Posts Tagged ‘ASMFC’

ASMFC Report: American Eel Passage Technologies

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has released a new report entitled: Proceedings of a Workshop on American Eel Passage Technologies.

The report summarizes the findings and recommendations of a July 2011 workshop that brought together over 120 biologists, engineers, and managers from around the world to explore the current state of eel passage at riverine migratory barriers.

The Workshop was funded by the Commission, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and NOAA Northeast Regional Office’s Habitat Conservation Restoration Center.

The workshop and its report respond to recent concerns regarding a decline in recruitment of American eels and the need to restore this species to historic habitats by providing passage for both upstream migrant juveniles and downstream migrant adults at riverine barriers, including dams.

Upstream and downstream eel passage require unique technologies and considerations. Unfortunately, traditional upstream fish passage structures, such as fishways and fish lifts, are often ineffective in passing juvenile eels, requiring the development of specialized passage structures for this species.

Although designs for such passage structure options are available and diverse, many biologists, managers, and engineers are unfamiliar with eel pass design and operation, or unaware of the available options. Downstream eel passage is not as well understood as upstream passage and technologies need to be developed and evaluated.

The workshop provided a forum for eel passage experts to share and discuss successful and unsuccessful passage technologies and evaluations from different parts of the world.

General guidelines on the design and operation of upstream eel passage structures are covered in the report and examples with specifications are provided for a variety of budgets and barrier types. Current technologies and experiences with downstream passage were also discussed at the workshop and are highlighted in the report. Research needs and questions identified during the workshop are included to guide next steps in improving both upstream and downstream American eel passage.

Proceedings of a Workshop on American Eel Passage Technologies can be found at:

http://www.asmfc.org/publications/specialReports/sr90AmericaEelPassageWorkshopReport_July2013.pdf

source: Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

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CBF Weighs in on Atlantic Menhaden Management

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Hampton Roads Senior Scientist Chris Moore recently issued a statement regarding the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s proposed changes to the management of Atlantic menhaden:

“The number of young Atlantic menhaden entering the population each year has been down for nearly 20 years, and the total menhaden population is at its lowest level on record. The last peer-reviewed population estimate showed menhaden are currently overfished and have been for 32 of the past 54 years.

CBF is calling for changes to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s management plan in order to rebuild the menhaden population, including:

- A 25 percent reduction of the menhaden catch as a first step toward eliminating overfishing.

- Achieving the new target fishing mortality rate within five years.

- Allocation of the harvest at a 70:30 split between the industrial fishery and the local bait fisheries to avoid undue harm to local fishermen catching menhaden for bait.

source: Chesapeake Bay Foundation

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MD, VA to Hold Hearings on Striped Bass Draft Addendum II

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Maryland and Virginia are among Atlantic states that have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on Draft Addendum II to Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass. The dates, times, and locations of the scheduled meetings follow:

Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources
June 17, 2010; 7:00 PM
Ocean Pines Library
11107 Cathell Road
Berlin, Maryland
Contact: Carrie Kennedy at (410) 260-8295

July 19, 2010; 5:30 PM
Tawes State Office Building, C1 Conf. Room
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland
Contact: Carrie Kennedy at (410) 260-8295

Virginia Marine Resources Commission
June 28, 2010; 6:00 PM
2600 Washington Avenue, 4th Floor
Newport News, Virginia
Contact: Jack Travelstead at (757) 247-2247

The Draft Addendum proposes two changes to the striped bass management program: (1) an increase in the coastal commercial quota, and (2) revising the definition of recruitment failure based on Technical Committee advice.

The proposal to increase the coastal commercial quota is intended to improve equality between the commercial and recreational fishery sectors. Although Amendment 6 established management programs for both fisheries based on the same target fishing mortality rate, the implementation of state-specific quotas for coastal commercial harvest (and not for recreational harvest) has prevented the commercial and recreational fisheries from responding equally to changes in striped bass population size. Since 2003, coastal commercial harvest has decreased by 3.6 percent, while recreational harvest has increased by 13.7 percent. Under the option, the Board would select a percent increase to be applied to the coastal commercial allocations assigned in Amendment 6.

