Tag Archives: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council

New Jersey Anglers and Commercial Fishermen: Discussion on negative impact of Fishing Limits

A trip to Annapolis, Maryland might be what saves the 2018 New Jersey fishing season. Saltwater anglers and their allies crowded the Stafford Township municipal chambers, where the Marine Fisheries Council held its regular Sept. 7 meeting. Although the first hour was filled with its usual reports and comments, the Council’s second hour saw passionate arguments and discussion from Council and audience members about what to do with the ever-shortening fishing season and its negative impact on commercial fishermen throughout the state and beyond. click here to read the story 15:29

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting August 8 – 10, 2017 in Philadelphia, PA

The public is invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s August 2017 meeting to be held August 8-10, 2017 in Philadelphia, PA. The meeting will be held at the Courtyard Marriott, 21 N. Juniper St., Philadelphia, PA 19107, Telephone 215-496-3200. Briefing Materials & Agenda Overview Agenda click here   Attend Meeting with Adobe Connect Click here Listen Live! www.mafmc.org 12:12

Fishermen make waves after Scup limits are lowered

Most of the fish caught by the Stonington fleet is processed at Gambardella Wholesale Seafood and the talk there today is about the change in Scup regulations. Two boxes of Scup processed at the plant weigh about 120 pounds which is almost two thirds of what fisherman are now allowed to haul in a day. “Two hundred pounds. We clean the net we get 200 pounds,” said fisherman Bob Guzzo. “They’re so prevalent we’re catching them with six inch mesh which is unbelievable.” Guzzo says he ends up having to throw back perfectly good fish so he doesn’t go over the daily catch limits. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection lowered the Scup limits on Sunday because the summer quota which is a lot less than the winter quota is already at 72 percent. “Back in 2005 the fishery was overfished and it’s been rebuilt since then so they just want to keep it there,” said Mark Alexander with the DEEP. “I know the fishermen are frustrated because there are a lot of fish out there.” It’s not just Scup. Fishermen say Sea Bass are also thriving. Video, click here to read the story 22:03

Mid-Atlantic Council Approves Squid Amendment

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved the Squid Amendment to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan during a meeting last week in Norfolk, Virginia. The amendment includes measures to reduce latent (unused) permits in the longfin squid fishery and modify management of longfin squid during Trimester 2. After considerable discussion and consideration of public comments, the Council selected preferred alternatives and adopted the amendment for Secretarial review and implementation. Below are summaries of the issues addressed and the Council’s preferred alternatives. click here to read the notice 16:55

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meeting in Norfolk, VA June 6 – 8, 2017

The public is invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s  Tuesday, June 6, 2017 – Thursday, June 8, 2017 Hilton Norfolk The Main, 100 East Main St. Norfolk, VA. Briefing documents will be posted as they become available (click here).  For online access to the meeting, enter as a guest (click here) 11:10

A Hudson Canyon-sized power struggle is developing 100 miles off N.J.’s coast

In November 2016, the Wildlife Conservation Society nominated Hudson Canyon to be designated a National Marine Sanctuary. The WCS selected the canyon, the largest submarine crevice on the Atlantic Coast, due to its wide biodiversity. The canyon is home to more than 20 protected species, including the North Atlantic right whale, according to the conservation group. “This is a canyon the scale of the Grand Canyon,” said Jon Forrest Dohlin, the Vice President of the WCS and the director of the New York Aquarium. “It seemed like something that could really benefit from awareness and protection.” But commercial fishermen see this as the latest in a series of moves that could lead to increased fishing restrictions from the Gulf of Maine to the Gulf of Mexico. Commercial fishermen in New Jersey fear losing access to a profitable fishing ground. According the Greg DiDomenico, the executive director of the Garden State Seafood Association, click here to read the story 09:54

MAFMC Votes15-4 AGAINST Hudson Canyon Sanctuary bid

In their official nomination, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and their Coney Island Aquarium staff outlined their specific reasons for nominating the offshore Hudson Canyon as a National Marine Sanctuary. (We listened to the presentation online. It was pathetic, actually),,,  While claiming to have “community-based support for the nomination expressed by a broad range of interests,” the WCS marine sanctuary plan had actual fishermen and fishing industry leaders incensed. In a letter of opposition on behalf of coastal fishermen, Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) executive director Jim Donofrio noted that regardless of the WCS’s intention, recreational fishermen would not have any legal protection under the federal sanctuary law. Thank you Jim. click here to read the story 12:54

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meeting in Avalon, New Jersey: April 11-13, 2017

