend the moratorium on fishing through 2016.” Read the article here 17:18 Then this, Maine shrimp fishing ban extended amid warming water fear 17:33

More black sea bass added to quota

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board last week approved increases to the 2016 black sea bass commercial quota and recreational harvest limit (RHL).  This means more black sea bass can be taken by commercial and recreational fishermen. The ASMFC announced that the commercial quota is now being set at 2.71 million pounds (was going to be 2.24 million pounds) and the RHL is being set at 2.88 million pounds (was at 2.33 million pounds). Read the rest here 17:22

Net Effect: The fight over flounder

David Sneed is executive director of thegillnet southern flounder, the main group representing recreational fishermen. He says commercial fishermen have blocked attempts to reduce the use of gill nets. “The science has been there to say, ‘Hey, we need to pull back on this. We’re over-harvesting these fish,’ but the push has always been there to say, ‘No, we need to catch more fish, you know, we need to be able to make money off of this resource.’” But Jerry Schill, executive director of the NC Fisheries Association, the main group representing commercial fishermen, says the flounder fishery is not being overharvested. Read the rest here 09:19

Southern Flounder – Disputed fisheries studies: Politics or inexact science?

flounder-southernScience plays a big role in managing fisheries. Scientists assess fish stocks, migration patterns, environmental issues — useful data that allow regulators to set policy. We expect our science to be accurate and unaffected by politics, and as citizens, we expect political actors to treat science in the same manner.,, Yet a series of e-mails found their way into the public domain from a 2007 round-robin discussion among several N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries scientists trying to peg a mortality rate for speckled seatrout caught by recreational anglers. See video  It would take a few hundred words to demonstrate where science goes off the rails and how other factors, including interest group reactions, exert an influence on what is expected to be an unbiased, fact-driven process. Read the rest here 10:30

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s limited entry scheme for Maine Shrimp Fishery postponed

Regulators are taking the possibility of a limited entry program for Maine’s shuttered shrimp fishery off the table for now. The Northern Shrimp Section is postponing the development of the plan until next summer. The group has been looking at ways to manage the future of the fishery, including the possibility of allowing fewer fishermen to participate. The shrimp section is meeting on Dec. 7 to set specifications for the 2016 shrimp fishing season. A spokeswoman for the section says it is unlikely there will be a season at all in 2016. Link 09:48

Federal regulators are eyeing a possible moratorium on eel fishing in Delaware waters

The National Marine Fisheries Service is reviewing a referral from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that found Delaware out of compliance with the interstate management plan for American eel, whose numbers are depleted.If the national agency determines that Delaware failed to carry out its responsibilities, and that the measures the state failed to implement are necessary for conservation, then it must declare a moratorium on eel fishing in Delaware waters. A determination must be made by Sept. 18. link 10:24

Analysis: New England Marine Monument Proposals Overlook Existing Protections, Overstep Democratic Management

cashes ledge closedFishermen, fisheries managers, and environmentalists agree that the Cashes Ledge region of the Gulf of Maine is home to some of the most important marine environments in New England. Since the early 2000s, federal fisheries managers have recognized the value of these areas and have taken proactive steps to protect their unique habitats, preventing commercial fishermen from entering the areas and allowing them to develop mostly undisturbed from human activity. But according to several environmental groups, including the Conservation Law Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Geographic Society, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, such long-standing and effective protections are suddenly insufficient. Read the rest here 09:17

Is the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission going to Privatize the Maine Shrimp Fishery?

