Scup Gear Restricted Areas Framework

Overview

This Framework Adjustment to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass FMP was proposed to consider modifications to the Scup Northern and Southern Gear Restricted Areas (GRAs). This action is needed to optimize the effectiveness of the current gear restricted areas (as configured) relative to updated analyses on the impact of the GRAs on the discard mortality and survival of small scup.

A GRA is an area within which individuals are prohibited from fishing for, or possessing, non-exempt species when fishing with certain types of gear.  In November 2000, Scup Gear Restricted Areas (GRAs) were implemented in two areas in order to reduce discards of scup in the small mesh fisheries for Loligo squid, black sea bass, mackerel, and silver hake (mackerel were later exempted from the GRA regulations). Since then, discards of scup in the GRA areas have been reduced (in absolute estimate terms). The size, boundaries, and other measures of the GRAs have been modified several times in response to commercial fishing industry recommendations.  This action was initiated to consider options for modifying the Northern and Southern GRAs in order to optimize their effectiveness. 

Contact

Julia Beaty, Fishery Management Specialist - (302) 526-5250, jbeaty@mafmc.org

Action Status

Figure 1. Proposed modification to the Southern Scup GRA boundary (click to expand map).

At the April 2016 Council Meeting, the Council selected preferred alternatives and approved the Scup Gear Restricted Areas Framework for submission to the Secretary of Commerce.  The Council voted to modify the boundary of the Southern Scup GRA. The proposed change, shown in Figure 1, is based on a proposal developed by members of the Council’s Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Advisory Panel. The proposed change to the Southern Scup GRA boundary is expected to increase the availability of longfin squid to small-mesh fisheries.

In August 2016 NOAA Fisheries announced a proposed rule to modify the Southern Scup GRAs, as recommended by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Comments on the proposed rule are due September 19, 2016Click here for details on how to submit comments.

Documents and Resources