About the Council
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is responsible for the conservation and management of fishery resources within the federal 200-mile limit of the Atlantic off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.
The Mid-Atlantic Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils created when Congress passed Public Law 94-265, the Magnuson Fishery Conservation And Management Act of 1976 (also known as Magnuson-Stevens Act, MFCMA or MSA). The law created a system of regional fisheries management that was designed to allow regional, participatory governance by knowledgeable people with a stake in fishery management.
The regional fishery management councils develop fishery management plans and recommend management measures for the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the east coast of the United States (3-200 miles). State jurisdiction extends from the shoreline to three miles out, and all coastal states have their own laws and fishing agencies to manage fisheries within three miles of their coasts. The councils recommend fishery management measures to the Secretary of Commerce through the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The decisions made by the councils are not final until they are approved or partially approved by the Secretary of Commerce through NMFS.
- Council Meeting Schedule
- Magnuson-Stevens Act
- Standard Operating Procedures
- Navigating the Council Process: A Guide
The Council is made up of 21 voting members and four non-voting members. Seven of the voting members represent the constituent states' fish and wildlife agencies, and 13 are private citizens who are knowledgeable about recreational fishing, commercial fishing, or marine conservation. The four non-voting members represent the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Mid-Atlantic Council develops fishery management plans and management measures (such as fishing seasons, quotas, and closed areas) for thirteen species of fish and shellfish. Several of these species are managed under multi-species fishery management plans because they are found in the same geographic region or have similar life histories.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Plans:
- Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass
- Atlantic Mackerel, Squid (longfin and Illex), and Butterfish
- Surfclams and Ocean Quahogs
- Golden Tilefish
- Spiny Dogfish*
* indicates that the fishery is jointly managed with the New England Council
Coordination with Management Partners
The Council coordinates its management activities closely with several other management bodies to ensure that fisheries are managed effectively across jurisdictional boundaries. Spiny dogfish and monkfish are both managed under joint fishery management plans developed by the Mid-Atlantic and New England Councils. Many of the Council’s managed fisheries are fished for in state waters or outside of the Mid-Atlantic region, so the Council works with the ASMFC to coordinate management plans between federal and state waters.