The ASMFC became the major fishery management organization on the Atlantic Coast. In 1998, it became clear that CCA - the largest marine fishery conservation organization in the U.S. - would need to work with the ASMFC to affect the management of critically important Atlantic species. CCA created the Atlantic States Fisheries Committee as a subcommittee of the National Government Relations Committee. It is comprised of dedicated CCA volunteers working within the ASMFC system for better Atlantic fisheries management.
Articles about Atlantic Coast Fisheries
Managers under pressure to increase harvest of critical forage species
On Wednesday, August 3, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will face a test of its commitment to manage menhaden as a vital forage species when it decides to either increase commercial harvest or stay the stay the course and allow conservation measures to restore menhaden to its full ecological potential. Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) is urging Commissioners to avoid the impacts of “regulatory whiplash” and stay on the schedule previously established for the full restoration of menhaden to its ecological role throughout its range.
Next week the Atlantic Menhaden Management Board will set specifications for the 2017 fishery and provide further guidance to its Plan Development Team on Draft Amendment 3. These two issues are of the utmost importance to the Coastal Conservation Association. We urge you to keep your commitment to managing menhaden for predators, allow conservation to continue working, and avoid the impacts of regulatory whiplash. Be cautious and measured in your setting of the specifications and stay on the schedule previously established for the approval and implementation of Amendment 3.
ASMFC evaluation of red drum stock raises questions
House of Representatives approves measure to direct new license tag funding to Georgia coast
A measure carried by Rep. Alex Attwood (St. Simons) to strengthen the state wildlife license tag program was approved by the House last week and now needs only the companion bill carried by Sen. Ben Watson (Savannah) to pass the Senate to open the door for additional funding of coastal habitat projects. Coastal Conservation Association Georgia is the sponsor for HB 736 and has high hopes for the potential of the legislation.
Gillnetters seeking to overturn constitutional amendment denied. Again.
The Supreme Court of Florida has denied a petition by the Wakulla Fishermen’s Association and upheld the state’s net ban amendment that was approved by 72 percent of voters in 1994. The ruling puts an end to the latest challenge brought by gillnetters who won a sympathetic circuit court ruling in 2013 that allowed them to briefly reintroduce destructive gill nets into Florida waters. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with the support of CCA Florida, challenged that initial court ruling immediately and has worked tirelessly ever since to defend the net ban to the state’s highest court.
CCA’s Building Conservation Trust sponsors event benefitting Billion Oyster Project
ASMFC takes first step to finally bring menhaden under management
BALTIMORE, MD – For the first time ever, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will reduce the harvest of menhaden and finally begin the process of managing this critical forage base. The measure approved today by the Menhaden Management Board will reduce menhaden harvest in both the reduction and bait fisheries by 20 percent beginning in 2013.
Atlantic menhaden management takes a familiar, disturbing turn
Last week the Atlantic States Marines Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Stock Assessment Committee and Technical Committee met to finalize the stock assessment update and advice they may give the Board for managing menhaden.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Technical Committee (TC) and Stock Assessment Committee (SAC) process is supposed to be a simple one that allows the members, who come from state agencies, federal agencies and academia, to do the technical work necessary to manage marine fisheries. One primary object of this process is to allow only qualified, independent scientists to populate the committees, who can be expected to produce results that are not biased towards any one sector or another. Such scientists insulated from the grind of fishery politics are the very engine on which marine fisheries management runs.
A small silver fish, menhaden has outsized importance in the sea, serving as sustenance for many larger fish and providing vital oils for healthy human hearts. But the population of menhaden has plummeted to just 8 percent of its historical levels off the East Coast as overfishing has taken its toll.
Commission vote reduces menhaden harvest for first time ever
For the first time in history, there will be reductions in the harvest of Atlantic menhaden after a vote today by the Menhaden Management Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). Menhaden, which serve as the primary forage base for most predatory fish, have declined to the lowest level ever recorded, sparking alarm in the recreational angling community which has long expressed concern over the impact of industrial menhaden harvest on sportfish stocks.
