Fisheries Management & Legislative Report

by Tom Fote
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association January 2018 Newsletter)


Summer Flounder

I would like to thank Chris Zeeman for his service as my ongoing proxy for many years. Most of you know Russ Allen who is recently retired from the Division of Fish and Wildlife Bureau of Marine Fisheries. He has become my new proxy and will be attending the ASMFC meeting in February. With all the changes at the Division, I am pleased to have someone with so much experience representing me. It is hard to find a proxy for an unpaid job that requires attending meetings that just make you depressed. Thankfully Russ stepped up to the plate.


There is an old expression, “Don’t poke the bear.” I could not believe that the Council and the Commission were discussing the reallocation of bluefish to go to scoping meetings under an addendum to the plan. This proposed change to the bluefish management plan would reward the recreational community for their conservation by catch and release and their allowance for the transfer of the unused recreational quota to the commercial community by reallocating the recreational quota to the commercial fishermen. I could not believe that anyone would suggest this.

Many years ago, when the recreational fishing community realized that the bluefish management plan was having a negative effect on the commercial fishermen, the recreational community allowed some of the unused recreational quota to be moved to the commercial quota. What started as a small figure has become a constant yearly transfer of 4 – 5 million pounds to the commercial fishing community. In the past few years, the recreational anglers were nearing the allowable quota and this had an impact on the allowable commercial catch. This transfer of unused quota has never been reciprocated even when that could have happened. The commercial fishing community decided to propose an addendum that would give them a larger quota at the expense of the recreational quota, whether or not recreational anglers were meeting that quota themselves. As other recreational fisheries such as black sea bass, tautog or summer flounder have shorter seasons, the recreational community and industry has turned more and more to bluefish. When the recreational community was forced to put a 10-fish bag limit on bluefish, the party and charter boat community lost many customers from out of state. They came from the Amish communities in Pennsylvania and Ohio and other church groups looking to have fish fries stopped coming. They counted on big bag limits to make the trip worthwhile. People asked me why individuals needed such large catches. We discovered bluefish was smoked, pickled, frozen or used in fish fries. This supplemented a diet and made the price of a charter or party boat worthwhile. We could have had bigger bag limits with the unused quota. My suggestion to do this at a joint meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Council and ASFMC resulted in a lengthy argument about allowing larger quotas. The motion failed because NMFS was against it. Mike Nussman and I talked to the head of NMFS and in the mid-90’s we were allowed to increase the bag limit to 15 fish.

The historical split was 83 recreational and 17 commercial dating back to the 50’s. When Al Ristori first went on the Council in 1977, he started a bluefish management plan because he knew how crucial this was to the recreational community. There was a fear that this would become a purse seine fishery and much of the catch would be sent overseas. It is interesting that this is the first time in a long time that the New York and New Jersey delegations were in 100% agreement. The representative from Florida flew to Annapolis for just the 90-minute segment of this meeting to talk about bluefish. His comment was, “Mark this date, December 14, 2017. Florida 100% agrees with the points made by Tom Fote.” The recreational representatives at the meeting all agreed this was not the time to do a scoping document on bluefish. We are waiting for the revised recreational numbers and we have no idea what they will be. We have postponed the benchmark stock assessment for summer flounder because we don’t know how much those numbers will change. Knowing how crazy the recreational statistics numbers can be, we might have NMFS saying that we have been overfishing bluefish for the last 10 years. A scoping meeting should not be scheduled until we get this data. Postponing the scoping meeting was also agreed to by many of the long-time Commission and Council members who have a sense of the history. I also pointed out that there are many people in the recreational community who have always been upset that their conservation effort has always rewarded the commercial community. Many of the new state and commercial Council members have no sense of the history and no understanding of how upset the recreational community would be and voted yes. The new directors saw this as a way to transfer quota from one state to another to use the entire quota. Again, “Don’t poke the bear.”

What should we do? We should be writing and calling the Mid-Atlantic Council and ASMFC members and Congress and explaining the outrageous move by the Council and the Commission. We need to stop this process now, not wait for it to go any further. A yes vote would be a major reallocation to the commercial community based on the historical fishery of the last 10 years. This could allow the commercial quota to go from 17% to over 40%.

