Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Updates

August Council Meeting Summary: The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council met August 8-11, 2022 in Philadelphia, PA. Check out the August 2022 Council Meeting Summary for all the details, or visit the meeting page for briefing materials, presentations, and recordings. During this meeting, the Council:

  • Revised 2023 specifications for summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass (revised limits reflect new commercial/recreational allocations)*
  • Modified the process for the optional February opening of the recreational black sea bass fishery*
  • Revised the 2023 bluefish recreational harvest limit to account for the 2021 recreational overage*
  • Reviewed the results of a recreational summer flounder management strategy evaluation (MSE)*
  • Approved 2023-2024 butterfish specifications
  • Approved preliminary 2023 Illex squid specifications
  • Discussed findings from a review of the Illex squid research track assessment process
  • Received an update on NOAA Fisheries’ review of Amendment 22 to the Mackerel, Squid, Butterfish FMP (Illex Permits Amendment)
  • Received an update on the East Coast Climate Change Scenario Planning initiative
  • Discussed the proposed designation of the Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary
  • Reviewed and provided input on BOEM’s Draft Guidance for Mitigating Impacts of Offshore Wind Energy Projects on Commercial and Recreational Fisheries
  • Received a presentation on the Community Offshore Wind project
  • Bid farewell to departing Council member Kate Wilke and swore in new Council member Ken Neill and reappointed members Peter Hughes, Wes Townsend, and Scott Lenox
  • Reelected Mike Luisi as Council Chair and Wes Townsend as Vice-Chair
  • Note: Items denoted with an asterisk (*) were undertaken during joint meetings with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass Management Board and Bluefish Management Board.

SAFMC Mackerel/Cobia Advisory Panel: The Mid-Atlantic Council is seeking qualified applicants to serve as representatives on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s (SAFMC) Mackerel/Cobia Advisory Panel (AP). The Mackerel/Cobia AP addresses issues related to Spanish and king mackerel and Gulf cobia, which are managed together under the Coastal Migratory Pelagics Fishery Management Plan. The SAFMC has asked the MAFMC to provide recommendations for one commercial and one recreational representative. If you are interested in applying, please complete an application by Tuesday, August 23, 2022.

Hudson Canyon Sanctuary Designation: The Council recently submitted comments on the proposed designation of the Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary. A new web page has been created to track Council engagement in the sanctuary designation process.

Climate Change Scenario Planning: The second of two “Scenario Deepening Webinars” will be held on August 23, at 10:00 a.m. This webinar will offer all interested stakeholders an opportunity to review, validate, and add details to the draft scenarios that were developed during a workshop in June 2022. Register Here.

September 2022 SSC Meeting: An agenda is now available for the September 13-14, 2022 meeting of the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee. Topics to be addressed include spiny dogfish 2023 specifications, Northeast Regional Habitat Assessment work products, SSC work group updates, and recreational summer flounder MSE findings. Briefing materials and other details will be posted on the meeting page as they become available.

NEFMC Advisory Panels: The New England Fishery Management Council is seeking applicants to serve on its advisory panels (APs) for the next three years. The deadline to apply is August 31, 2022.

Private Recreational Tilefish Permitting and Reporting: As a reminder, all private recreational vessels targeting or retaining golden or blueline tilefish from Virginia to Maine are required to obtain a Federal private recreational tilefish vessel permit before taking a trip. Additionally, recreational vessel operators must report all trips that either targeted or retained tilefish within 24 hours of returning to port using an approved electronic vessel trip reporting (eVTR) system. Learn more about these requirements here.

American Fisheries Advisory Committee: NOAA Fisheries is calling for applications for the new American Fisheries Advisory Committee. The Committee was established by the American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act in May 2022 to make recommendations for Saltonstall-Kennedy priorities and grant award funding. Applications may be submitted to nmfs.afac.nominations@noaa.gov from August 10, 2022 until September 24, 2022.

Comment Opportunities

Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment: NOAA Fisheries has published a proposed rule to implement Amendment 22 to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass fishery management plan (FMP). This amendment, which was jointly approved by the Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in December 2021, proposes changes to the commercial and recreational allocations for summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass. Submit comments by September 12, 2022.

North Atlantic Right Whales: NOAA Fisheries has published a proposed rule to modify North Atlantic right whale vessel speed regulations. The proposed changes would expand mandatory speed restrictions of 10 knots or less in designated areas of the ocean to include most vessels 35-65 feet in length and broaden the spatial boundaries and timing of the seasonal speed restriction areas along the U.S. East Coast. Submit comments by September 30, 2022.

Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Excessive Shares Amendment: NOAA Fisheries has published a notice of availability of Amendment 20 to the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog FMP. Also known as the Excessive Shares Amendment, this action would establish limits to the amount of surfclam or ocean quahog individual transferable quota share or annual allocation in the form of cage tags that an individual or their family members could hold. Submit comments by October 11, 2022.

Keep your finger on the fishing industry pulse

The Definititive News Source of the Fishing & Marine Industry