The public is invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s April 2017 meeting to be held April 11-13, 2017 in Avalon, New Jersey. The meeting will be held at the Icona Golden Inn, 7849 Dune Dr., Avalon, NJ, Telephone 609-368-5155. Briefing documents will be posted as they become available (click here).  For online access to the meeting, enter as a guest (click here) This link is now active! 09:56

Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium wants Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary designation

Fishermen not on board with Hudson Canyon Sanctuary – The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hear a proposal from New York Aquarium, which has nominated the canyon for a National Marine Sanctuary designation. The sanctuary program is run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In the program’s 40 years of existence 13 national marine sanctuaries and two marine national monuments have been established. The sanctuaries are to be tailored to the needs of its stakeholders. (This does not include you, Fishermen) New Jersey fishermen however, are raising concerns that they will be shut out of a prolific fishing ground. “We’re in complete opposition. We’re not going to be fooled by the notion that the aquarium doesn’t intend to severely restrict fishing over time,” said Greg DiDomenico, Executive Director, Garden State Seafood Association. (We also oppose this) click here to read the story 09:48 Little-known-Underwater-Canyon-off-New-York-and-New-Jersey-Nominated-as-National-Marine-Sanctuary 09:58

Mid-Atlantic Council to Hold Public Hearings for Squid Amendment

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold nine public hearings in April and May 2017 to solicit public input on the Squid Amendment to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan. The Council is also soliciting written comments on the amendment through 11:59 pm on May 18, 2017.The amendment considers measures to reduce latent longfin and Illex squid permits. Currently, a relatively small portion of vessels with limited access (“moratorium”) squid permits account for the majority of landings in most years. The Council is concerned that activation of latent permits in the squid fisheries could lead to excessive fishing effort, potentially resulting in shortened seasons and increased catch of non-target species. The amendment also considers measures to modify the management of longfin squid during Trimester 2 (May-August). The Council is considering this action because there is concern that the productivity of the longfin squid stock may be negatively impacted if excessive fishing in Trimester 2 does not allow sufficient spawning and/or successful egg hatching from egg mops. Locations of the hearings with time and date, public comment info, Click Here 17:54

After a record run of squid, local fishermen warily eye competition, regulatory challenges

It was the best single run of longfin squid anyone on the East Coast had ever seen – and it happened fast and was over fast. In two months last summer, June and July, the East Coast-based squid fleet landed approximately 14 million pounds, with Rhode Island landing more than 50 percent of that quota, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration landing reports. “I’ve never seen anything like it. The squid just kept coming,” said Point Judith fisherman Jeff Wise of Narragansett. “I’ve never seen volume and catch rates that high before.”,,,Three policy issues surfaced in recent months that could affect Rhode Island squid vessels and processors. One concerns managing the number of squid permits allowed, an issue perennially raised by the commercial fishing industry. The other two concern the possible loss of fishing ground – one by proposed wind farms off Long Island, and the other from lobbying pressure for a buffer zone in a key squid area south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Big read! Read the article here 07:47

MAFMC & ASMFC Set Black Sea Bass Specs for 2017-18 – Benchmark Assessment Finds Resource Not Overfished & Overfishing Not Occurring

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) have approved revised specifications for the 2017 black sea bass fishing year as well as specifications for the 2018 fishing year for the Northern black sea bass stock (Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to the US-Canadian border). The revised specifications are based on the results of the 2016 benchmark stock assessment, which found the stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. The approved limits are consistent with the recommendations of the Council’s Science and Statistical Committee. The Commission’s actions are final and apply to state waters (0-3 miles from shore). The Council will forward its recommendations for federal waters (3 – 200 miles from shore) to NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Administrator for final approval. Read the rest here 11:23

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meeting in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina: February 14-16, 2017

The public is invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s February 2017 meeting to be held February 14-16, 2017 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The meeting will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Kitty Hawk, 5353 N. Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949. Webinar: For online access to the meeting, Click here  Meeting Materials: Briefing documents will be posted as they become available. Click here 11:10

Catch Share Program Review for the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Individual Transferrable Quota Fisheries

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) is accepting proposals to conduct a Catch Share Program Review of the present and past social and economic conditions in the Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog (SCOQ) fisheries which are managed using individual transferrable quotas (ITQs). Section 303A(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) includes requirements for the regular monitoring and review of the operations of catch share programs by the Council and the Secretary of Commerce. In 1977, the Council developed a fishery management plan for the Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries in federal waters. These fisheries were initially managed using a combination of limited entry restrictions, fishing quotas, and time limits to constrain landings and distribute fishing effort throughout the fishing year. In 1990, the Council developed an ITQ program that was implemented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries. The fisheries have been operating under this program since then. Read the Request for Proposals (RFP) – Closing Date: March 31, 2017  12:21