Summer Flounder

This is the same good news/bad news scenario I always seem to report. The good news is the rules put in place throughout the states resulted in a larger reduction than the 30% required. The bad news is that means we did not allow the recreational community to come close to what they could have harvested. This had a dramatic negative impact on the entire recreational fishing industry. The good news was that we could increase the recreational summer flounder fishery by 39%. The bad news is that a motion was made by the Council and Commission to do status quo and allow for no increase. In the end, we succeeded in getting a 17% increase in the recreational summer flounder catch for 2018. We got less than half of what we could have had and that will allow for just a few days increase in the season. All this is because summer flounder has not had good recruitment in the last few years. Some Council and Commission members ignored what the last benchmark stock assessment said. Once the spawning stock biomass is this large, it has no impact on recruitment. The stock assessment said there is no relationship between spawning stock biomass and recruitment. The science proves this but some members prefer to ignore the science. When the stocks were 2/3 the size they are now, we had great recruitment. Once the stocks were declared recovered, the recruitment dropped dramatically. What NMFS and its scientists should look at is the example of West Coast halibut. It is interesting to learn that allowing an increase in catch and reducing the spawning stock biomass for West Coast halibut actually improved the recruitment. The other thing people tend to forget is that we rebuilt this stock with ones, twos and threes. Summer flounder is sexually mature after the first year, at 13–14 inches. Those stocks were rebuilt with small fish, not big fish. What used to be a doormat was a 12-pound summer flounder. Now a 12-pound fish is not a big deal. To make the news, you need at least a 20 pounder. Right now, in 2018, we get a slight increase and we are still waiting on the new benchmark assessment. NMFS keeps postponing and I wouldn’t bet on it being done by 2018.

Black Sea Bass

Unlike summer flounder, this is just bad news/bad news! Because the SSC still does not like the information that NMFS supplies to set the quotas, the SSC penalizes both the commercial and recreational fishermen for the last of good science from NMFS. Even though we are 215% above the target, we are going to see a reduction in 2018. There was a chance we could stay at status quo but after seeing the 5th wave of data, we are going to be over. Of course, that doesn’t surprise me. We should be going over every year because of the absurdity of the quota. The available stock assessment and science says there is a lot of black sea bass out there. But the SSC sets a low estimate of the spawning stock biomass and then set the quota for that low estimate. Then we set the rules based on a false low number of fish available, forcing us to go over every year. We are set up to fail every year and then the recreational fishing community is blamed for their lousy interpretation of the science. What really upsets me is that the Council and its membership could take that power away from the SSC anytime. The Chairman of the SSC has made that clear to the Council. But the Council refuses to act. You should be writing to your Council members and the governors who appointed them, telling them to use the power they have to rectify this system so we aren’t programmed to fail.

Island Beach - A Sonnet in the Sands

Without Island Beach State Park, my life would be totally different. When I was in the hospital at Fort Dix, my girlfriend took me to Island Beach State Park to fish. I took many family members on trips to Island Beach. I’m a Brooklyn boy and after I got out of the service, I started going to school at Hofstra. But Island Beach State Park kept drawing me to the Jersey shore. My wife and I would travel from Long Island to attend Berkeley Striper Club meetings and spend the night at the motel at the entrance to IBSP. When I finished college, I encouraged Lynda to job hunt as close to Island Beach State Park as possible. Part of my activism in the beginning was protecting Island Beach State Park and the fish I could catch from the beach. This led me to getting involved with Jersey Coast, with fisheries management and an appointment to the ASMFC. None of that would have happened without Island Beach State Park.

Imagine my delight when Gordon Hesse told me he was writing a book about Island Beach State Park. I gave him some information about fishing there and was waiting for the book to be published. My Christmas present arrived when I received a copy at my house. This is a fabulous book. It covers the entire history of Island Beach State Park and is filled with gorgeous pictures, both past and present. Since I have been going to Island Beach State Park since 1970, I thought I knew a lot, but I really learned a lot. I learned about the rocket testing during World War II, about the pirates, the duck hunting and much more. Anyone who has even wet a line at Island Beach or just goes for a walk or sits on the beach needs a copy of this book. You can order on line at www.jersey or call 888-22-SHORE. I did most of my Christmas shopping there. I would like to thank Gordon Hesse for doing such a great job and George at Jersey Shore Publications for publishing this beautiful book.

