Illex Quota Working Group

Overview

The Illex Working Group will address two closely related problems. The first is to develop an approach for in-year quota adjustments. The second is to lay the basis for a benchmark stock assessment (Research Track) in 2021. To some extent the data needs and analyses overlap. Each task will require involvement of scientists, industry, and managers. Both tasks are focused on the challenge of identifying appropriate catch limits for a dynamic, short-lived species whose survival, growth and abundance on the US shelf are driven by a complex interplay of environmental conditions. The relationship between removals and stock abundance is poorly understood; as a result no stock assessment model has been developed for this stock.

Contact

Jason Didden, Fishery Management Specialist, jdidden@mafmc.org, (302) 526-5254

Working Group Members: Jason Didden (MAFMC Staff, co-chair), Paul Rago (MAFMC Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), co-chair–population dynamics), Wendy Gabriel (MAFMC SSC, NMFS NEFSC–population dynamics), Sarah Gaichas (MAFMC SSC, NMFS NEFSC–ecosystems), Lisa Hendrickson (NMFS NEFSC–population dynamics), Kim Hyde (NMFS NEFSC–oceanographer in Ecosystem Assessment and Dynamics Branch), Ben Galuardi (NMFS GARFO–Statistics), Doug Christel (NMFS GARFO–Policy), Peter Hughes (MAFMC, MSB Committee Chair), and Anna Mercer (NMFS NEFSC–Cooperative Research).

Status

The working group is finalizing TORs.

Documents

Commercial Electronic Vessel Trip Report (eVTR) Framework

Overview

Commercial fishing vessels with federal permits for MAFMC and NEFMC-managed species are required to submit Vessel Trip Reports (VTRs) documenting all fishing activity and catches. Electronic Vessel Trip Reports (eVTRs), which allow direct entry of data by the vessel operator using an electronic device, have been available as an option for all Northeast Region federally permitted fisheries since 2013. The MAFMC and NEFMC are considering requiring commercial vessels with federal permits for species managed by either council to submit their VTRs electronically. This action is intended to change the submission method and would not modify existing requirements regarding data types being collected. This action may also change the eVTR submission deadline depending on the alternative chosen. The goal of the action is to increase the timeliness and accuracy of fisheries data submitted to NMFS.

Currently, there are several approved applications that can be used to submit VTRs electronically, including free options. A list of all approved eVTR applications and contact information for each system can be found here: https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/aps/evtr/electronic/index.html.

Contact

Karson Coutre, Fishery Management Specialist, kcoutre@mafmc.org, (302) 526-5259

Action Status

Framework Meeting 1 for the MAFMC occurred at the April 2019 Council meeting. After considering Advisory Panel and Fishery Management Action Team recommendations, the Council approved a range of alternatives, including a no action alternative, an alternative to require electronic submission of VTRs, and four alternatives that could change the VTR reporting deadline to 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, or weekly. NMFS indicated that they would likely have an extended implementation deadline of up to a year after the final rule if the Council selects an alternative to require electronic reporting. The NEFMC received an update on this framework action including the MAFMC approved alternatives at their April Council meeting. At their June meeting, the NEFMC initiated a joint eVTR action with the MAFMC and chose to expand the framework to include all NEFMC-managed fisheries. The MAFMC and NEFMC are working together to develop action documents and outreach. The NEFMC will have framework meeting 1 at their September Council meeting. A draft timeline for joint action can be found here.

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Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Framework Framework on Conservation Equivalency, Block Island Sound Transit, and Slot Limits

The Council and the ASMFC are developing a joint framework action and addendum to consider adding the following management options to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan:

Bluefish Allocation Amendment

The Mid-Atlantic Council and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) are developing an amendment to review and possibly revise the allocation of Atlantic bluefish between the commercial and recreational fisheries and the commercial allocations to the states. As part of this amendment the Council and ASMFC will also be reviewing the goals and objectives of the bluefish FMP and the quota transfer processes. Other issues may also be considered.

Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Excessive Shares Amendment

This amendment will consider options to ensure that no individual, corporation, or other entity acquires an excessive share of the Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) privileges.  In addition, the goals and objectives for the SCOQ FMP will be reviewed and potentially revised.

Offshore Energy

There has been recent, growing interest in developing the Mid-Atlantic regions energy resources. The region possesses substantial amounts of energy in the form of oil and gas, wind power, liquefied natural gas, hydropower, among others. Development of these energy resources falls under the purview of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). However, the Council periodically provides input on energy activities that may impact the marine environment and the Council’s managed resources and fisheries.

This page provides information related to the Council's involvement in, and comments on, energy development activities. For up-to-date information about specific projects in the Mid-Atlantic, please visit BOEM's Atlantic Fishing Industry Communication and Engagement webpage as well as FERC’s website.  

Council Comment Letters

Council Habitat Policies - Offshore Energy

The Council has developed a series of policies that articulate its positions on a range of issues that impact fish habitat. Listed below are policies pertaining to offshore energy development. Additional information and a comprehensive list of policies are available at http://www.mafmc.org/habitat/

Offshore Wind Workshop

In February 2014, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council hosted a workshop focusing on best management practices (BMPs) and mitigation measures for offshore wind development in the Mid-Atlantic region. The workshop provided a forum for fishermen, fishery managers, decision-makers, and offshore wind experts to discuss and provide input on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) Draft Report on Fishing Best Management Practices and Mitigation Measures.

Resources