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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Atlantic Menhaden Management Board Meeting

Meeting Proceedings to be Broadcast via Internet

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Atlantic Menhaden Management Board will meet on December 14, 2012 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM in Baltimore, Maryland to consider approval of Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. The meeting will take place at the Best Western Plus Hotel and Conference Center, Chesapeake Room, 5625 O’Donnell Street, Baltimore, Maryland; 410.633.9500. The Business Session of the Commission will meet immediately following the Atlantic Menhaden Board meeting to consider final approval of Amendment 2. Meeting materials are now available at http://www.asmfc.org/meetings/atlMenhadenBoardMaterials_Dec14_2012.pdf. Supplemental materials will be posted to the Commission website on the Meetings page prior to the meeting; a subsequent press release will announce their availability.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting or listen to the proceedings via webinar. While the meeting venue will be able to accommodate a large audience (~175 seats), interested parties are invited to listen to the proceedings via the Internet Webinar (both presentations/motions and audio) or conference call (long distance charges will apply). Additional details on the webinar and conference call will be released later this week. Please note that since the Commission has already sought public comment on the main agenda items for the meeting (received 128,333 comments and held 13 public hearings from Maine through North Carolina), there will be limited opportunity for public comment at the meeting. Public comment may be accepted on issues that were not addressed during the public comment process or items that are not on the agenda.

At the meeting, the Board will select the final measures to be included in the Amendment as well as an implementation timeline. Draft Amendment 2, which was available for public comment from September 14 – November 16, 2012, presents a suite of options to manage and monitor the stock in both the short and long-term. These include options to end overfishing; change the biomass reference points to match the fishing mortality reference points; and establish a specification process to set and allocate total allowable catch (TAC), including procedures to close the fishery when a certain percentage of the TAC has been projected to be landed. It presents accountability measures to address quota transfers, rollovers, and overage payback, as well as options to allow for a specified amount of the TAC to be set aside for small scale fisheries and episodic events. To address monitoring and data collection needs, the Draft Amendment also presents options for timely quota monitoring and the collection of biological data through catch sampling.

Draft Amendment 2 responds to the findings of both the 2010 benchmark stock assessment and the 2012 stock assessment update that indicate the stock is experiencing overfishing but may or may not be overfished depending on the reference points chosen. The stock is not overfished based on the current reference points used in the most recent assessment. Given that the stock is experiencing overfishing, the Draft Amendment’s immediate goals are to take steps to end overfishing and manage Atlantic menhaden not only as a fishery but as a critical ecosystem component. However, uncertainties in the 2012 stock assessment update make it difficult to quantify the level of reductions needed to meet those goals. Therefore, the Draft Amendment includes a range of harvest reductions from 0 – 50% from current harvest levels. The broad range of potential harvest reductions and allocation scenarios enables the Board and the public to consider management options beyond the historical allocations and traditional quota setting approaches to best manage this fishery.

For more information, please contact Mike Waine, FMP Coordinator, at mwaine@asmfc.org or

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