Modern Fish Act of 2017

Every major national recreational fishing group and most of the state fishing groups are supporting the Modern Fish Act of 2017. This is a step in the right direction for managing recreational fisheries. We started as step children in the Magnusson/Stevens Act. NMFS was formed as the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries absorbed the Bureau of Recreational Fishing from the Department of Interior. But in the early years, NMFS really ignored recreational fishing and devoted most of its time, energy and money to the commercial sector, even though nationally, economically recreational fishing is as important as the commercial sector. This bill is helping the Magnusson/Stevens Act correct how it overlooked the importance of recreational fishing. Below is an excerpt from Keep America Fishing which was started by ASA. ASA is in the forefront in working for passage of this bill. This bill has moved from the Natural Resources Committee in the House. You can go to the Keep America Fishing webpage for help in sending letters to your Congressmen and Senators. With the mid-term elections coming in 2018, it is time to ask, “What have you done to support recreational fishing in New Jersey?” Their answer should be that they are supporting the Modern Fish Act of 2017. In addition to your letters, you and your clubs should be inviting both your current Congressmen and Senators to a meeting but also reaching out to any candidates. There is a release from Keep America Fishing and a copy of the bill below.

Keep America Fishing

On April 6, 2017, the Modern Fish Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Garret Graves (R-La.), Gene Green (D-Tex.), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.). Officially known as the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017, H.R. 2023 addresses many of the most critical challenges facing saltwater recreational anglers in federal waters.

UPDATE - On December 13, 2017, the Modern Fish Act was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee as part of H.R. 200. A companion bill, S. 1520, was introduced in the U.S. Senate on July 11, by Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Rather than continuing to manage recreational fishing in the same way as commercial fishing - much like the proverbial square peg and the round hole - the new bill is a comprehensive package designed to provide federal managers with the tools and data they need to effectively manage America's 11 million saltwater anglers.

If you need more information, click here to learn more about the issue.

As a recreational angler, I urge you to support HR 200 - the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act.

Since 1976, saltwater recreational fishing in federal waters has been regulated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA). While the MSA achieved success in managing commercial fishing, it never adequately accounted for recreational fishing.

The Modern Fish Act aims to address these shortcomings by improving public access to America's federal waters, promoting conservation of our precious natural marine resources, and spurring economic growth.

On December 13, 2017, the Natural Resources committee passed H.R. 200 which included language from the Modern Fish Act.

Saltwater recreational fishing contributes $70 billion to the nation's economy annually and supports 455,000 American jobs. And yet, when it comes to federal management, our sport is frequently overlooked.

As an angler and your constituent, I ask that you support H.R. 200. Thank you for your consideration.

Modern Fish Act
Press Release - July 11, 2017

Washington, D.C. – July 11, 2017 – Yesterday, the recreational fishing and boating community praised the Senate introduction of the Modern Fish Act by Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). The “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017” (Modern Fish Act) would improve public access to America’s federal waters, promote conservation of our natural marine resources and spur economic growth. A companion bill, H.R. 2023, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 6, by Congressmen Garret Graves (R-La.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.).

“On behalf of America’s 11 million saltwater anglers, we thank Senators Wicker, Nelson, Blunt, Schatz, Kennedy, and Manchin for their leadership and commitment to modernizing federal recreational fishing management,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “Recreational fishing is a tradition worth safeguarding through proper management policies and a critical component of the U.S. economy, with an annual economic contribution of $63+ billion. With a bipartisan bill introduced in both chambers, we are hopeful the Congress will ensure all Americans have fair and reasonable access to our nation’s marine resources by passing the Modern Fish Act.”

For years, the recreational fishing community has been hindered by antiquated policies that restrict access to public waters, hurt the U.S. economy and detract from conservation goals. The Modern Fish Act addresses many of the challenges faced by recreational anglers, including allowing alternative management tools for recreational fishing, reexamining fisheries allocations, smartly rebuilding fish stocks and improving recreational data collection. The bill aims to benefit fishing access and conservation by incorporating modern management approaches, science and technology to guide decision-making.

“We applaud Senators Wicker, Nelson, Blunt, Schatz, Kennedy, and Manchin for working across the aisle to introduce the Modern Fish Act in the Senate. When passed, this landmark legislation will modernize the federal regulations governing access to the public’s natural resources by boaters and anglers,” said National Marine Manufacturers Association President Thom Dammrich. “We appreciate the commitment of Senators Wicker, Nelson, Blunt, Schatz, Kennedy and Manchin to finding solutions that allow for better management of our recreational fisheries and bring federal management into the 21st century.”

