Fisheries Management
& Legislative Report

by Tom Fote
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association April 2021 Newsletter)

Contents:

Striped Bass

The hearing in New Jersey was attended by about 80 people including staff. That might seem like a large representation of NJ anglers but it is not. There were questions raised by why the EEZ was closed for recreational anglers. I can understand this since many at the hearing were not fishing in the late eighties and early nineties when NMFS was trying to open the EEZ and lift the moratorium for both commercially and recreationally. There is a link below that will take you to my December 12, 1995 Congressional Testimony. There were three NJ public hearings in 1995 about whether to open the EEZ. The first hearing took place in Toms River and was shut down by the Fire Marshall before it began because there were more than 900 people trying to get into room that would hold 125. The National Marine Fisheries Service rented a room at the Long Branch Ocean Spa and Resort. When I arrived early for the hearing Bill Hogarth, the hearing officer, complained about the $2,000 it cost for a room for 900 people. I bet him a dinner we would run out of chairs and that is exactly what happened. I won a dinner! There was another hearing at Ocean County which was attended by over 500. With the exception of a few commercial fishermen, not one angler wanted to open the EEZ. Please read the testimony here. Next month I will provide more details about why we wanted the EEZ closed. At that same hearing, the RFA also testified to keep the EEZ closed.

There will be hearings on bluefish on April 8th. Information is below. The Mid-Atlantic Council and ASMFC will be having a joint meeting on the reallocation amendment for summer flounder, scup and sea bass. Read Paul’s article on this issue.

MAFMC and ASMFC to Hold Public Hearings for Bluefish Allocation and Rebuilding Amendment
NJ Public Hearing, April 8 at 6PM

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) are seeking public comment on management options under consideration in the Bluefish Allocation and Rebuilding Amendment. This amendment contains alternatives to:

We encourage you to visit the Council’s Bluefish Allocation and Rebuilding Amendment web page or the Commission’s Public Input web page, where you can read the Public Hearing Document, the Draft Amendment, and watch the public hearing presentation (to be posted by March 12, 2021).

The Council’s Public Hearing Document is an abbreviated version of the amendment which summarizes proposed management options and impacts. The Commission’s Draft Amendment is a more comprehensive management document that will resemble the Commission’s final amendment once approved. Both documents contain identical options for public input, but each have been developed according to each management body’s differing requirements. Commenters need only to submit comment on one of the documents. We have also developed a Quick Reference Guide which provides an overview of the alternatives under consideration in the amendment.

Virtual Hearing Schedule

Interested members of the public are encouraged to provide oral comments at any of the following public hearings. While we encourage you to attend the hearing that is targeted toward your state or regional grouping, anyone is welcome to participate in any hearing.

The upcoming joint meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Board will be hosted by the Council via Webinar
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM on Tuesday, April 6th

At this meeting, the Board and Council will consider final action on the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment.

Prior to the joint meeting, the Council will also receive an update on the summer flounder recreational discard management strategy evaluation (MSE) at 9:00 – 10:00 AM on Tuesday, April, 6th. Please feel free to attend this meeting if interested. Future MSE updates will be conducted jointly with the Board and Council as this project develops further.

The full meeting agenda is available on the April 2021 Council Meeting Page. The Council is transitioning from Adobe Connect to Webex as its primary webinar platform. In the coming weeks, the Council will post detailed webinar connection instructions, an updated webinar guide, and information about training sessions. Please stay tuned for updates. Once finalized, the meeting materials will also be made available on the Council’s meeting page.

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