Regulators are considering putting a limit on the number of fishermen who can participate in the Gulf of Maine’s beleaguered shrimp fishery in an attempt to revive the shuttered industry. A board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is developing a proposal to control the number of fishermen who can fish for the shrimp that are prized for their sweet, tender meat. The plan will likely be the subject of public hearings next year, and could apply as soon as the 2017 fishing year, said commission spokeswoman Tina Berger. Read the rest here 12:49

Rep. Bob Steinburg and W. Douglas Brady named to Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

Gov. Pat McCory has appointed a local member of the state House of Representatives and a former Carteret County commissioner to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Rep. Bob Steinburg and W. Douglas Brady were named recently to serve on the panel that represents the interests and needs of east coast marine fisheries, promotes better utilization of the fisheries and develops programs for promotion and protection of such fisheries, according to a news release from the governor’s office. Read the rest here 12:24

Lobster catch up in Maine, down in southern New England

amlobster_updated_wlabels_12052011The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has released a preliminary assessment the U.S. Atlantic coast lobster stock, and it presents a mixed picture. “The Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank stock is not overfished and not experiencing overfishing,”  Conversely, the Southern New England stock is severely depleted with poor prospects of recovery, necessitating protection.” Total U.S. landings in the fishery have steadily increased in the past 35 years. Up until the late 1970s, landings were relatively constant at about 30.87 million pounds. However by 2000, landings almost tripled to roughly 86 million,,, Read the rest here 15:45

ASMFC Summer Meeting – August 4-6, 2015 – Alexandria, Virginia, Listen LIVE!

The ASMFC is holding it’s Summer meeting in Alexandria, Va. Issue’s: American Lobster Benchmark Stock Assessment Action, Jonah Crab Fishery Management Plan for Final Approval Final Action , Atlantic Striped Bass,  Atlantic Menhaden, and more. Click here to listen to the meeting live Click here to review the final agenda.

Final ASMFC hearings for Draft FMP to regulate Jonah crab fishery tonight in New Bedford, tomorrow night in Narragansett

jonahThe public hearings are scheduled for Wednesday night in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Thursday night in Narragansett, Rhode Island.  July 8, 2015 5:00 pm, Fairfield Inn and Suites, 185 MacArthur Boulevard, New Bedford, Massachusetts, July 9, 2015 5:30 pm, University of Rhode Island Bay Campus, Corliss Auditorium, South Ferry Road, Narragansett, Rhode Island 08:54

Jonah Crab Hearing – Portland, Me. tonight, 18:00 – Portsmouth, NH, 19:30, Tuesday

Interstate fishery regulators are holding hearings in Portland at Casco Bay Lines Conference Room, 56 Commercial Street, Portland, tonight, 18:00, and at the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth 19:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Regulators with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission say the interstate management plan would regulate issues such as minimum size. 12:07

Maine’s elver fishery – Smaller catch, bigger value – 2015 haul nets fishermen an average of $2,172 per pound

Maine’s 920 licensed harvesters caught 5,242 pounds of elvers during the 10-week season, which ended May 31. That catch was down significantly from 2014 when 9,688 pounds were landed. The average price per pound for elvers jumped from $874 in 2014 to $2,172, the department said. This year’s quota was set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and will remain unchanged through 2017. The commission is expected to reassess the quota in 2018. Read the rest here 14:19

Jonah crabs booming in value as managers seek fishery plan

New England lobstermen are catching and selling more of a long-overlooked crab species in their traps, leading regulators to try to craft a management plan for the fishery before it becomes overexploited. The is working on regulations for Jonah crabs, a species common along the Eastern Seaboard that is rapidly growing in market share as an economic alternative to more expensive Dungeness and stone crabs. Read the rest here 10:26

Northern Shrimp fishery could re-open on a limited basis

Members of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are taking comments from a series of public hearings and compiling them into recommendations. The shrimp fishery closed in 2013 and has yet to reopen because of concerns about shrimp population levels. Fishermen from harvested Maine shrimp prior to the collapse of the fishery.
Some of the guidelines being considered include establishing a system of state-by-state quotas and shortening the season to only 90 days. Video, Read the rest here 11:31

Asian demand, low supply set record price on Maine baby eels

Prices for tiny glass eels caught in river inlets along the Maine coast soared to record levels this year because a slow season resulted in reduced catch, fishermen and dealers say. The baby eels called elvers sold for $2,500 or more per pound at times this season due to low supply, fishermen and dealers say, beating the old record of $1,868.73 in 2012. This year’s average price, which the state has not yet calculated, seems sure to dwarf last year’s and possibly eclipse 2012, fishermen said. Read the rest here 12:50