“The Modern Fish Act will achieve many goals, the most important of which is getting more Americans outdoors and enjoying our wonderful natural treasures,” said Mike Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association. “This bipartisan legislation includes key provisions that will adapt federal fisheries management to manage recreational fishing in a way that better achieves conservation and public access goals. Recreational fishing provides many economic, social and conservation benefits to the nation, and with this legislation, the federal fisheries management system will better realize those benefits.”

“The Magnuson Stevens Act is designed to be reviewed regularly because the management needs of our nation’s fisheries are constantly evolving. Since the last reauthorization, it has become abundantly clear that the law needs to be revised to provide quality angling opportunities for all stakeholders,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “This legislation signifies that our elected officials on both sides of the aisle recognize the unique needs of the recreational angling sector and the changing nature of fisheries management. We commend Senators Wicker, Nelson, Blunt, Schatz, Kennedy and Manchin for providing a pathway that provides for proper conservation and better management of our marine resources in the future.”

“The Modern Fish Act offers reasonable solutions to a management system designed primarily for commercial fisheries but which has failed to address the needs of millions of saltwater anglers,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “The simple adjustments in this bipartisan bill would continue to ensure conservation of our nation’s saltwater fisheries, while finally establishing greatly needed parity for the recreational fishing community.”

“The Modern Fish Act would fix key issues in the law governing marine fisheries that keep recreational anglers from enjoying access to healthy fisheries,” said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance.

The coalition of groups supporting the Modern Fish Act includes American Sportfishing Association, Center for Sportfishing Policy, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, The Billfish Foundation and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017
Section by Section

TITLE I – Conservation and Management

Sec. 101. Allocation

This section would establish clear, objective criteria upon which allocation decisions could be based, and require periodic review of allocations in mixed-used fisheries--limited to the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils. For many mixed-use fisheries (i.e., those fished by both the commercial and recreational sectors), allocations of harvestable quota for each sector are based on decisions in fisheries management plans written decades ago. Because no formalized process exists to prompt the regional fishery management councils toward examining these allocations, and because allocation discussions have been historically contentious, fisheries managers lack the necessary incentives to reexamine allocations regardless of how outdated and/or inequitable they may be today.

Sec. 102. Alternative Management

This section would clarify that NOAA Fisheries can implement alternative management approaches more suitable to the nature of recreational fishing while adhering to the conservation principles of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA). Recreational and commercial fishing are fundamentally different activities that require different management approaches. State fishery managers use different management approaches for recreational and commercial sectors. NOAA Fisheries does not, however. NOAA Fisheries manages recreational fisheries the same way as commercial fisheries--by setting a poundage-based quota at or near maximum sustainable yield and attempting to enforce it in real time. While this may be an ideal management strategy for commercial fishing, where harvesting the maximum biomass is desired, it is not an effective management tool for many saltwater recreational fisheries.

Sec. 103. Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries

This section would help address concerns with limited access privilege programs (LAPPs), or catch shares, in mixed-use fisheries. LAPPs are intended to reduce capacity and participation in a fishery. While this model has applicability in purely commercial fisheries, it has created significant user conflicts in fisheries pursued by both recreational and commercial fishermen. LAPPs remove flexibility to manage resources according to changing economic and demographic factors, and present an often-insurmountable obstacle to managing marine resources to their highest and best use for the public which ultimately owns those resources.

Sec. 104. Rebuilding Fishery Stock Timelines

This section would allow for modest flexibility in setting rebuilding time frames by offering a science-based alternative to the arbitrary 10-year rebuilding timeframe. Proposed modifications would also afford statutory consistency with recent revisions to National Standard 1 Guidelines. When NOAA Fisheries sets the length of time to rebuild a depleted fishery, it also sets the pace at which a specific stock size must meet its rebuilding target. Yet, the speed at which a stock can rebuild is often unpredictable and influenced by factors outside of fishing. Even minor flexibility with rebuilding timeframes provides anglers with greater opportunities to access rebuilding fish stocks while still meeting conservation goals. Flexibility with rebuilding also helps minimize the negative impacts when rebuilding time frames or rebuilding targets are set using poor science.

