Council & Commission Board Adopt Recreational Management Measures for Summer Flounder, Scup and Seabass For 2003

(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association January 2003 Newsletter)

DUCK, NC - The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) met with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass (Board) this December 11 to approve 2003 recreational fishery management measures for summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass.  The Council and Board adopted the following recreational management measures to achieve the recreational harvest limits previously adopted by the Council and Board in August for these species:

Summer Flounder:

2003 Harvest Limit - 9.28 m lbs

Possession Limit - state-specific

Minimum Fish Size - state-specific

Open Season - state-specific


2003 Harvest Limit - 4.01 m lbs

Possession Limit - 50 fish (EEZ)*

Minimum Fish Size - 10" (EEZ)*

Open Season - Jan. 1-Feb. 28 / July 1-Nov. 30 (EEZ)*

* For state waters, the Board will develop a conservation equivalency system for scup in 2003.

Black Sea Bass:

2003 Harvest Limit - 3.43 m lbs

Possession Limit - 25 fish

Minimum Fish Size - 12"

Open Season - Jan. 1-Sept. 1 / Sept. 16-Nov. 30


The Council and Board adopted conservation equivalency for the 2003 summer flounder fishery which requires the states to develop state-specific management measures (i.e., possession limits, size limits, and seasons) to achieve state-specific harvest limits.  The states will develop management proposals and submit them to the Board for approval by early spring.  As a non-preferred coastwide alternative, the Council and Board adopted a 17-inch total length (TL) minimum fish size, a 4 fish possession limit, and an open season all year.  They also adopted a precautionary default measure of an 18-inch TL minimum fish size, a 1 fish possession limit and an open season all year.  This measure would be imposed on any state that did not develop and implement conservation equivalent management measures.


The 2003 scup recreational fishery will be managed under separate regulations for state and federal waters.  In federal waters, the Council adopted a coastwide management measure of a 10-inch TL minimum fish size, a 50 fish possession limit, and an open season from January 1-February 28 and July 1-November 30.  In state waters, the fishery will be managed under a conservation equivalency system.  The Board directed Commission staff to develop an addendum to the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to define a conservation equivalency system to be voted on during the Commission's meeting in February.  Under this system, the Board voted to have states from New Jersey south retain status quo management measures for 2003 with the exception that the state of New Jersey be allowed to extend its season through December 31, 2003.


In the black sea bass fishery, the Council and Board approved a 12-inch TL minimum fish size, a 25 fish possession limit, and an open season from January 1-September 1 and September 16-November 30.  These management measures would apply to fishing in both state and federal waters.


Among other items, the Council approved Framework 3 to the Squid, Mackerel, and Butterfish FMP that is intended to extend the Illex squid moratorium for an additional year through June 30, 2004. This extension would allow time for the Council to develop and approve Amendment 9 to the FMP that would address the issue of limited access to the Illex fishery.  The Council also adopted the actions taken by the New England Council regarding the approval of Framework 2 to the Monkfish FMP for setting optimum yield and management area catch targets for Year 5 of the FMP's 10-year rebuilding plan and options to adjust the management measures to achieve those catch targets.  The Council also approved for submission to the Secretary its most recent updated version of its Statement of Organization, Practices and Procedures (SOPPs).

Press Contact: Marla Trollan, 302-674-2331 x. 32

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