Some Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission members concerned about disappearance of rockfish in northern waters
BOSTON—A proposal that could have slashed Maryland's annual striped bass catch by more than 50 percent in 2012 was shelved Tuesday morning by the commission that oversees East Coast fisheries.
Gulf of Maine cod, the lifeblood of the inshore fishing fleet centered around Gloucester, appears to have undergone a dramatic and inexplicable decline in recent years, according to an authoritative marine scientist on the NOAA Science Center team.
Restoration of the Long Island Sound marine habitat took a major step forward this week with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's announcement of two grant awards to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County (CCE) to identify and remove more than 118 tonnes of marine debris, including abandoned lobster pots, from the Sound.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that the 2011 Young of the Year (YOY) Striped Bass Survey is 34.6, well above the long-term average of 11.9, and exceedingly higher than 2010’s results of 5.9. This is the fourth highest measure of striped bass spawning success in the Chesapeake Bay in the survey’s 58-year history.
Encouraging census results may affect harvest limits
After several years of discouraging results, Maryland fisheries officials say the number of juvenile striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay this summer was the fourth highest in the 58-year history of their annual census.
Newswise — Preliminary results from a 2011 survey conducted by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) suggest the production of a strong class of young-of-year striped bass in the Virginia portion of Chesapeake Bay. The 2011 year class represents the group of fish hatched this spring.
Send a message to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission today in support of stronger conservation for menhaden, an important forage fish.
Not known if related to harbor seal deaths
HAMPTON — A dead bluefin tuna washed up at Hampton Beach on Wednesday has a local marine biologist concerned because of the ongoing investigation into the recent deaths of dozens of young harbor seals.
There’s a lot of cynicism these days about politics and politicians, much of it justified, and I won’t try to tackle that thorny issue in this blog. Instead, I want to tell you about a positive experience I had recently in Washington, D.C.
PORTLAND, Me. — I was standing in the bow of a low-riding skiff as my angling companion poled us across white sand flats, illuminated by a warm summer sun. Suddenly, several wakes appeared before the boat.
I recently ran into a friend who spends time each year fishing for stripers in Massachusetts in the Cape Cod area. As he explained how his season went, it was clear that things were not up to his expectations.
ANNAPOLIS (September 27, 2011) -- A pilot program to install tracking devices on some commercial fishing boats in the Chesapeake Bay may go into effect next year.
A compilation of the history of menhaden management and a review of the options currently on the table to rebuild the primary forage base of the Atlantic Coast.
A proposal is being finalized that would add the commercial use of hook-and-line gear in North Carolina’s ocean striped bass fishery as early as next year.
Lionfish are members of the scorpion fish family and are native to the Indo-Pacific region. Since 2000, however, scientists have become aware of growing populations of lionfish in the Atlantic Ocean. Original sightings of these striking striped fish, with their showy fins, were made on reefs off the coasts of Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Bermuda. Since then, the fish have spread throughout the western Atlantic.
Watermen hope label would boost share of market; politicians think it would help state's green reputation
Someday, perhaps as early as March, Maryland's striped bass may join the main ingredients of Europe's Filet-O-Fish sandwich on the list of fish known worldwide as abundant, well-managed and caught in environmentally friendly ways.
Proposed suspensions are first since legislature authorized DNR to act
The Department of Natural Resources will announce today that it has made its own large catch — 60 recreational fishermen involved in a variety of illegal activities on Maryland's waterways in the past five months.
The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission reaffirmed its commitment to the status quo regarding management of striped bass and spotted seatrout at its meetings last week in Raleigh.
But fisheries board orders future rules imposing limits
The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission decided Thursday not to adopt sweeping changes to the state's striped bass fishery rules for the coming season, but significant modifications might be coming in the next couple of years.
Blades of eelgrass, flowing like ribbons, were once a ubiquitous sight in all of the major western shore tributaries and the eastern side of the bay. Beds formed an abundant habitat for blue crabs, sea horses, scallops and other species. Now, eelgrass (Zostera marina) coverage in the bay is a fraction of what it once was, and warming waters due to climate change threatens to compound problems for the hardy, high-salinity submerged aquatic vegetation.
