The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) met jointly with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Board (Board) to select preferred alternatives for the Summer Flounder Commercial Issues Amendment. The Council and Board first considered final action in December 2018 but postponed their decisions until their March 2019 meeting.
At the meeting, the Council and Board approved a commercial allocation alternative which establishes a commercial quota trigger of 9.55 million pounds. This alternative specifies that a coastwide quota of up to 9.55 million pounds in any given year will be distributed according to the current (status quo) allocations. In years when the coastwide quota exceeds 9.55 million pounds, the additional quota beyond this trigger would be distributed based on equal shares to all states except Maine, Delaware, and New Hampshire, which would split 1% of the additional quota. The revised commercial allocations are expected to become effective January 1, 2020 at the earliest with a possible delay until January 1, 2021.
The Council and Board also approved revised Fishery Management Plan (FMP) goals and objectives for summer flounder, which focus on ensuring biological sustainability of the summer flounder resource, supporting and enhancing development of the effective management measures, and optimizing social and economic benefits from the resource.
No changes were made to the federal permit qualification criteria, and the Council did not add landings flexibility policies to the list of frameworkable items in the FMP.
Additional information about this action is available at: http://www.mafmc.org/actions/summer-flounder-amendment. The Council will forward its recommendations to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval. The full Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will consider final approval of the amendment, based on the Board's recommendations, at their 2019 Spring Meeting.
Questions? Contact Kiley Dancy, Fishery Management Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org, (302) 526-5257.