At their meeting in Virginia Beach, VA last week, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved a suite of management measures for Atlantic chub mackerel (Scomber colias) in federal waters from Maine through North Carolina. If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, the Chub Mackerel Amendment will add chub mackerel to the Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan.
The management measures approved by the Council include an annual total allowable landings limit of 4.50 million pounds, a 40,000 pound commercial possession limit when 90% of this limit is projected to be landed, and a 10,000 pound possession limit when 100% of this limit is projected to be landed. In addition, commercial fishermen will be required to have one of the existing federal commercial permits for longfin squid, Illex squid, Atlantic mackerel, or butterfish in order to retain any amounts of chub mackerel in federal waters from Maine through North Carolina. Fishermen who do not already have one of these permits can obtain one of the existing open access permits. Similarly, for-hire vessels will be required to have the mackerel, squid, butterfish party/charter permit in order to retain chub mackerel.
The Council developed these management measures to help ensure orderly growth and sustainability of the emerging chub mackerel fishery which recently developed in the mid-Atlantic and southern New England. In addition, Council management will help elevate the priority of data collection for this data-limited species. The Council has already taken steps to address an important data limitation by funding a study on the importance of chub mackerel in the diets of tunas, marlins, and other predators in the mid-Atlantic.
Questions? See http://www.mafmc.org/actions/chub-mackerel-amendment or contact Julia Beaty, Fishery Management Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org, (302)526-5250.