January 2013 MAINE COASTAL NEWS Page 13. Commercial Fishing News
low number of harbor porpoise takes while continuing to provide healthy and sustain- able seafood for the world.
MISCELLANEOUS COMMERCIAL FISHING NEWS
RIVER HERRING NEWS River herring (alewife and blue back herring), range along the east coast and have supported one of the oldest fi sheries in the United States. They also provide food for commercial fi sh like striped bass, cod and haddock.
Over the years, their populations have declined due to overfi shing in the late 1800s through the 1960s, habitat loss and other factors. NOAA considers river herring to be “Species of Concern” and “Candidate Species.” Our staff are working on a number of management measures and habitat pro- tection and restoration efforts to help protect and recover river herring populations. In response to a petition to list these species under the federal Endangered Species Act, we also are in the midst of a formal review to determine whether listing these species would be appropriate.
Because river herring are so widely distributed and spend time in both fresh water and the ocean, NOAA works with a variety of partners -- federal and state agen- cies, non-profi t organizations, commercial and recreational fi shermen and others -- to conduct research and develop management measures for these species.
Current Northeast activities to protect and restore river herring populations: NOAA Fisheries’ response to the petition to list river herring under the Endangered Species Act; The New England Fishery Management Council’s Amendment 5 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan; The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Coun- cil’s Amendment 14 to Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfi sh Fishery Management Plan; and The Atlantic States Marine Fish- eries Commission’s assessment of river herring.
Current habitat restoration projects to support river herring populations include: Penobscot River dam removal in Maine; Bride Brook river restoration in Connecti- cut; Stony Brook marsh restoration in Massachusetts; Pawcatuck river restoration in Rhode Island; and Herring Recovery at Plymouth Rock.
ASMFC Northern Shrimp Section Sets Specifi cations for 2013 Fishery PORTLAND – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section approved a total allowable catch (TAC) of 625 mt, representing a 72% re- duction from last year’s quota. The TAC is further subdivided into a research set aside of 5.44 mt, a trawl fi shery TAC of 539.02 mt, and a trap fi shery TAC of 80.54 mt. Each fi shery will close when 85% of its TAC is projected to be reached and a 4-day advance notice will be issued prior to the closure of each fi shery. The trawl fi shery will begin on Jan 22, 2013, with two landing days (Mon- day and Wednesday) and no trip limit. The trap fi shery will begin on February 5, 2013, with six landing days (everyday but Sunday) and an 800 lb trip limit.
The Section considered several factors in setting the specifi cations for the 2013 fishery. These include (1) the northern shrimp stock is overfi shed and overfi shing has been occurring for the last three years; (2) all abundance surveys are exhibiting a downward trend (since 2007 biomass has steadily declined and is currently at its lowest level); and (3) poor recruitment (shrimp entering into the fi shery) in 2010 and 2011. Northern shrimp recruitment is related to both spawning biomass and ocean temperatures, with higher spawning biomass and colder temperatures producing stronger recruitment. Ocean temperatures in the western Gulf of Maine shrimp habitat have been increasing in recent years and have reached or approached unprecedented highs in the past three years. This suggests an increasingly inhospitable environment for northern shrimp and indicates the critical need for protecting spawning biomass. The northern shrimp fi shery is jointly regulated by Massachusetts, New Hamp- shire, and Maine through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section. The cooperative manage- ment program has been in place since 1972 and is currently managed under Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Northern Shrimp. For more information, please contact Michael Waine, FMP Coordi- nator, at 703.842.0740 or <mwaine@asmfc. org>.
ASMFC Approves Atlantic Menhaden Amendment 2 BALTIMORE – The Atlantic States Ma- rine Fisheries Commission has approved Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. The Amendment establishes a 170,800 MT total allowable catch (TAC) beginning in 2013 and continuing until completion of, and Board action on, the next benchmark stock assessment, scheduled for 2014. The TAC represents a 20% reduction from the average of landings from 2009-2011 and an approximately 25% reduction from 2011 levels. The Board also adopted new biolog- ical reference points for biomass based on maximum spawning potential (MSP), with the goal of increasing abundance, spawning stock biomass, and menhaden availability as a forage species.
“Through the selection of the MSP- based reference points, beginning with adoption of Addendum V in 2011 and continuing today, the Board has made a conscious decision to address the ecosystem services provided by Atlantic menhaden,” stated Board Chair Louis Daniel of North Carolina. “Given the stock is experiencing overfi shing and is most likely overfi shed based on the newly adopted reference points,
it was incumbent upon the Board to reduce landings in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the resource and the fi sher- ies that depend on it.” The Amendment allocates the TAC on a state-by-state basis based on landings histo- ry of the fi shery from 2009-2011; allocation will be revisited three years after implemen- tation. Further, it reduces the Chesapeake Bay reduction fi shery harvest cap by 20% (this is an adjustment of cap which was in place since 2006). States will be required to close their fi sheries when the state-specifi c portion of the TAC has been reached; any overages must be paid back the following year. The Amendment includes provisions to allow for the transfer of quota between states and a bycatch allowance of 6,000 pounds for non-directed fi sheries that are operating after a state TAC has been landed. The Amendment also establishes require- ments for timely reporting and improved biological monitoring.
For more information, please contact
Mike Waine, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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