Saltwater anglers are facing severe cutbacks in black sea bass catches next year — but they are expected to get increases in summer flounder and bluefish landings.
These days the first thing most people think of when they hear the word "fluke" is the U.S. Congress, but fisher-types are more likely to think of one of the great mysteries of the current summer, namely: Where did all summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus to science) come from?
Recently striped bass populations in the Hudson River got the proverbial shot in the arm thanks to New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Department of Marine Resources will be getting help monitoring efforts to revive the populations of the endangered Atlantic salmon in the state.
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, which regulates summer flounder, recommended increasing the 2012 harvest by 1.6 million pounds to 35.55 million pounds, at a meeting this week.
The discarding of hundreds, if not thousands, of dead striped bass by a trawler off the N.C. coast early this year has spurred state regulators to consider new rules for the commercial catch of the species.
A crucial NC Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) meeting that was to be held this week in Raleigh has been cancelled because no commercial fishing representatives will be able to show up.
Our view: Tough new rules on commercial fishing under review by state regulators could ensure future of rockfish in Maryland waters — and on dinner plates
With Baltimore in the midst of Restaurant Week, there are probably many happily dining on rockfish these days, and rightly so. Rockfish (more commonly known as striped bass) represent one of the Chesapeake Bay's most treasured bounties, both a worthy challenge to anglers and a delight on the dinner plate.
The Atlantic coast will soon have the largest artificial reef of its kind when the 563-foot USS Radford is sunk 30 miles off the coast of Ocean City Md., but the big event is in jeopardy of being delayed for the second time in as many weeks.
ASMFC votes to give public its say on menhaden
Menhaden management has long been a sore point among conservationists as intense commercial harvest of the species in the Chesapeake Bay has added to factors believed to be negatively impacting striped bass and other gamefish all along the East Coast. The primary industrial harvester of Atlantic menhaden, Omega Protein, has never had its harvest effectively restricted and stands as one of the very few commercial fishing operations in the country to successfully avoid management measures that might impact its bottom line.
“Now, the hard work begins.”
When completed, fish will be able to pass through its dam for the first time in more than 100 years.
WESTBROOK - The orange cones, neon vests and construction crane that can be seen from Cumberland Street might have little significance to most people driving by the Sappi Fine Paper mill.
Aggressive predators, fluke populations have bounced back under unpopular restrictions.
I'll admit that I am among the anglers who in recent years have grumbled about the restrictive season limits on size and take of fluke, or summer flounder. Before long, however, the severe restrictions may be the reason why our complaints change to cries of joy. Well, maybe we won't be that emotive but we may be pretty happy. By 2013, according to a report updated July 22 by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the "summer flounder stock is expected to be fully rebuilt."
While the limits and regulations will stay the same, catching too many and undersized striped bass could now land you in jail.
A new law that was passed last week will impose tougher fines and possibly even jail time for fishermen who catch more than the legal limit or undersized striped bass.
A watermen’s cooperative suffered a setback Tuesday when state regulators denied most of its application to grow oysters in a Chesapeake Bay tributary.
There is something special about fishing for striped bass at Montauk Point under cover of darkness. One of the best at that game is Port Jefferson resident and charter boat captain Rick Gulia of Perfect Catch Fishing.
After years of holding up striped bass as the model of how humans can save a species from extinction, fisheries managers are finding out that the glue holding the model together is beginning to weaken.
Violators will face much higher fines, prison sentences of up to 90 days and forfeiture of boats and fishing equipment.
Poachers beware: Rhode Island has new, stiffer penalties for those who catch more than the legal limit on striped bass, or try to bag those that are too small.
So, there's this company called Omega Protein, and it seems intent on catching as much as it possibly can of an obscure, tiny, practically inedible fish called the Atlantic menhaden.
If you listen to the inshore saltwater fishermen concerning their fishing success for the current year you seldom hear of a good report. Even if they were having a “banner year” the fishing “could be better.”
South Carolina retail chain Palmetto Moon is donating $15,000 to two nonprofit, habitat-conservation groups.
