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Public Hearings On Marine Fisheries Management in February

February 5, 2010

The NJ DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife is informing recreational and commercial saltwater fishermen that there will be two public hearings in New Jersey during February. The hearings are to receive public input on management actions under consideration.

Hearing on Mackerel, Squid and Butterfish
The first hearing, on Thursday, February 18 in Cape May, will be held by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) on Amendment 11 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP).

Hearing on Monkfish
The second hearing, on Thursday, February 25 in Lakewood, will be held by the New England Fishery Management Council's (NEFMC) Monkfish Committee for a monkfish hearing for Amendment 5 to the Monkfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP).

The text of news releases issued by the MAFMC and NEFMC are below. Links to the official releases, which also include meeting information for other states, are as follows:

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Hearings on Amendment 11 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP (pdf)
Notice of Monkfish Public Meetings Monkfish Amendment 5 (pdf)

Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Hearing Press Release

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold hearings on Amendment 11 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to receive public input on management actions under consideration in the Amendment. There are 7 proposed management actions that could:

1-4: Create a tiered limited access system in the Atlantic mackerel fishery
5: Update Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) designations for all species in the MSB FMP.
6: Establish a percentage allocation between the recreational and commercial mackerel sectors
7: Establish limitations on at-sea processing via at-sea transfers in the mackerel fishery (i.e., processing by mother ships)

The scheduled public hearing date and location in New Jersey is:

Thursday, February 18, 5-7 p.m.
Congress Hall Hotel
251 Beach Ave.
Cape May, NJ 08204
609-884-8421
A public hearing summary document, which is the Executive Summary of the Amendment's draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), will be available at the public hearings. The DEIS is available on the internet at: www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/regs/com.html. The document can also be obtained on request from the Council office at the address and telephone number below.

Oral comments can be provided at any of the public hearings. Written comments should be directed to Mr. Daniel T. Furlong, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Room 2115 Federal Building, 300 S. New Street, Dover, DE 19904 (telephone 302-674-2331). Written comments may also be sent via fax to 302-674-5399, or by e-mail to info@mafmc.org. Please include in the subject line of your e-mail "MSB Amendment 11 Comments." All forms of written comments must be received by close of business on March 1, 2010.

Notice of Monkfish Public Meeting, Monkfish Amendment 5

The New England Fishery Management Council's (NEFMC) Monkfish Committee is holding public hearings for Amendment 5 to the Monkfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The primary purpose of this amendment is to address the new requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act that the Council adopt Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) and Accountability Measures (AMs) and manage the fishery at long-term sustainable levels. According to the Act, these measures must be adopted by 2011.

Amendment 5 will also include revised biological and management reference points to bring the FMP into compliance with revised National Standard 1 Guidelines. Further, Amendment 5 will specify total allowable catch targets and associated days-at-sea (DAS) and trip limits for the directed fishery to supplant the current specifications that it adopted for the 2007-2009 fishing years along with an extension provision which will apply for the 2010 fishing year. Amendment 5 contains proposals to make modifications to the FMP to improve the Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program, to minimize bycatch resulting from trip limit overages, to accommodate those vessels fishing in groundfish sectors who would no longer be required to use their allocated groundfish DAS, to require all limited access monkfish vessels to use a VMS when on a monkfish DAS, and to allow the landing of monkfish heads.

A public hearing document, as well as a draft Amendment 5 document incorporating an Environmental Assessment, is available on the Monkfish page of the Councilís website (www.nefmc.org) or from the Council office.

After the close of the public comment period, the Monkfish Oversight Committee and Industry Advisory Panel will review the comments and develop recommendations to the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils on the measures to be submitted as final action for Amendment 5. The Councils will make their decisions in April, 2010 for submission to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). If approved by NMFS, Amendment 5 will take effect at the start of the 2011 fishing year.

Interested parties may make oral comments on the alternatives under consideration at any of the hearings listed below, or may submit written comments prior to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 5, 2010 by email to: monkamendment5@noaa.gov or by mail or fax to: Patricia Kurkul, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930; fax: 978/281-9135. Please note on your correspondence: "Monkfish Amendment 5 Public Hearing Comments."

Thursday, February 25, 9:00 a.m.
Hilton Garden Inn
1885 Route 70
Lakewood, NJ 08701

732-262-5232

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Last Updated: February 5, 2010