January 8, 2018 — The following was released by NOAA Fisheries:
NOAA Fisheries seeks comments on a proposed recreational February 2018 black sea bass fishery. The proposed action would provide additional recreational black sea bass fishing opportunities.
In 2015, black sea bass was the second most landed finfish in the Atlantic U.S. recreational fishery (12.9 million fish). The December 2016 black sea bass stock assessment determined that the black sea bass stock north of Cape Hatteras is not overfished, overfishing is not occurring, and biomass was 129% above the biomass target. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission considered and discussed several options to increase recreational fishing access for black sea bass in the winter when fewer other recreational species are available to target.
Both the Council and Commission approved the recommendation to create a 2018 winter recreational season for the month of February only. The existing recreational measures of a 15 fish per angler possession limit and a 12.5-inch minimum fish size would be maintained for this additional season.
The comment period is open through January 23, 2018.
Please submit your comments online through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal or by mailing them to John Bullard, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope: “Comments on the Proposed Rule for 2018 Black Sea Bass February Recreational Fishery.”
Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, at 978-281-9175