Sec. 105. Annual Catch Limits

These revisions would provide flexibility with the application of annual catch limits (ACLs), which, as implemented by NOAA Fisheries, have created challenges with many recreational fisheries to largely to a lack of available data. The application of ACLs when biological and/or harvest data are limited makes it extremely difficult to set reasonable regulations and has a negative and unfair impact on the recreational sector. MSA currently requires an ACL for every species regardless of whether there is good science or an adequate monitoring system in place to support the catch limit. This section would provide modest but important exemptions for ACLs to better align this requirement with available recreational data.

Sec. 106. Exempted Fishing Permits

These revisions will establish specific criteria to evaluate permit applications and formalize an expanded review process that requires greater regional stakeholder input on the merits of each permit application. The exempted fishing permit process was originally intended to allow researchers and fishermen to test gear modifications and fishing practices outside of regulations in place to manage certain stocks of fish. EFPs can enact programs that run multiple years and have significant impacts to the management regime of an entire fishery, and yet the permits need only approval by a single entity - NOAA Fisheries - to be enacted. In recent years, the EFP process has been misused as a mechanism to simply circumvent Council process and/or public opposition to controversial measures that benefit a certain sector or even select individuals within a certain sector.

TITLE II – Recreation Fishery Information, Research, and Development

Sec. 201. Cooperative Data Collection

This section would require the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the science and statistical committees of the regional councils and the marine fisheries commissions, to submit a report to the relevant congressional committees on facilitating greater incorporation of data, analysis, stock assessments, and surveys from state agencies and nongovernmental sources such as fishermen, fishing communities and research institutions. Cooperative data collection will help improve the accuracy of fish stock information and data collection and analysis by incorporating data collected by anglers themselves into fisheries management decisions.

Sec. 202. Recreational Data Collection

This section would transition existing federal funds toward state programs to improve fisheries harvest data. The federal program that estimates angler harvest – the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) – is capable of providing baseline trends in fishing effort. But, for many offshore fisheries MRIP does not provide data at the level of accuracy or timeliness needed for in-season management. By contrast, many states, especially in the Gulf of Mexico, have developed complimentary angler harvest data collection systems to provide real-time and better harvest data.

Upcoming ASMFC BSB Hearing and ASMFC Winter Meeting Agenda

The agenda for the ASMFC winter meeting is below. There will be many important actions taken at this meeting including action on the black sea bass amendment, striped bass and many other species. While I am at the meeting, I always go on line and watch the webinar. It just makes it easier for me to see the presentations. It is a shame that more people from New Jersey don’t go to the webinars. It is important to attend the black sea bass hearings on January 4 and the January JCAA meeting to help set JCAA policy. Please read Paul Haertel’s black sea bass column for his important analysis. If you need a copy of the amendment, you can go to the ASMFC webpage and download a pdf file. If you would rather have a word file, email me.

States Schedule Public Hearings on Draft Addendum XXX

Board Seeks Input on Regional Management Options for Black Sea Bass Recreational Fisheries for 2018 and Beyond
New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife January 4, 2018 at 6:30 PM Galloway Township Branch of the Atlantic County Library 306 East Jimmie Leeds Road Galloway, New Jersey Contact: Peter Clarke at 609.748.2020

Draft Addendum XXX was initiated to consider alternative regional management approaches for the recreational fishery, including options for regional allocation of the recreational harvest limit (RHL) based on historical harvest and exploitable biomass. The Draft Addendum also includes an option for coastwide management of black sea bass recreational fisheries should a regional approach not be approved for management.

In recent years, challenges in the black sea bass recreational fishery have centered on providing equitable access to the resource in the face of uncertain population size, structure, and distribution. Since 2012, the recreational fishery has been managed under an ad-hoc regional management approach, whereby the states of Massachusetts through New Jersey have individually crafted measures aimed at reducing harvest by the same percent, while the states of Delaware through North Carolina have set their regulations consistent with the federal waters measures. While this approach allowed the states flexibility in setting measures, some states expressed concerns about equity and accountability in constraining harvest to coastwide catch limits. Additionally, the 2016 Benchmark Stock Assessment provided information on the abundance and distribution of the resource along the coast that was not previously available to include in the management program.