Three fisheries stocks from the Northeast – Georges Bank haddock, Atlantic pollock and spiny dogfish – have now been rebuilt to healthy levels, bringing to 21 the number that have been rebuilt nationwide since 2000, according to a report to Congress from NOAA’s Fisheries Service issued today.
Recreational sector generates six times the jobs, 12 times the sales of commercial industry
North Carolina has the opportunity to increase the economic impact of fishery management to the entire state with a single bill - H.B. 353, a bill to make striped bass, red drum and speckled trout gamefish. According to a study released this week by Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina, the economic impacts of recreational angling for those three species dwarf those of the commercial sector and make a compelling case for legislative measures that enhance recreational fisheries.
ASMFC takes first steps to rebuild menhaden forage base
ALEXANDRIA, VA – For the first time ever, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission took steps to rein in the industrial harvest of menhaden and begin the process of managing the menhaden fishery. If adopted, the measures proposed today by the Menhaden Management Board would lead to a reduction of menhaden harvest in both the reduction and bait fisheries.
Click here for a video produced by CCA North Carolina to explain the chapter's efforts to seek game fish status for Speckled Trout, Red Drum, and Striped Bass.
Anglers set to seek relief in General Assembly
In an appalling disregard for the indiscriminate killing of striped bass by the commercial trawl net fishermen, the North Carolina Marine fisheries Commission (NCMFC) voted to continue these wasteful practices.
Striped bass kills highlight need to end destructive fishing practices
In response to a rash of massive striped bass kills along the coast, CCA North Carolina will request the NC Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) to eliminate trawling of any kind as a permissible fishing gear for striped bass.
Third massive bass kill photographed off Oregon Inlet
In a mistake that was entirely predictable, the state’s Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) has allowed the use of large trawl nets among large schools of striped bass. And, for the third time in less than three weeks, a massive striped bass kill has occurred. The latest example of "regulatory dead discards" was photographed from a helicopter off Oregon Inlet this week and was again evidenced by a long trail of dead striped bass in the vicinity of commercial trawlers.
Maryland's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) just announced that the current commercial gill net season has been closed until the Department determines the extent of illegal nets and their impact on the remaining quota. The announcement follows the discovery of submerged nets near Bloody Point over the past several days that held more than 10 tons of striped bass.
Appropriations Committee Acts To Halt Any FCC Expenditures Related To Proposal Until GPS Interference Issues Resolved
The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Thursday approved action that would “fence,” or halt, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from expending any funds related to a conditional waiver it granted a company called LightSquared until all concerns have been resolved about interference with GPS.
January 15th marked the opening for commercial harvest of striped bass in N.C. Following this opening, hundreds, if not thousands, of dead striped bass, red drum, and other fish were seen and photographed floating in NC waters. These dead fished were caught by commercial trawl boats and dumped over the side. This type of fishery requires “culling” or selecting the largest caught fish and discarding the rest, dead or alive.
Anglers applaud precedent-setting move to examine outdated allocation for scup
CHARLESTON, SC – The Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Committee met jointly today, and in response to a request from Coastal Conservation Association voted to begin an analysis of the scup fishery to determine whether a modification of the current allocation is needed.
Managers reject proposal to increase commercial harvest
CHARLESTON, SC – After months of intense debate, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) announced today that it has denied a proposal to increase the commercial harvest of striped bass by up to 50 percent. Public sentiment has run intensely against the proposal from the moment it was introduced last February, as recreational anglers up and down the East Coast flooded their ASMFC representatives with calls to deny the proposal.
Scup is latest in long line of allocations that shortchange recreational sector
While the news from the most recent Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council meeting indicated a rosy future for scup, the Council’s failure to seek an economic study of the way scup are allocated between the recreational and commercial sectors presages a far dimmer future for scup anglers.
CCA NY Thanks Governor, Legislators for Prohibiting Commercial Striped Bass Fishery in the Hudson River
Coastal Conservation Association New York is taking this opportunity to thank New York’s Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, along with the members of New York’s Senate and Assembly, for enacting legislation which will protect New York’s spawning population of striped bass.
