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. 

Note that due to timing issues associated with updates to recreational data, the Council and Board may choose to package alternatives for these issues as multiple separate amendments and/or framework actions, if some issues are able to be addressed more quickly. 

Contacts

Amendment Status

At their December 2016 joint meeting, the Council and Board received an update on the amendment, and discussed several options for timelines for further development of the amendment and requested additional advice from the Fishery Management Action Team on this issue. 

As requested at the December meeting, in February 2017, the Council and Board received preliminary guidance on which recreational issues under the Comprehensive Summer Flounder Amendment could potentially be addressed through a framework action. The Council and Board then revisited a tabled motion from the December meeting, and decided not to initiate a recreational framework action at this time. However, staff will continue to work with the ASMFC technical committee to address summer flounder recreational issues. As analyses are completed, those results will be made available for possible consideration by the Council in a framework action. 

The FMAT and issue-specific working groups will meet throughout 2017 to develop draft alternatives and begin initial analyses, focusing on commercial alternatives and goals and objectives in the first half of 2017. 

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