Draft Addendum XXX proposes two approaches for regional allocation of the RHL in the black sea bass recreational fishery: (1) allocation based on a combination of stock biomass and harvest information, or (2) allocation based solely on historical harvest. The regional allocation options offer advantages over coastwide regulations by addressing geographic differences in the stock (size, abundance, and seasonality) while allowing for more uniformity in measures between neighboring states. The Draft Addendum also proposes an option for evaluating harvest and adjusting measures against the annual catch limit, which aims to reduce year to year changes in management measures.

Anglers and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on Draft Addendum XXX either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. The Draft Addendum is available at this link and can also be accessed on the Commission website under Public Input. To aid the submission of public comment, please refer to the decision tree found in Appendix III on PDF page 23, which outlines the management options being considered. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on January 22, 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 (Subject line: Draft Addendum XXX).

For more information, please contact Caitlin Starks, at or 703.842.0740.

ASMFC Winter Meeting, February 6-8, 2018

Tuesday, February 6

9:30am-12 - American Lobster Management Board

  • Consider American Lobster Addendum XXVI and Jonah Crab Addendum III for Final Approval
  • Subgroup Report on Goals and Objectives for Management of the Southern New England Stock
  • Consider 2020 American Lobster Benchmark Stock Assessment Terms of Reference
  • Elect Vice‐chair

1:00-2:00pm - Atlantic Herring Section

  • Review Technical Committee Report on Effectiveness of Current Spawning Closure Procedure
  • Elect Chair and Vice‐chair

2:15-4:15pm - Winter Flounder Mgmt. Board

  • Review Results of the 2017 Groundfish Operational Stock Assessment for Gulf of Maine and Southern New England/Mid‐Atlantic Winter Flounder Stocks Discuss Potential Management Response
  • Consider Specifications for 2018 Fishing Year
  • Consider Approval of Fishery Management Plan Review for 2016‐2017 Fishing Year
  • Elect Chair and Vice‐chair

4:30-6:00pm - American Eel Management Board

  • Consider Approval of Draft Addendum V for Public Comment
  • Consider Approval of 2016 Fishery Management Plan Review and State Compliance Reports

Wednesday, February 7

8:00-9:30am - Executive Committee

(A portion of this meeting may be a closed session for Committee members and Commissioners only)

  • CCSP Program Update
  • Discuss ASMFC Leadership Nomination Process
  • Discuss Updating Appeals Process
  • Discuss Updating Conservation Equivalency Guidelines

9:45-11:15am - Strategic Planning Workshop

  • Review Annual Commissioner Survey Results
  • Discuss Next Steps in Developing 2019‐2023 Strategic Plan

11:30am-12:15 - Weakfish Management Board

  • Consider Approval of 2017 Fishery Management Plan Review and State Compliance Reports
  • Consider the Use of Fishery‐independent Samples in Fulfilling Biological Sampling Requirements of the Fishery Management Plan

12:45-2:45pm - South Atlantic State/Federal Fisheries Management Board

  • Review Technical Committee Report on State Implementation Plans for the Interstate Cobia Fishery Management Plan
  • Consider Approval of Draft Addendum I to the Black Drum Fishery
  • Management Plan for Public Comment
  • Review Technical Committee/Plan Review Team Report on Recommended Updates to the Annual Traffic Light Analyses for Atlantic Croaker and Spot
  • Consider Approval of 2017 Fishery Management Plan Reviews and State Compliance Reports for Spanish Mackerel and Spot

3:00-4:30pm Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board

  • Review and Consider Maryland Conservation Equivalency Proposal
  • Update on Process and Timeline Regarding Board Guidance on Benchmark Stock Assessment

Thursday, February 8 - Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board

  • Review and Consider Maryland Conservation Equivalency Proposal
  • Update on Process and Timeline Regarding Board Guidance on Benchmark Stock Assessment

8:00-10:00am - Risk and Uncertainty Policy Workshop

10:15am-1:30pm - Interstate Fisheries Management Program Policy Board

  • Consider Approval of Climate Change and Fisheries Management Policy
  • Review Shad Benchmark Stock Assessment Timeline and Consider Terms of Reference
  • Habitat Committee Report
  • NOAA Fisheries Overview of Right Whale Issue
  • Update on Marine Recreational Information Program

1:30-2:00pm - Business Session

  • Consider Noncompliance Recommendations (If Necessary)

2:15-4:15pm - Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Management Board

  • Consider Black Sea Bass Addendum XXX for Final Approval
  • Finalize Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Recreational Measures