The Management Board voted to include a second issue in the Draft Addendum based on information presented at the meeting. As part of its review of the juvenile abundance indices, the Striped Bass Technical Committee recommended to the Management Board a revision to how striped bass recruitment failure is defined. Juvenile abundance indices are an important component of the striped bass monitoring program and are used to determine periods of recruitment failure which can trigger management action under Amendment 6. Adopting the proposed recommendation would result in a fixed value to determine recruitment failure in each surveyed area rather than a value that changes from year to year. Use of either the Amendment 6 definition or the Technical Committee recommendation for recruitment failure does not result in any necessary changes to the current management program.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum, either by attending public hearings or providing written comments. The Draft Addendum can be obtained via the Commission’s website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at (202) 289-6400.

Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on October 1, 2010 and should be forwarded to Nichola Meserve, FMP Coordinator, 1444 Eye Street, NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 289-6051 (FAX) or at nmeserve@asmfc.org (Subject line: Striped Bass Addendum II). For more information, please contact Nichola Meserve, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator at (202) 289-6400 or nmeserve@asmfc.org.

source: ASMFC press release

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ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Assessment Update Finds Resource Not Overfished and Overfishing Not Occurring

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

The 2009 Atlantic striped stock assessment update indicates that the resource remains in good condition with female spawning stock biomass (SSB)  percent of the SSB target and 185 percent of the SSB threshold. Estimated fishing mortality rates (F) in 2008 are equal to or less than 0.21 and below the target (0.30) and threshold (0.34) rates. The assessment provides stock status for the combination of the three primary stocks (Hudson River, Delaware River, and Chesapeake and tributaries).  The striped bass stock complex is determined to be not overfished with overfishing not occurring.

Although spawning stock and total biomass have remained relatively stable over the last several years, stock abundance declined from 2004 to 2007 with a small increase in 2008. The decrease in abundance is reflected in a decline in coastwide landings in 2007 and 2008. The decline is more prevalent in areas largely dependent on contributions from the Chesapeake stocks (such as Maine) than areas that are dominated by the Hudson stock (such as New York). The spawning stock has remained relatively stable due to the growth and maturation of the 2003 year class and the accumulation of spawning biomass from year classes prior to 1996. The latest results of the statistical catch-at-age model also exhibit an increasing retrospective bias where F is overestimated and abundance and biomass underestimated. Retrospective bias may be the result of error in catch estimates, natural mortality, unequal stock mixing, and changes in catchability or selectivity. Analysis of tag data also suggests an increasing natural mortality in Chesapeake Bay, likely the result of the mycobacteriosis.

Recruitment estimates have averaged 12.5 million fish since 1995 when the stock complex was declared restored. The 2006 and 2007 estimates were the lowest in recent years at 7.4 million and 5.8 million fish, respectively. The 2003 cohort remains the largest since 1982 at 22.8 million fish. Recruitment in 2008 of 13.3 million fish was slightly above the recent average.

Striped bass are one of the most sought after species by recreational anglers along the Atlantic coast. In 2008, recreational anglers landed over 2.2 million striped bass weighing 12,310 metric tons (mt). Recreational landings have ranged from a low of 336 mt in 1989 to a high of 13,814 mt in 2006. The coastwide landings in 2008 reflect a 17 percent decline from a high of 2.7 million fish in 2006. Changes in landings have varied by state, with MA, CT, and NY showing an increase in landings and the remaining states showing a 32% decrease on average. Recreational discard mortalities (assuming an 8 percent mortality of releases) in 2008 were 950,000 fish, a 64 percent decrease from a high of 2.1 million fish in 2006.

Landings from the commercial striped bass fishery have been consistently lower than the recreational catch. Commercial landings increased from 63 mt in 1987 to 2,679 mt in 1997 and have remained steady due to quota restrictions. Landings in 2008 were 3,281 mt. Gill nets are the dominant commercial gear used to target striped bass. Other commercial fishing gears include hook and line, pound nets, seines, and trawls.

