Comprehensive Summer Flounder Amendment


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 to potentially modify several aspects of the FMP relevant to summer flounder.

The Council and Board originally identified several broad categories of issues to be addressed by a "Comprehensive" summer flounder amendment, and have since narrowed the scope of this action by delaying some of these issues to be pursued in a later action. Specifically, due to timing issues associated with updates to recreational data, the Council and Board delayed any issues that would rely heavily on recreational data, including: 1) quota allocation between the commercial and recreational sectors and 2) recreational management measures and strategies.

The current issues identified for further development within this action include: 

  1. Fishery Management Plan (FMP) goals and objectives for summer flounder,
  2. Commercial management measures and strategies, including: 
    1. Federal commercial moratorium permit requalifcation
    2. Commercial allocation 
    3. Landings flexibility FMP framework provisions


Amendment Status

At their joint May 2017 meeting, the Council and Board prioritized analysis of the following issues: 1) permits and latent effort, 2) commercial allocation, and 3) landings flexibility. Other issues, including safe harbor policies, commercial data collection and monitoring, and commercial summer flounder discards, are currently or will be taken up through other actions and initiatives, including possible Commission-only actions, Council-only actions, Greater Atlantic Regional Office initiatives, and other projects.

The Demersal Committee met in July 2017 to refine a draft range of alternatives for commercial issues within the amendment, to provide recommendations to the Council and Board ahead of their August 2017 joint meeting. At the August meeting, the Council and Board adopted some draft alternatives for further analysis and requested additional development of commercial allocation options by the Demersal Committee. As such, the Committee met again in November 2017 to provide additional recommendations on alternatives within this amendment, for the Council and Board's consideration at their December 2017 joint meeting.

Staff will continue to work with the commercial working group, the Fishery Management Action Team, the Demersal Committee, and the Board to further refine and analyze the alternatives. The Council and Board will consider a draft public hearing document and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in Spring 2018. 


Recent Documents

Action Plan

Committee Meeting Summaries

Recent Council/Board Meeting Materials

Older Documents

Commercial/Recreational Allocation Model 

Advisory Panel Documents

FMP Goals and Objectives Workshop (December 2015)

Past Council/Board Meeting Materials, Presentations, and Recordings

Scoping Documents

Federal Register Notices

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.

As indicated above, these issues have since been split into separate actions to expedite addressing commercial issues and FMP goals and objectives revisions while revised time series of recreational data are being developed by NMFS.

Additional Resources

Summer Flounder Stock Assessment Documents

  More Information on Summer Flounder Management