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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shad & River Herring

ASMFC Shad & River Herring Board Approves Draft Amendment 3 for Public Comment

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Shad and River Herring Management Board has approved for public comment Draft Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Shad and River Herring. The Draft Amendment proposes a suite of monitoring and management measures to protect, enhance, and restore American shad stocks to sustainable levels.

The Draft Amendment was developed in response to the findings of the 2007 benchmark stock assessment for American shad, which indicates that American shad stocks are currently at all-time lows and do not appear to be recovering. It identified the primary causes for the continued stock declines as a combination of excessive total mortality, habitat loss and degradation, and migration and habitat access impediments. Although improvement has been seen in a few stocks, many remain severely depressed compared to historic levels.

The Draft Amendment proposes modification to current coast-wide commercial and recreational management measures. Commercial management options include reducing harvest, closing fisheries with exceptions for systems with a sustainable fishery, closing fisheries on mixed stocks, and a coast-wide moratorium. Recreational fisheries management options include reducing harvest, implementing a licensing or permitting program, closing fisheries with exceptions for fisheries with a sustainable system, allowing a catch and release fishery only, and a coast-wide moratorium.

To improve data collection, the Draft Amendment proposes increased fisheries-independent and dependent monitoring. This includes monitoring of juvenile and adult American shad stocks; hatchery production; and commercial, recreational, and by-catch fisheries. Additionally, the Draft Amendment proposes increased coordination of monitoring activities for river systems under shared jurisdiction, as well as between freshwater and marine agencies.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on Draft Amendment 3, either through attending public hearings or providing written comments (a subsequent press release on scheduled public hearings will be released once the hearings have been finalized). Copies of Draft Amendment will be available by August 28 and can be obtained by contacting the Commission at (202) 289-6400 or via the Commission's website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM on October 16, 2009 and should be forwarded to Kate Taylor, FMP Coordinator, 1444 'Eye' Street, NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 289-6051 (FAX) or at comments@asmfc.org (Subject line: Draft Amendment 3).