MAFMC Meeting This Week
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) meets Tuesday, December 12th through Thursday, December 14th this week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in person and online through Webex webinar. Public comment opportunities will be available throughout the meeting in person and online.
Meeting Location: The Notary Hotel at 21 N. Juniper Street Philadelphia, PA 19107
Agenda items that may be of particular interest to our readers
Tuesday, December 12th
10:00-noon Summer Flounder Commercial Mesh Size Regulations and Exemptions
Wednesday, December 13th
1:00-2:00PM 2024-2026 Spiny Dogfish Specifications
The South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (SAFMC) met in Beaufort, NC last week.
In Mackerel Cobia Committee, Framework Amendment 13 to update catch levels for Spanish mackerel was delayed. Motions were approved to consider modification to the long-term optimum yield (OY) as well as adding an action to include in-season and post-season accountability measures for the recreational sector. Talk has also already been had about “de facto reallocation” and “windfall for the commercial sector” in regards to the possible commercial quota increases which we desperately need in North Carolina. Stay tuned on this discussion as I am certain we are coming up against another MRIP calibration reallocation fight.
Mackerel port meetings were also discussed at this meeting. The council agreed to hold meetings in Wanchese, Hatteras, Morehead City and Wilmington. These will be open forum, questions and concerns type meetings that will be held in April of next year. It will be extremely important for fishermen to come out and talk about what you do and what you want the future of king and Spanish mackerel fishing to be like for you and your communities. I will post more details and information on these meetings at a later date.
Council also discussed king mackerel tournament sales issues. This has been a topic of concern for some time now and thanks to hard work and persistence from some of you who read this and are involved with the process, the council has decided to send this issue to the Law Enforcement Advisory Panel. Hopefully with continued discussion and concerns from public comment these issues can be resolved.
In Snapper Grouper Committee the Council voted to rescind Regulatory Amendment 35 before it went to Secretarial review. This amendment was originally passed in March 2023 as a response to a July 2021 letter from NMFS indicating that red snapper is undergoing overfishing and is overfished and the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) requires the Council to develop a plan to end overfishing immediately.
I am not quite sure what is worse. The blatant disregard from the Council when the Regional Administrator told them in March that this amendment will not end overfishing. Or the Council rescinding their “straw man” amendment, knowing they are already past the statutory deadline to end overfishing.
Either way, both of these decisions were and are in direct violation of the MSA. How much more can our resources take with zero accountability measures in the recreational sector? Maybe it is time for the Secretary of Commerce to step in and make the hard decisions this Council refuses to do.
As you can see there is a lot going on with fisheries management and there is always more coming. With all this going on, we are always open to ideas, suggestions, and any information to help our struggling fishing communities. Stay informed, stay safe, and stay in touch.