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JCAA Alert - Sea Bass Meeting 1/11 - NEW LOCATION

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JCAA Alert - Important Sea Bass Meetings on 1/11/18 – New Location

By Paul Haertel

The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council (NJMFC) will meet at 5 PM on Thursday, 1/11/18 at the Stafford Township Municipal Building, 260 East Bay Avenue, Manahawkin, New Jersey. Then at the same location, at 7:15 PM, our Bureau of Marine Fisheries (NJBMF) in conjunction with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries (ASMFC) will have a public hearing pertaining to Addendum XXX for black sea bass.
                At the NJMFC meeting and amongst many other topics on the agenda, the council may consider opening the sea bass season in February. However, based on public sentiment against it at the last council meeting and now with the recently released preliminary wave 5 (September – October) MRIP numbers showing that we harvested more fish than projected, it is unlikely that they will vote to do so. The problem is that we would have to subtract our state’s allotment for February from our target quota for the rest of the year which could result in fewer days to fish during the regular season. Still, it would be good to be on hand at this meeting to voice your opinion.
                However, JCAA believes it is extremely important to attend the meeting that begins at 7:15 PM as it will only be about sea bass. Addendum XXX will be explained and the public will be allowed to comment on it. We are facing a coast wide reduction in quota from 4.29 million pounds in 2017 to 3.66 million pounds in 2018, despite the fact that the spawning stock biomass is at 230% of its target.
It is time to let the ASMFC know this is not acceptable and that we do not want any more stringent regulations forced upon us for the upcoming season.

Specifically, regarding the addendum JCAA supports:

1.      Regional management as opposed to coast wide management as the fisheries in the various states/regions are quite different.

2.      Regional allocations should be based on both exploitable biomass and historical harvest as this method would better address the changes in the resource’s abundance and distribution.

3.      New Jersey should become its own region as we are a transitional state in which our sea bass fishery doesn’t really fit in with the states to our north or to our south. This option would also allow spatial variation in size and abundance to be taken into account.

4.      The ten-year timeframe of 2006-2015 should be used to establish allocations. This option includes a more historical average of our harvest as well as accounting for the northward shift in biomass during recent years. The other option of only using the five years from 2011 to 2015 would be very unfair to those in New Jersey as its share of the harvest was at historic lows during that period of time.

5.      Provided our recommendations are followed, we support a 3-year management program, otherwise we would prefer just the two year plan.

JCAA encourages all fisherman to come to this meeting and comment. It does not do much good to just attend the meeting and sit there. Please get up and speak even if it is just something simple such as saying you support the JCAA position. For those who choose not to comment at the meeting or who are unable to attend, written comments will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on January 22, 2018 and should be forwarded to Caitlin Starks, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, Virginia 22201; 703.842.0741 (fax) or at (Subject line: Draft Addendum XXX).

Below is the link to the addendum:

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