February Council Meeting Summary


The following summary highlights major actions approved at the Council's meeting on February 11 - 13, 2014 meeting in New Bern, North Carolina. Please refer to the February 2014 Council Meeting page for additional information about any of the following topics or other agenda items addressed at the meeting. Presentations, audio files, and meeting minutes will be posted on that page as they are available.

Climate Change and Fisheries Science Workshop

The Council hosted a one-day Climate Change and Fishery Science Workshop on the first day of its February Council meeting. This was the second in a series of workshops that the Council has held to support the development of an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) guidance document. The purpose of these workshops is to evaluate science and policy aspects of specific issues and develop "best practice" recommendations for the EAFM document. This workshop included a range of presentations on climate change and the expected range of impacts on living marine resources. 

Mackerel, Squid, Butterfish

The Council considered two actions that have been proposed to address disapproved portions of Amendment 14 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP).

Slippage Framework
Framework 9 considers several management options to address slippage on observed trips in the mackerel fishery. Slippage occurs when a vessel, while being observed, releases all or a substantial portion of a haul without the observer being able to sample the catch. The Council reviewed a range of management options and approved Alternative 2, which would require vessels to terminate their trip following any non-exempted slippage on observed trips and submit notifications of slippage events by VMS (vessel monitoring system). Exemptions will remain in place if slippages are due to mechanical failures, spiny dogfish, or safety issues. Under Alternative 2, slippages for other reasons will require trip termination.

Omnibus Observer Funding Amendment
The Mid-Atlantic and New England Councils have initiated an Observer Funding Omnibus Amendment to address disapproved portions of Amendment 14 related to funding for observer requirements. The amendment could create a framework to implement industry-funded observer programs and also designate requirements and/or targets for observer coverage in the mackerel fishery. The Council received an update and decided to review additional analyses at a future meeting.

Omnibus Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) Framework

The Council received an update on an Omnibus Framework action that could amend the Council’s procedures for developing acceptable biological catches.  The changes under consideration could improve stability when multi-year specifications are developed and clarify how the quality of stock assessments relate to the Council’s risk preferences regarding scientific uncertainty.   The Council will review additional analyses at a future meeting, with the exact timing to be determined.

Framework 8 to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Plan - Scup Gear Restricted Areas

The Council reviewed an analysis of the current Northern and Southern GRAs and tasked staff to continue working on Framework 8 to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass FMP, which is focused on modifications to the Scup Gear Restricted Areas. Staff will solicit input from advisors on possible alternatives, continue work on supporting analyses, and then bring the Framework back to Council for review.

Monkfish Framework 8

The Council reviewed a range of alternatives that were developed as part of Framework Adjustment 8 to the Monkfish FMP. Framework Adjustment 8 includes Days-At-Sea (DAS) and Trip Limit combinations for the 2014-2016 fishing years as well as other management measures. The Council approved the following measures which had previously been approved by the New England Council at their January Meeting:

  • Vessels issued a monkfish Category H permit may fish on a monkfish DAS throughout the SMA;
  • Use of monkfish-only days-at-sea is allowed at any time during the fishing year in either management area;
  • Days-at-sea and trip limits for 2014-2016: 
Northern Management AreaSouthern Management Area
Days at Sea4632
A and C Permit Trip Limits1,250 pounds610 pounds
B and D Permit Trip Limits600 pounds500 pounds
Incidental Trip Limits600 pounds for C permits, 500 pounds for D permits, both apply when fishing under a groundfish DAS

Status Quo* for other vessels
Status Quo*

Ricks E Savage Award

Fentress "Red" Munden was named this year's recipient of the Ricks E Savage award. The award is given each year to a person who has added value to the MAFMC process and management goals through significant scientific, legislative, enforcement, or management activities. Red Munden retired in 2012 after more than 43 years of work for the state of North Carolina, the last 14 of which he served on the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

Next Meeting

April 8-10, 2014 
Montauk Yacht Club 
32 Star Island Road 
Montauk, NY 11954 

Go to www.mafmc.org/briefing-books to view the full 2014 meeting schedule.