Controversial flounder plan could get final approval Thursday

A proposal to drastically reduce this year’s summer flounder catch could get final approval at a federal regulatory meeting Thursday morning in Virginia. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Committee is scheduled consider strategies that would reduce the summer flounder harvest by up to 41 percent coast-wide and implement tighter restrictions on bag and size limits for recreational fishermen. It’s a proposal that has been met with widespread criticism in New Jersey—from recreational fishermen, both U.S. Senators, multiple other politicians and even the head of the state Department of Environmental Protection. In August, the ASMFC and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council set the summer flounder harvest limit at an all-time low in response to the most recent stock assessment, and, last month, the regulatory bodies approved a set of options to meet that goal. Read the rest of the story here 21:27

Fluke Cut Rally scheduled for Friday, 10 am at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach

A rally against the proposed cuts to the summer flounder harvest is planned for this Friday morning in the parking lot of Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach. Along with members of the fishing community, the commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection Bob Martin and U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) will lead the rally and speak in opposition to the harvest reduction. Both Martin and Pallone have been critical of the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management for their proposed drastic cuts to the summer flounder harvest. Pallone has been outspoken against the science used to count fish landings and stock biomass that has led those management bodies to conclude that anglers overfished their quota last year and the biomass of summer flounder is shrinking. Read the rest here 12:32

Coral plan threatens fishing grounds

 The NEFMC is working with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to preserve deep-sea corals from the Canadian border to Virginia. Area lobstermen could lose valuable fishing grounds if a federal proposal to close four areas of Gulf of Maine waters comes to fruition. The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) has drafted a plan that would close a span of 161 square miles offshore to commercial fishing in an effort to conserve deep-sea coral there. Two of those areas, Mount Desert Rock in Lobster Management Zone B and Outer Schoodic Ridge in Lobster Management Zone A, are preferred fishing grounds for local fishermen when lobster head further offshore in the winter. The other proposed offshore closure areas lie in Jordan Basin and Lindenkohl Knoll to the south.  Read the story here 09:34

Party boat captains irate over summer flounder cuts

Few things are causing more ire among recreational fishermen than the summer flounder cuts. Some party boat captains have called it “nail in the coffin” measures that are being taken by fishery management that starts from the top down with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It seems that every time we make a sacrifice there ends up being less boats on the water. It seems like they want us off the water,” said Gambler party boat owner and captain Bob Bogan. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is recommending a 3.77 million pound recreational harvest limit for 2017. That’s down from 5.42 million in 2016. Read the story here 18:32

NMFS Final Rule on Mid-Atlantic Council’s Frank R. Lautenberg Deep Sea Coral Protection Area

The Council approved the Deep Sea Corals Amendment to the Mackerel, Squid, Butterfish Fishery Management Plan in 2015 in order to protect deep sea corals from the impacts of bottom-tending fishing gear. Within the protected area, commercial fishermen are prohibited from using most types of bottom-tending fishing gear such as trawls, dredges, bottom longlines, and traps. The rule does not apply to recreational fishing, commercial gear types that do not contact the sea floor, or the American lobster trap fishery. An exemption is provided for the deep sea red crab commercial trap fishery. Vessels may transit through the area if fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use. Development of the deep sea coral protection area was informed by several recent scientific research efforts undertaken by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, including several deep sea surveys and the development of a predictive deep sea coral habitat suitability model. Using this information, the landward boundaries for the protected area were developed cooperatively by members of the Council’s advisory panels, deep sea coral experts, fishing industry members, and other stakeholders. Read the rest here with links to Fed Register 11:35

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Baltimore, Maryland: December 12-15, 2016

MAFMC SidebarThe public is invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s December 2016 meeting to be held December 12-15, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. The meeting will be held at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court, 550 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21202, Telephone 410-234-0550. Webinar: For online access to the meeting, enter as a guest click here    .  Meeting Materials: Briefing documents click here  as they become available. Agenda click here  13:04

