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Bluefish Management Changes Proposed - Public Hearings Scheduled

 

June 4, 2018
Updated June 8, 2018

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) are initiating development of an amendment to the Bluefish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The amendment is to review and possibly revise the allocation between commercial and recreational fisheries, fishery management plan goals and objectives, commercial allocations among states, and commercial quota transfer process.

The public is encouraged to submit comments regarding the range of potential issues to be addressed in the amendment.

The Council and Commission need public input both to identify management issues and to develop effective alternatives. Comments, especially those submitted early in the amendment process, will help them address issues of public concern in a thorough and appropriate manner.

This is the public's opportunity to inform the Council and Commission about changes observed in the fishery, actions the public feels should or should not be taken in terms of management, regulation, enforcement, research, development, enhancement, and any other concerns the public has about the resource or the fishery.

The measures outlined in the Public Information Document are not a list of "preferred alternatives" or measures that the Council and Commission will necessarily include in the amendment. No management measures have yet been analyzed for their effectiveness or impacts. The public should comment on any bluefish management measures or strategies which may or may not be useful or practical and explain the rationale. Comments may also be submitted on any other issue(s) that should be addressed in the amendment. The list of relevant issues may be expanded as suggestions are offered during the scoping process.

This is the first and best opportunity for members of the public to raise concerns related to the scope of issues that will be considered in the amendment. The public is encouraged to submit comments on the issues listed below as well as any other issues that should be addressed in the amendment.

  • Are the existing objectives appropriate for managing the bluefish fishery?
    o   If not, what should the goals and objectives be?
    o   What else should the Council and Commission consider with regard to goals and objectives in the bluefish fishery management plan?
  • Is the existing allocation between the commercial and recreational sectors based on the annual ACL appropriate for managing the bluefish fishery?
    o   If not, how should the current allocations be revised?
    o   What else should Council and Commission consider regarding allocation between rec and commercial fisheries?
  • Are the existing commercial state allocations appropriate for managing the bluefish fishery?
    o   If not, how should current measures and requirements be revised?
    o   What else should the Council and Commission consider with regard to commercial state allocations for bluefish?
  • Commercial state-to-state quota transfers occur on a yearly basis and become repetitive amongst a few states, especially in recent years (See Table 1, below). Transfers from the recreational to commercial sector have occurred in every year since 2001, inclusive.
    o   Are the existing transfer processes appropriate for managing the bluefish fishery?
    o   If not, what are appropriate requirements for managing the transfers within the commercial fishery?
    o   When and why do state transfers occur?
    o   What else should the Council and Commission consider with regard to quota transfers in the bluefish fishery?
  • Are there other management issues or considerations that should be considered as part of this amendment process?
    o   Have there been changes in fishery productivity?
    o   Ecosystem considerations?
    o   Changes in the fishery or fisheries?
    o   Changes in the distribution of bait fish?
    o   Changes in average fish size or weight?
    o   Changes in availability, effort, and/or marketability?
    o   Impact of changes observed over time?
    o   Economic and intrinsic value of recreationally released fish
    o   Value of unharvested quota

For complete details, please see the Public Information Document available at:
www.mafmc.org/actions/bluefish-allocation-amendment

Two public hearings are scheduled in NJ:

June 27, 2018
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Ocean City Library
1735 Simpson Avenue
Ocean City, NJ 08226
June 28, 2018
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Ocean County Administration Building
101 Hooper Avenue
Toms River, NJ 08753

In addition, written comments may be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on July 30, 2018 (the Public Information Document concerning all details is available here).

Submit comments by any of the following methods:

1. Online at www.mafmc.org/comments/bluefish-allocation-amendment
2. E-mail to the following address: mseeley@mafmc.org
3. Mail or Fax to:
Chris Moore, Ph.D., Executive Director
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council
North State Street, Suite 201
Dover, DE 19901
FAX: 302.674.5399

NOTE: Please include "Bluefish Allocation Amendment Scoping Comments" in the Subject line if using e-mail or fax, or on the outside of the envelope if submitting written comments.

Table 1. Commercial state-to-state transfers from 2005-2017 (light grey indicates quota received and dark grey indicates quota transferred).
 Commercial state-to-state transfers from 2005-2017
Click to enlarge

Figure 1. Time series of the percentage of initial (orange line with solid circles) and final (blue line with open circles) state commercial quotas landed by each state. The Y-axis extends from 0 to 200%, and a horizontal dotted line is added at 100%. Initial quota = quota without receiving quota transfer from one or more states; final quota = quota after receiving quota transfer from one or more states.
Percentage of initial and final commercial quotas landed by each state
Click to enlarge

Figure 2. This Figure combines the information from Table 1 and Figure 1. History of state commercial quota transfers (blue bars, right-hand y-axis; positive values indicate that quota was received, negative bars indicate quota was donated), and percent of state commercial quota landed before (red line) and after (black line) quota transfers.
Combined tables
Click to enlarge

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Last Updated: June 8, 2018