Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Excessive Shares Amendment


The Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog (SCOQ) Excessive Shares Amendment will consider options to ensure that no individual, corporation, or other entity acquires an excessive share of the Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) privileges. The goals and objectives for the SCOQ FMP will also be reviewed and potentially revised. In addition, the multi-year specifications process may be revised to reflect the current stock assessment schedule.

Excessive Shares: National Standard 4 (NS4) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) mandates that when fishing privileges are allocated among various United States fishermen such allocation must be "carried out in such manner that no particular individual, corporation, or other entity acquires an excessive share of such privileges.”  To be consistent with NS4, the Council is required to develop measures which specifically define what constitutes an excessive share in the SCOQ ITQ program. This could be expressed as a percent cap or other measure. 

Goals and Objectives: The Council is initiating a process to develop revised goals and objectives for the SCOQ FMP in support of the 2014-2018 Strategic Plan and 2017 Implementation Plan, which identify reviewing and updating FMP goals and objectives as a Council priority. This initiative will allow the Council to revisit and “refresh” FMP goals and objectives to ensure that they are consistent with today’s fishery and management context. 

Multi-Year Specifications: To be consistent with the current stock assessment schedule approved by the Northeast Regional Coordinating Committee (NRCC), the Council is considering revisions to the current process that allows specifications to be set for up to 3 years.


José Montañez, (302) 526-5258,

Amendment Development Timeline

Updates are listed below in reverse chronological order.

August-September 2019: The Council will hold a series of public hearings on this amendment. The final public hearing document is available here.

June 2019: The Council reviewed a draft public hearing document at the June 2019 Council Meeting.

March 2019: The Fishery Management Action Team (FMAT) completed analysis of alternatives and developed the public hearing document.

June 2018: The Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Committee reviewed and approved a range of alternatives for further FMAT work and consideration by the Council.

October 2017: The Council reviewed and approved the revised goals and objectives for inclusion in a public hearing document for the SCOQ Excessive Share Amendment.

September 2017: The FMAT reviewed the draft synthesis document (prepared by the Fisheries Forum) and provided guidance and/or specific recommendations to support the Council’s discussion of revised FMP goals and objectives.

August 2017: The Council considered scoping comments at the August 2017 Council Meeting and agreed to proceed with development of a range of alternatives.

July 2017: The Council held four scoping hearings and accepted written comments to gather public input on the Excessive Shares Amendment.