Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
to hold public hearings on striped bass, black drum in Dover
DOVER (June 6, 2012) – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will hold two upcoming public hearings concerning the commission’s proposed addendum to the Atlantic Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan and on the development of an Interstate Fishery Management Plan for black drum.
Striped bass will be the hearing topic at 7 p.m., Thursday, June 7. The black drum hearing will be held at 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 12. Both hearings will be held in the DNREC Auditorium in the Richardson and Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover.
Atlantic striped bass
The June 7 hearing will present a draft addendum to the ASMFC’s striped bass management plan, which proposes a mandatory commercial tagging program for all states or jurisdictions with commercial striped bass fisheries. It also increases penalties for illegally harvested fish.
These options are intended to prevent commercial striped bass quota overages and the illegal harvest of striped bass – both of which have the potential to undermine the sustainability of striped bass populations, as well as reduce the economic opportunities of commercial fishermen who work in the fishery.
Options under consideration for the tagging program include increased accounting of unused tags, timely reporting of catch, the point at which tagging must occur, standardization of tag type, and development of biological metrics for determining state/jurisdiction tag quantity.
The proposed changes are in response to recommendations of the Interstate Watershed Task Force (IWTF). The IWTF conducted a multi-year, multi-jurisdictional investigation on illegal commercial striped bass harvest within the Chesapeake Bay which resulted in more than $1.6 million in fines levied against 19 individuals and three corporations for more than one million pounds of illegally harvested striped bass estimated to be worth up to $7 million.
The investigation revealed that some of the control measures in place for regulating the harvest of striped bass were ineffective or inadequately designed to maximize compliance. The investigation also found that greater accountability of wholesalers would be difficult to achieve without uniform tags (colors, design) and tagging requirements, valid year and size limits inscribed on tags, and increased dealer compliance education.
Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to comment on the proposed changes by attending the public hearing or providing written comment. The draft addendum is available on the Commission website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News, or by contacting the Commission at 703-842-0740. Public comment will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, July 13, 2012 and should be forwarded to Kate Taylor, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 1050 North Highland Street, Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201, or email email@example.com (subject line: Atlantic Striped Bass Draft Addendum III).
The June 12 hearing will present the ASMFC’s public information document that will serve as the first step to developing a fishery management plan for black drum. The plan is in response to concern about recent significant increases in black drum harvest and the fact that the fishery primarily targets juveniles. The commission also plans to conduct its first coastwide assessment of black drum.
ASMFC is seeking public comment on changes observed in the fishery; actions to be taken in terms of management, enforcement and research; and any other concerns about the resource or the fishery. The public information document is available for review on the Commission’s website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News, or by contacting the Commission at 703-842-0740.
Comments may be made or submitted at the hearing, or forwarded to Danielle Chesky, FMP Coordinator, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, 1050 North Highland Street, Suite 200A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: Black Drum PID). Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, 2012. For more information, please email Danielle Chesky at the address above or call 703-842-0740.
For more information on the public hearings, please call the DNREC Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.
Vol. 42, No. 215