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Maine Coastal News Volume 31 Issue 3 March 2018 FREE ASMFC Holds Winter Meetings - Changes Coming...

Hauled up for the winter and patiently waiting for spring at Billing's Diesel and Marine in Stonington.

ASMFC Begins Preparations for American Lobster Benchmark Stock Assessment

ARLINGTON, VA – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has initiated a benchmark stock assessment for American lobster (Homarus americanus) to be com- pleted in the summer of 2020. The goals of the assessment are to evaluate the health of stocks along the U.S. Atlantic coast and inform management of this species. The Commission’s stock assessment process and meetings are open to the public, with the exception of discussions of confi dential data, when the public will be asked to leave the room. The Commission welcomes the sub-

mission of data sources that will contribute to the goals of the assessment. This includes, but is not limited to, data on abundance (young-of-the-year, recruits, full recruits), biological samples (sex, maturity, weight, carapace length), life history information (growth, natural mortality, mating, shell disease), stock connectivity (tagging data), catch (harvest, fi shing eff ort) and informa- tion regarding the environmental infl uence on lobster life history. For data sets to be con- sidered, the data must be sent in the required format, with accompanying description of methods, to the Commission by April 13, 2018.

The Data Workshop will be conducted May 14-17, 2018 at the University of Rhode


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Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, 218 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI 02874. This workshop will review available data sources for American lobster and iden- tify datasets to be incorporated in the stock assessment. For those interested in submitting data

and/or attending the American Lobster Data Workshop (space is limited), please contact Jeff Kipp, Senior Stock Assessment Scien- tist, at or 703.842.0740.

ASMFC American Lobster Board Approves Addenda XXVI/III to the American Lobster/Jonah Crab FMPs The Commission’s American Lobster

Management Board (Board) approved American Lobster Addendum XXVI/Jo- nah Crab Addendum III (Addenda) to the American Lobster and Jonah Crab Fishery Management Plans (FMPs). The Addenda improves the spatial resolution of harvester data collection, expands the required har- vester reporting data elements, establishes a timeline for increased harvester reporting in the American lobster and Jonah crab fi sheries, and prioritizes the development of electronic harvester reporting. In addition, the Addenda includes recommendations for improved reporting and biological sampling in federal waters. The Addenda responds to two concerns:

1) the current requirements for harvester reporting are insuffi cient to respond to

external management actions; and 2) while the American lobster and Jonah crab fi sh- eries continue to expand off shore, most of the biological sampling occurs inshore or nearshore. In particular, the Board expressed concern the spatial resolution of harvester data is too coarse to respond to fi ner-scale management issues. As a result, the Adden- da improves the spatial resolution of data by requiring fi shermen to report via 10 minute squares, which further divide the existing statistical areas. In addition, the addenda es- tablishes a one year pilot program to explore electronic tracking devices in the fi shery which would address the special resolution and enforcement concerns. The addenda requires additional data elements in har- vester reports including number of traps per trawl and number of buoy lines in order to collect information on gear confi gurations. Finally, the Addenda establishes a deadline that, within fi ve years, states are required to implement 100% harvester reporting, with the prioritization of electronic harvester re- porting development during that time. In the interim, jurisdictions not at 100% harvester reporting should redistribute the current eff ort associated with harvester reporting to focus on active, as opposed to latent, permit holders. The Addenda also improves the biolog-

ical sampling requirements by establishing a baseline of ten sampling trips per year in the American lobster/Jonah crab fi shery and

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encourages states with more than 10% of coastwide landings in either the American lobster or Jonah crab fi sheries to conduct additional sampling trips. Finally, the Addenda provide three recommendations for actions in federal waters. Specifi cally, a harvester reporting re- quirement be established for federal lobster permits in order to collect information from the growing off shore fi shery; a fi xed-gear VTR form be created to improve data collec- tion in the American lobster and Jonah crab fi sheries; and a biological sampling program be established in federal waters in order to address current data gaps in the assessment. These recommendations will be forwarded to NOAA Fisheries. For more information, please contact

Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at or 703.842.0740.

Meeting Summary In addition to approving Addendum

XXVI/III to the American Lobster and Jonah Crab Fishery Management Plans (see press release), the American Lobster Management Board (Board) reviewed a report from the Southern New England Workgroup (SNE WG), approved Terms of Reference (TORs) for the 2020 Benchmark Stock Assessment, and elected Dan McKiernan (MA) as Vice-

Continued on Page 12.

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