Copies of the stock assessment update will be available via the Commission’s website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News. For more information, please contact Nichola Meserve, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator at (202) 289-6400 or nmeserve@asmfc.org.

source: ASMFC press release

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ASMFC Menhaden Board Approves Chesapeake Bay Menhaden Reduction Fishery Cap for 3 Years

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

The ASMFC Atlantic Menhaden Management Board approved Addendum IV to Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. Addendum IV extends the Chesapeake Bay reduction fishery harvest cap, established through Addendum III, for an additional three years (2011 – 2013). Under the Addendum, the Board will annually review measures to determine if they are appropriate given the most recent information available about the stock and fishery. At any future meeting, the Board can initiate development of additional or alternative management measures.

The Board’s action was requested by the Commonwealth of Virginia in order to accommodate its legislative process as well as ensure that the current management program is extended while menhaden research efforts continue. Virginia’s legislature, which convenes in January each year, is responsible for regulating the menhaden reduction fishery in state waters. With Addendum IV in place this year, Virginia state administrators can work with the legislature in early 2010 to amend Virginia law to extend the harvest cap without the current cap expiring.

Addendum III established the current annual cap of 109,020 metric tons on reduction fishery harvests in Chesapeake Bay as a precautionary measure while research was conducted to address the question of menhaden abundance in the Bay. The cap was first instituted in 2006 to extend through 2010. With adoption of Addendum IV that cap will be extended through 2013 with the following provisions.  Harvest for reduction purposes is prohibited in Chesapeake Bay when 100% of the cap is landed. Over-harvest in any given year will be deducted from the next year’s quota. Under-harvest in one year will be credited only to the following year’s cap, not to exceed 122,740 metric tons. Since 2006, reduction landings of menhaden from Chesapeake Bay have not exceeded the cap of 109,020 metric tons.

A copy of Addendum IV will be available via the Commission’s website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News by November 13, 2009.  For more information, please contact Braddock Spear, Senior FMP Coordinator for Policy, at (202) 289-6400 or bspear@asmfc.org.

source: ASMFC press release

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Horseshoe Crab Management

Friday, February 8th, 2008

Chesapeake Bay blue crabs are not the only regional species under close scrutiny. Nearby, Delaware Bay and the mid-atlantic coast is a focus of interest as federal regulators consider the fate of horseshoe crab stocks.

Current management measures under Addendum IV to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Horseshoe Crabs due to expire by September 30, 2008. The Commission’s Horseshoe Crab Management Board announced the the initiation of Draft Addendum V.  The Draft Addendum will include all the current provisions of Addendum IV as well as an option for a harvest moratorium in New Jersey and Delaware.

Based on the most recent surveys of horseshoe crabs, it appears that management measures in Addendum IV and previous management plans are resulting in increased horseshoe crab abundance.  A horseshoe crab trawl survey administered by Virginia Tech shows increases over the past four to five years in all demographic groups of horseshoe crabs in ocean waters near the Delaware Bay.  A survey of spawning crabs on the beaches of Delaware Bay indicate stable female spawning activity and increased male spawning over the past nine years.

The board will be considering implications of horseshoe crab management due to multi-species concerns. Despite the positive signs in population growth of horseshoe crabs around Delaware Bay, red knots, one of many shorebird species that feed upon horseshoe crab eggs, show no sign of recovery. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Shorebird Technical Committee is expected to take a closer look this spring at the most recent shorebird survey data.

The Draft Addendum will be prepared for Management Board review in May 2008. Upon its approval, it will be released for public review and comment in early summer. The Board will meet in August 2008 to review input from the Horseshoe Crab Advisory Panel and the public, and consider final approval of the addendum.  For more information, please contact Braddock Spear, Senior Fisheries Management Plan Coordinator for Policy, at (202) 289-6400 or <bspear@asmfc.org>.

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