Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meetings

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and its Strategic Planning Working Group, its Ecosystem and Ocean Planning Committee, and its Executive Committee
will hold public meetings.

The meetings will be held Monday, August 13, 2012 through Thursday, August 16, 2012. 

NMFS Announces Final 2012 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Quotas

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces final quota specifications for the 2012 bluefin tuna fisheries. NMFS is adjusting the ann!lal U.S. baseline bluefin tuna quota that was recommended for 2011 and for 2012 by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to account for underharvest of the adjusted 2011 U.S. bluefin tuna quota, and is accounting for half of the estimated 2012 dead discards up front (i.e., at the beginning of the fishing year). As detailed below, the¬∑final rufe: 

SSC and Bluefish, Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Monitoring Committee Meetings

The Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) and the Bluefish, Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Monitoring Committees of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold meetings.

The SSC will meet Wednesday and Thursday, July 25-26, 2012 beginning at 10 a.m. on July 25 and conclude by 3 p.m. on July 26. In addition, a meeting of the Council Monitoring Committees for bluefish, summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass will also be held on Friday, July 27, 2012 beginning at 8:30 a.m. and conclude by 5 p.m.

NY Adds Warnings Against Fish Near Algae Blooms

New York officials have added broad warnings against eating any fish caught in areas with visible blooms of blue-green algae in the latest lengthy edition of cautions against contaminants in sport-fish. Updated annually by the health and conservation departments, new advisories note microscopic algae are naturally present in lakes and streams but can mass in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water.

Enforcement and Education Replace Access Bans on Barnegat Bay

Bans on boating in some areas of Barnegat Bay NJ that were proposed last year have been temporarily shelved while state officials have turned to educating boaters regarding environmentally sensitive areas, as well as increased law enforcement. Meanwhile, state environmental officials are gathering scientific data on boating impacts on some portions of the bay and collecting anecdotal information on boating habits along shorelines and other sections. With the New Jersey Marine Trades Association taking the lead, NMMA, the Personal Watercraft Industries Association and American Watercraft Association are opposing any undue restrictions on boating in the bay. 

Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (Bluefin)

NMFS has scheduled an additional scoping meeting for Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan, which will focus on management issues related to Atlantic bluefin tuna. A Notice of Intent published on April 23, 2012, which notified the public that NMFS intended to hold public scoping meetings and that it anticipated preparing a draft environmental impact statement. That Federal Register document provided the public with specific dates and times for four scheduled scoping meetings. This notice notifies the public of another scoping meeting on Amendment 7 in Portland, ME.

DATES: The Portland, ME, scoping meeting will be held on June 18, 2012.

Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass, and Bluefish Advisory Panels Meeting

Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (Council) Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass, and Bluefish Advisory Panels (APs).

The meeting will be held on June 27, 2012 at 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Final Rule for the 2012 Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Recreational Fisheries in Federal Waters

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) implements management measures for the 2012 summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass recreational fisheries in Federal waters. These actions are necessary to comply with regulations implementing the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and to ensure compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Recreational management measures are intended to prevent overfishing the summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass resources in 2012.

Effective May 18, 2012

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the 2012 recreational management measures document, including the Supplemental Environmental Assessment, Regulatory Impact Review, and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (SEA/RIR/IRFA) and other supporting documents for the recreational management measures are available from Dr. Christopher M. Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Suite 201, 800 North State Street, Dover, DE 19901. These documents are also accessible via the Internet at http://www.nero.noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Moira Kelly, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281-9218.

2012 Recreational Management Measures

Meeting of Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Mid-Atlantic

The SSC will meet Wednesday and Thursday, May 23-24, 2012 beginning at 10 a.m. on May 23 and conclude by 4 p.m. on May 24.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Pier V Hotel, 711 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21202; telephone: (410) 539-2000.


Swordfish Regulatory Changes

NMFS proposes regulatory changes to the adjusted quotas and minimum sizes that would affect commercial and recreational vessels that catch Atlantic swordfish.

North and South Atlantic swordfish are managed under the dual authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and ATCA, which authorizes the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to promulgate regulations as may be necessary and appropriate to implement ICCAT recommendations. The authority to issue regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and ATCA has been delegated from the Secretary to the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA). On October 2, 2006, NMFS published in the Federal Register final regulations, effective November 1, 2006, implementing the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP), which details management measures for Atlantic HMS fisheries. 

ICCAT is responsible for the conservation of tuna and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. ICCAT recommendations are binding on Contracting Parties, non-Contracting Cooperating Parties, Entities and Fishing Entities (CPCs), unless Parties object pursuant to the treaty. All ICCAT recommendations are available on the ICCAT Web site at http://www.iccat.int/en/. In November 2011, ICCAT adopted Recommendation 11-02 for North Atlantic swordfish. This recommendation maintains the U.S. baseline quota of 2,937.6 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) for 2012 and 2013. Previous North Atlantic swordfish recommendations included a quota transfer of 18.8 mt dw from the United States to Canada; however, Recommendation 11-02 eliminates this quota transfer and includes a transfer of 112.8 mt dw from the United States to Morocco to support joint scientific research and Morocco's efforts to eliminate the use of driftnets. Recommendation 11-02 also includes a provision for the submission of annual swordfish management plans and a change to the underharvest carryover provisions. The recommendation limits the amount of underharvested quota that can be carried over by a CPC allocated a baseline quota greater than 500 mt to 25 percent of the baseline quota.