Recreational Black Sea Bass Wave 1 Letter of Authorization (LOA) Framework

Overview

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Management Board (Board) are developing a framework/addendum that will consider opening the Wave 1 (January – February) recreational black sea bass fishery under a Letter of Authorization (LOA) program. 

Historically, black sea bass was an important component of the Wave 1 recreational offshore fishery. The Wave 1 fishery was closed in 2010 due to quota overages in 2009, and it remained closed through 2017, with the exception of 2013. At the February 2017 Council meeting, the Council and Board began considering re-opening the Wave 1 recreational black sea bass fishery after reviewing the results of the 2016 black sea bass benchmark stock assessment which indicated the stock was at 229% of the biomass target in 2015. The Council and Board initiated a framework/addendum that will consider opening the Wave 1 black sea bass fishery under an LOA program. The LOA program would allow any vessel that applies for and obtains an LOA from NMFS to participate in a Wave 1 recreational black sea bass fishery.

For 2018, the Council opened the recreational black sea bass fishery for a portion of Wave 1 (February 1-28) through the recreational specification-setting process. It is anticipated that the Council will consider a Wave 1 fishery for 2019 through the specification-setting process while the Council and Board continue development of an LOA program for potential implementation in 2020.

Staff Contact: Brandon Muffley, (302)526-5260, bmuffley@mafmc.org

Action Status

February 2018: The Council met to discuss the future direction and implementation of a recreational black sea bass Wave 1 fishery, including the LOA program. The Council agreed to consider a Wave 1 fishery in 2019 through the recreational specification process, as occurred in 2018, while the development of an LOA program will continue for potential implementation in 2020.

December 2017:   The Council and Board met for the first framework meeting and reviewed and provided feedback on initial draft alternatives for a recreational black sea bass Wave 1 LOA program for potential implementation in 2019. Based on the feedback provided by the Council and Board, Council and GARFO staff will conduct further review and analysis of the draft alternatives to present at a future meeting.

Documents