Comprehensive Summer Flounder Amendment

Overview

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC or Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC or Commission) are developing an amendment to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass in order to perform a comprehensive review of all aspects of the FMP relating to summer flounder. The amendment will consider updating the FMP goals and objectives for summer flounder management, as well as modifications to summer flounder management strategies and measures needed to achieve those goals and objectives. 

Based on feedback received during the public scoping process in the fall of 2014, the Council and Board identified four general categories of issues to be addressed in the amendment:

  1. Fishery Management Plan (FMP) goals and objectives,
  2. Quota allocation between the commercial and recreational sectors,
  3. Commercial management measures and strategies, and
  4. Recreational management measures and strategies. 

In addition, the Council and Board indicated that they may also address issues related to discards, ecosystems, and catch monitoring under the umbrella of the categories listed above. 

Contacts

Amendment Status

In August 2015, the Council contracted Fisheries Leadership and Sustainability Forum to solicit feedback from members of the Council’s Demersal Committee, the Board, and members of both bodies’ advisory panels on the structure, content, and use of the FMP goals and objectives for summer flounder. This project was conducted during the fall of 2015, culminating in a facilitated discussion at a joint Council/Board workshop in December 2015. During this workshop, the Fisheries Forum presented a summary of feedback and facilitated further discussion of revised goals and objectives for the summer flounder fishery. Based on this discussion, the Summer Flounder Amendment Fishery Management Action Team (FMAT) is working to refine the draft revisions to the goals and objectives for future review by the Council and Board.

The Council and Board also received an update at the December joint meeting from Council staff on amendment progress and additional FMAT recommendations. Although the FMAT had recommended splitting recreational issues into a separate action due to ongoing changes to the recreational catch estimate methodology, the Council and Board did not take action to separate these issues. The Council and Board did acknowledge that some recreational issues related to allocation, as well as recreational/commercial allocation issues, will likely need to be pursued later in the amendment process in order to incorporate revised time series of recreational catch. The FMAT is currently working to develop a draft range of alternatives and initial analysis. The Advisory Panel will comment on potential amendment issues during their June 22 Advisory Panel meeting

Meetings


Amendment Background

Summer flounder are managed cooperatively by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in state waters (0-3 miles), and by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries in Federal waters (3-200 miles). 

A number of issues and concerns relative to summer flounder management have been raised by Council and Commission members, advisors, and other stakeholders. The Council received significant input on summer flounder management during the Council's Visioning and Strategic Planning process, conducted from 2011-2013. During this process, input gathered from surveys, port meetings, and other comment opportunities indicated that there was significant stakeholder interest in re-examining and updating many of the management strategies and measures currently in place for the summer flounder fishery.

In addition, this action was proposed to evaluate the need for management response to changing conditions in the summer flounder fishery. This includes addressing apparent shifts in the distribution and center of biomass for the summer flounder stock (possibly related to the effects of rebuilding and/or climate change), as well as changing social and economic drivers for these fisheries.

The Council conducted fourteen scoping hearings and solicited comments from the public in September and October of 2014. Comments were compiled and presented at the Council’s December 2014 meeting. Based on these comments, the Council and Board identified four general categories of issues to be addressed in the amendment:

  1. Fishery Management Plan (FMP) goals and objectives,
  2. Quota allocation between the commercial and recreational sectors,
  3. Commercial management measures and strategies, and
  4. Recreational management measures and strategies.

In addition, the Council and Board indicated that they may also address issues related to discards, ecosystems, and catch monitoring under the umbrella of the categories listed above. The Fishery Management Action Team (FMAT) has been formed, and plans to work with the Council and Board to establish issue-specific working groups. 

Additional Resources

Summer Flounder Stock Assessment Documents

  More Information on Summer Flounder Management