Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, Butterfish
Click on an image above to learn more about the biology and life history of that species.
The Council manages the Atlantic mackerel, longfin squid, Illex squid, and butterfish (MSB) fisheries under a single Fishery management Plan (FMP). The management unit includes all U.S. waters off the U.S. East Coast.
There is recreational fishing for Atlantic mackerel (for food and bait), but the majority of harvest is commercial for all four species, with bottom and mid-water trawling accounting for most landings. Commercial landings are used in a variety of food and bait markets, both domestically and for export.
There is substantial uncertainty regarding these species because their distribution and productivity are likely highly dependent on environmental variables. The Council uses annual quotas based on recommendations from the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee for all four species. These quotas account for both scientific and management uncertainty.
Ecosystem considerations have become a prominent issue for these fisheries. Please see the Council's Ecosystem Plan page for more details.
Note: longfin squid used to have the scientific name Loligo pealeii and are often still referred to as "Loligo."
Actions Under Development
The Council is considering development of a “Squid Capacity Amendment” to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish (MSB) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). This amendment would review the performance of the longfin squid and Illex squid fisheries and consider options for controlling or limiting capacity of the fleets.
The Deep Sea Corals Amendment to the Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) considers management measures to protect areas that are known or highly likely to contain deep sea corals.
The purpose of this action is to consider options for modifying the Northern and Southern scup gear-restricted areas (GRAs) in order to optimize their effectiveness at minimizing scup mortality.
Fishery Management Plan and Amendments
Fishery Performance Reports and Information Documents
Fishery Performance Reports (FPR) are developed every year by each fishery's advisory panel to provide the Council and SSC with a description of the factors that influenced fishing effort and catch within each of the Council’s fisheries. Fishery Information Documents (FID) are annual summaries of the most recent catch, landings, and effort data.
NOAA Fisheries has published a notice of availability for Amendment 16 to the Mackerel, Squid, Butterfish Fishery Management Plan which would establish a deep-sea coral protection area in Mid-Atlantic waters.
NOAA Fisheries is requesting comments on proposed 2016-18 specifications and management measures for the Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries. Comments are due by February 22, 2016.
The following summary highlights actions taken and issues considered at the Council’s meeting on October 6 – 8, 2015 in Philadelphia, PA.
The Northeast Fisheries Science Center is currently seeking SAW working group applicants for Monkfish, Black Sea Bass, Surfclam, Ocean Quahog, and Atlantic Mackerel. Application questionnaires are due by September 21, 2015 for black sea bass and September 30, 2015 for all other species.
The following summary highlights actions and issues considered at the Council's June 8-11 meeting in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
This week the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved an amendment to protect deep sea corals from the impacts of bottom-tending fishing gear in the Mid-Atlantic.
The following summary highlights Council actions and issues considered at the April 14-16, 2015 Council Meeting held in Long Branch, New Jersey.
NOAA Fisheries is proposing to implement measures to enhance catch monitoring and address slippage in the Atlantic mackerel fishery. Comments on the proposed rule are due June 18.
The Council is collecting scoping comments for a potential amendment that would consider options for reducing the capacities of the longfin squid and Illex squid fleets. The deadline to submit written comments is May 11.
Members of the public are invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Council’s next listening session at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 in Long Branch, New Jersey to provide input for the development of a Squid Capacity Amendment.