Recreational appointments shift Gulf Council closer to balance
The 2010 regional fishery management council appointments released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Commerce gave an indication that federal officials are paying attention to the concerns of recreational anglers. One of the key issues voiced by anglers at the Recreational Fishing Summit hosted by NOAA Fisheries in April was a need for balanced representation on the councils, and appointments made to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council yesterday are a solid step in the right direction.
Read full plan here.
Committee moves forward with addressing management targets for menhaden
At its meeting last week in Washington DC, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) directed its Menhaden Technical Committee to develop new options for managing menhaden more like a critical forage species than a fish to be industrially harvested. A move that many East Coast anglers would say is long past due.
Gamble to increase commercial take by up to 50 percent heads for public hearings
WASHINGTON DC – Anglers will soon have the opportunity to comment on a new effort to increase the coastal commercial harvest of striped bass by 20 to 50 percent, after the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Striped Bass Management Board voted this week to send the proposal out for public hearing.
Signs pointing to cause for grave concern met with proposal to up commercial harvest
After hearing a litany of significant concerns about the health of the striped bass population presented by its own Technical Committee and by law enforcement personnel, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Striped Bass Management Board did the last thing anyone expected at its meeting last week - directing staff to draft an addendum to the management plan which would increase the coastal commercial striped bass harvest.
CCA Comments to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission on Addendum II--Commercial Striped Bass Harvest Rollover
Anglers rally to defeat proposal for commercial sector to kill more fish
Anglers rally to defeat proposal for commercial sector to kill more fish.
Anglers highlight important warning signs for the conservation of Atlantic striped bass
Recreational anglers are opposing a plan currently before the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) that would increase commercial striped bass harvest.
The collapse of the Atlantic weakfish stock is an enigma. For the first time there is no ‘smoking gun’ one can discern that caused the decline. But it is abundantly clear from both anecdotal fishermen’s reports and the most recent stock assessment that the decline is severe and continuing. Most disturbing is the Technical Committees projection that even under a total moratorium the stock will not recover by 2020.
Lawsuit challenging snapper/grouper data upholds concept of best available science for fisheries management.
WASHINGTON DC – A recent United States Court of Appeals ruling rejected arguments by the commercial fishing industry to overturn regulations designed to end overfishing of snowy grouper and other deep-water species, confirming again that the best available science provides the only viable basis for management of the nation’s marine resources.
Longliners seek extension and expansion of permits to fish in conservation zones.
Alarmed at the growing prospect of “longline creep,” conservationists are calling on the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to deny a request to extend and expand Exempted Fishing Permits issued in 2008 that cracked open the door for the commercial longline industry to fish in conservation zones created in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.
HOUSTON, TX - A recent peer review of the summer flounder assessment indicates that the stock appears to be responding well to recent reductions in total allowable catch and is on track to meet a rebuilding deadline set for 2013. The review is a welcome piece of news for the stock, which has been the subject of much scrutiny in recent years.
HOUSTON, TX – The Coastal Conservation Association Board of Directors is calling for Atlantic harvest levels of bluefin tuna to be reduced to levels supported by science and is urging the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to require all member nations to adopt such quotas by emergency action.
National Marine Fisheries Service denies request to open key conservation areas to commercial longlines
WASHINGTON, DC - Conservationists are hailing a decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to deny a request to allow longline fishing boats into conservation zones off South Carolina, Georgia and Florida that have been closed to the destructive commercial fishing gear since 2001.
The bill for decades of overharvest has come due in the form of an overfished summer flounder stock
The most recent summer flounder stock assessment brought some unwelcome news to East Coast anglers last week and will almost certainly result in additional catch reductions for recreational fishermen. The assessment, conducted by National Marine Fisheries Service, indicated that years of mismanagement have finally caught up to summer flounder, and steps will have to be taken to set the recovery back on course.
Testimony Before the National Academy of Science Committee to Review Recreational Fisheries Survey Methods
I am Richen Brame, Atlantic Coast Fisheries Coordinator for the Coastal Conservation Association. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this afternoon on recreational fisheries data collection.
Good Morning, the Coastal Conservation Association is a marine fisheries conservation organization supported by 80,000 members from Maine to Texas. I coordinate CCA’s Atlantic fishery conservation activities in its 11 East Coast chapters with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.