Effort to protect deep-sea coral has lobster industry on alert

10042762_h13584979-600x450Over 400 Maine lobstermen could lose their traditional fishing territory under a proposal to protect deep-sea corals in the Gulf of Maine. The New England Fishery Management Council is considering a plan that would ban fishing in four designated coral zones spanning about 161 miles of federal waters in the Gulf of Maine – Mount Desert Rock, Outer Schoodic Ridge, Jordan Basin and Lindenkohl Knoll. Here, often on steep rock walls deep under water where sunlight cannot penetrate, scientists have found dense, delicate and slow-growing coral gardens of sea whips, fans and pens. During the cold-weather months, when 52-year-old Jim Dow usually fishes for hard-shell lobsters in deep federal waters, his buoys will encircle Mount Desert Rock, where the lobster is so plentiful that boats will sail for hours to drop traps there. As a result, fishermen call it the Meeting Grounds. He said word is just starting to spread about the coral protection plan, but he said the fishermen he has talked with say they didn’t even know there was coral in the deep canyons below. Read the rest here 10:16

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Galloway, NJ, Oct 4-6, 2016 – Listen Live!

mafmc-sidebarThe public is invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s October meeting to be held at the Stockton Seaview Hotel, 401 South New York Road, Galloway, NJ. Read the  Council Meeting Agenda, For online access to the meeting, enter as a guest Click here 17:20

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

Search for a Scapegoat: Offshore Trawler Bycatch Suspected in Disappearance of Shad

shadMid-Atlantic fisheries regulators are weighing whether to take additional steps to protect American shad and river herring as they migrate along the East Coast, as some new research suggests significant numbers of herring may be accidentally netted by offshore trawlers. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is scheduled to receive a staff-written white paper this month reviewing whether to move toward imposing tighter limits on the amount of shad and river herring that could be caught by offshore fleets pursuing another species, Atlantic mackerel. The council, which regulates commercial fishing within federal waters from New York to North Carolina, plans to make a decision at its October meeting. “We’ve got industrial-scale fishing vessels targeting mackerel and Atlantic herring in the southern New England area, and we barely have any observer coverage on those vessels,” complains Roger Fleming, a lawyer with Earthjustice. “Some of those vessels can hold up to 1 million pounds of fish. . . . They can virtually wipe out a river herring stock in one tow [of the net].” Read the story here 12:20

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

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Virginia Beach, VA August 8 – 11, 2016

MAFMC-SidebarThe public is invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s April meeting to be held at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, 3001 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, Telephone 757-213-3000.  Council Meeting Agenda, For online access to the meeting, enter as a guest Click here 07:12

Connecticut lawmakers call on inspector general to investigate fishing regulations

PrintU.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, both D-Conn., along with U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Second District, on Tuesday called on the inspector general of the Department of Commerce to investigate what they call an inequity in regulations that puts New England fishermen at a disadvantage. “We write to raise a growing concern of our constituents in the fishing industry who are facing extreme economic hardship related to the structure of fisheries management across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic,” wrote Blumenthal, Murphy and Courtney. “On several occasions during town halls and meetings in Connecticut with many of the fishermen who operate in the state, we have repeatedly heard concerns that black sea bass, summer flounder, and scup have migrated northward, but the state-by-state allocations for these species still reflect historical numbers when they were in greater abundance in the mid-Atlantic,” the lawmakers wrote. Read the rest here 18:53

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is in session in Newark, DE Jun 13-16 2016

MAFMC SidebarThe public is invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s April meeting to be held at the Courtyard Marriott Newark Montauk Yacht Club, 400 David Hollowell Dr Newark, DE, Council Meeting Agenda, For online access to the meeting, enter as a guest Click here 13:40

‘Fraught With Defects’, Connecticut Lawmakers Urge Reforms To Fishing Regulations

excaliburConnecticut’s congressional delegation is leading a renewed push for reform of federal commercial fishing quotas critics say are out of date, wasteful, fail to respond to climate change and unfair to New England fishermen. Warming ocean temperatures are pushing vast numbers of fish like black bass, summer flounder and scup farther north into New England waters, according to the delegation’s letter to federal officials, but old fishing quotas severely restrict how many of those fish commercial boats from this region are allowed to keep. The out-of-date quota system means that fishermen from North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland are allowed to take much larger numbers of those types of fish, even when they come to New England’s offshore waters to net them, according to a joint letter by Connecticut and Massachusetts members of Congress. Read the rest here 20:15

Changing Migration Patterns Upend East Coast Fishing Industry

BN-NY466_NYFISH_P_20160509210030Summer flounder that once amassed in North Carolina have gradually shifted about 140 miles to New Jersey—one facet of the northward migration of fish species that is upending traditional fishing patterns. The move north has sparked debate among regulators over how to respond to changing natural resources that could affect commercial fisheries across the eastern seaboard. For the first time, a group of researchers backed by the federal government is trying to ascertain what the northward movement means for fishermen’s income and way of life. “Some fisherman will end up losing out and some will win big,” Read the rest here 13:04