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ASMFC Black Sea Bass Board Ap- proves Draft Addendum XXIII for Public Comment: Addendum to Address 2013 Recreational Fishery

BALTIMORE – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Management Board met in Baltimore last week and approved two actions with regards to the 2013 recreational black sea bass fi shery. Specifi cally, it approved opening the black sea bass recreational fi shery for January and February with a 15 fi sh bag limit and a 12.5 inch minimum size limit and released Draft Addendum XXIII to the Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass FMP for public comment. The Draft Addendum proposes the use of state-by-state or regional measures to manage the 2013 black sea bass recreational fi shery.

The management plan for black sea bass does not provide an opportunity to craft recreational measures by regions or state, it only allows for a coastwide measure. Due to the wide geographic range of this species, the application of coastwide minimum size, possession limit, and season restrictions may not affect every area involved in the fi shery the same way. States were concerned the coastwide regulations disproportionate- ly impact states within the management unit; therefore, they approved Addendum XXI and XXII which allowed for state-by-state measures in 2011 and 2012 for state waters only. Because Addendum XXII expires at the end of 2012 and the Board continues to have the same concerns for the 2013 fi shing season, the Board initiated Draft Addendum XXIII. The Draft Addendum is intended to provide the necessary management fl exi-

bility to mitigate potential disproportionate impacts on states that can result from coast- wide measures for 2013.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum. The Draft Addendum can be obtained via the Commission’s website at under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at 703.842.0740. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on February 6, 2013 and should be forwarded to Toni Kerns, Acting ISFMP Director, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at (Subject line: Black Sea Bass).


Council Considering a Process for Allow- ing sectors to Access Year-round Ground- fi sh Closed Areas in Fishing Year 2013 The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is developing Framework Adjustment 48 (FW 48) to the New England Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for May 1, 2013.

Current regulations under the FMP list categories of exemptions that cannot be requested or considered, including access to year-round closed areas. FW 48 includes a draft option that would allow sectors to request exemptions in their operations plans to fi sh in portions of the year-round ground- fi sh mortality closure areas. This bulletin is a reminder to carefully weigh your decision to join a sector or remain in the common pool for fi shing year 2013. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS When will we know whether or not the closed areas are being opened? The Council will decide in November whether to allow

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sectors to request exemptions to fi sh in the closed areas. If the Council approves allow- ing access to closed areas, we will make the fi nal decision about opening portions of closed areas next year, in response to sector exemption requests.

What parts of closed areas would

be open to fi shing? Habitat areas within the mortality closure areas would remain closed. Any possible opening of the remain- ing mortality closure will be determined based on specifi c sector requests and consid- eration of impacts to groundfi sh spawning, other managed fi sheries, protected species, etc.

Who would be allowed to fi sh in the closed areas? Only members of sectors would be allowed to fi sh in the closed areas. Common pool vessels will not be able to fi sh in the closed areas.

Whom do I contact to join a sector? Please visit the following website for sector contact information: http://www.nero.noaa. gov/sfd/sectordocs/SectorContacts.pdf. You may also call the NMFS Sector

Team at 978-281-9315 if you have questions about this announcement.

What is the deadline to join a sector? Sector rosters are due March 29, 2013. If you wish to join a sector, you will need to contact the sector before this deadline. * * * * *


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins an- nounced that an emergency supplemental bill currently being considered by the U.S. Senate includes $150 million to aid strug- gling ground fi shermen in the Northeast, including Maine, and other areas of the country.

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partment declared a disaster in the Northeast groundfi shing industry. This declaration opened the door for Congress to appropriate funding to help alleviate the fi nancial hard- ship caused by dwindling fi sh stock. Senators Snowe and Collins wrote to leaders on the Senate Commerce Appropri- ations Committee earlier this month urging that funding be included in any emergency supplemental appropriations bill developed in response to Superstorm Sandy, which hit the East Coast in late October. An effort to limit the number of fi shing communities that are eligible to receive this funding, which would have made many Maine communities ineligible, failed in the Senate.

“I have been fi ghting for Maine’s hard-

working fi shermen throughout my career in Congress and I was pleased to once again support our great state’s iconic fishing industry today as they confront perilous challenges to both supporting their families and maintaining our working waterfronts,” said Senator Snowe. “Make no mistake, our fi shermen have operated within reduced catch limits and it is outside their control that key stocks such as cod, haddock, and yellowtail, have not returned to the levels that were estimated. In the short-term it is imperative that we lower operating costs for our groundfi shing fl eet in New England in order to retain key infrastructure. Simultane- ously, we must investigate the fundamental reasons why New England’s groundfi shery has experienced these unprecedented chal- lenges and invest in science in order to more effectively manage our groundfi shery for future fi shing years and a new generation of fi shermen.”

“There are approximately 45 Maine- based vessels actively fi shing with federal groundfi sh permits. Last year, more than 5 million pounds of groundfi sh, with a dock- side value approaching $5.8 million, were landed in Maine,” said Senator Collins. “The requested funding would be used to provide both immediate economic relief to the region’s struggling groundfi sh industry, and to make targeted investments that will allow the fl eet to survive and become more sustainable in the years ahead.”

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