NOAA Fisheries Approves the Recreational Harvest Control Rule

Today, NOAA Fisheries issued a final rule implementing a new process to set recreational management measures (bag, size, and season limits) for summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, and bluefish as recommended by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Interstate Fisheries Management Program Policy Board. The approved changes also include modifications to the recreational accountability measures. The new approach is part of a broader long-term effort by both the Council and Commission to improve recreational management of these four species.  The new management program aims to provide greater stability and predictability in recreational measures from year-to-year while accounting for scientific variability in stock assessment and management data, including recreational data.

The new process allows managers to consider two factors: 1) biomass compared to the target, and 2) estimated recent recreational harvest compared to future harvest limits, to determine if management measures need to change and, if so, by how much.

Additional information can be found on the Council’s webpage.

For more information read the final rule as filed in the Federal Register or our bulletin.

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