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approve increase in menhaden catch limits

ASMFC SidebarA multi-state regulatory board is approving higher catch limits for Atlantic menhaden, a fish that plays important roles as bait and part of the ocean food web. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Menhaden Management Board voted to raise catch limits from 170,800 metric tons per year to 187,880 metric tons per year. The limits apply this year and in 2016. Read the rest here  15:36

Future of shrimp fishery debated at Fishermen’s Forum

maineshrimp_courtesyofC_SchmidtCommercial shrimp fishermen who already have gone two years without a harvest shared sharply divided opinions about the future of their fishery Saturday at the 40th annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum. “I think there’s too much regulation going on,” Jim Hanscom of Bar Harbor said. “Pitting fishermen against fishermen is just no good. Limited entry, it’s just cutting people out … I think it’s foolish. Maybe just leave it alone, and let it be.” Read the rest here 20:52

Fishermen suspensions trigger Maine elver quota changes

elver eelBecause some elver fishermen are expected to have their licenses suspended this year due to outstanding fines, fishermen with active licenses will not have 5 percent of their quotas set aside as a buffer to prevent overfishing. All licensed elver fishermen, whether or not they are members of Maine’s federally recognized Indian tribes, are facing a reduction in individual quotas for the 2015 elver season because of a decision made last fall by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Read the rest here 11:39

New Atlantic menhaden assessment to be reviewed at upcoming management meeting, reveals healthy stock and sustainable fishery

This week at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Winter Meeting in Alexandria, Va., the Menhaden Management Board will consider the just-released 2014 Atlantic Menhaden Stock Assessment and Peer Review Report for management use. The assessment’s revised models and data sources are substantially improved from previous assessments and indicate that fishery-independent causes, including environmental conditions, have the greatest impact on the otherwise healthy stock and sustainable fishery. Read the rest here 09:40

New England Fishery Management Council reject expanded protections for herring

In a decision lauded by state regulators and decried by environmentalists, federal regulators ruled this week that a plan to extend greater conservation efforts to river herring is not necessary at this time. There is a need for more data to assess river herring and shad stocks, but the factors affecting the species include water quality and fish passage, which are difficult to address through federal management plans, said Jeff Nichols, a spokesman for the state Department of Marine Resources. Read the rest here 14:25

The American eel’s ‘endangered’ designation isn’t backed up by the science

elver eelOver the past decade, eel fishermen in Maine and all along the Atlantic coast have been part of a responsibly managed fishery, adhering to stringent regulations developed across state, provincial and international lines.,, Despite these notable management efforts, in late 2014, the environmental group International Union for the Conservation of Nature placed American eel on its “Red List” of endangered species. Read the rest here 14:55

Elver Eel exporters may need new license

elver eelThe Maine Department of Marine Resources is preparing legislation that would require individuals who ship the baby eels overseas to purchase a $5,000 exporter’s license. The state already licenses both elver fishermen and dealers, so DMR officials said the exporter license will ensure the state is monitoring every aspect of an industry that has drawn poachers and federal scrutiny in recent years. Read the rest here 10:45

Report: Atlantic menhaden are in better shape than regulators thought

Environmentalists and commercial fishermen have clashed for years over Atlantic menhaden and whether there are still plenty of the little fish left in the sea. Now a draft of a  that incorporates more comprehensive data from coastal states stretching back to the 1950s, as well as alternative model scenarios, appears to indicate menhaden might not be in such bad shape after all. Read the rest here 08:00

Fish Distribution: Warmer waters shake up Shore fishing

“Marine fish are very sensitive to a change in temperature — they can only survive in a narrow range, so they are seeking out cooler waters toward the poles and deeper in the ocean,” he said. “And deeper generally means farther from shore.” As the species shift north, fishing industries are hampered in making adjustments because federal fishing quotas that determine how much of each species can be caught are based on decades-old data. “The regulations are based on the idea that fish distributions are static. Read the rest here 11:06