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ASMFC Black Sea Bass Board Finalizes 2012 Recreational Measures

Arlington, VA – Upon review of the latest black sea bass recreational data from last year (waves 1 – 6), the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Management Board has modified the percent that states may liberalize their 2012 recreational management measures to achieve the 1.32 million pound (942,857 fish) harvest limit for the 2012 fishery. The northern region states of Massachusetts through New Jersey will implement measures that achieve a 37% liberalization throughout the region and a 32% liberalization coastwide; the percent of liberalization will vary by state. Northern region states had the option to collectively liberalize regulations by 41% but opted to be more conservative. State-specific regulations follow below.

State

Minimum Size   (inches)

Possession Limit

Open Season

Massachusetts

14

10 fish

May 11 – June 24

20 fish

June 25 – October 31

Rhode Island

13

15 fish

June 15 – December 31

Connecticut

13

15 fish

June 15 – December 31

New York

13

15 fish

June 15 – December 31

New Jersey

                  Still   finalizing measures

Delaware

12.5

25

May 22 – October 14
  November 1 – December 31

Maryland

12.5

25

May 22 – October 14
  November 1 – December 31
  (Season may change depending on federal regulations)

Virginia

12.5

25

May 19 – October 14
  November 1 – December 31

North Carolina

12.5

25

May 19 – October 14
  November 1 – December 31

Since the Board’s approval of Addendum XXII and the resultant 2012 state recreational management measures in February 2012, new 2011 recreational harvest estimates were released by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The data indicates the projections used to form the basis of this year’s regulations under estimated the 2011 harvest. Coastwide recreational harvest for the 2011 black fishery is now estimated at 713,478 fish (versus the initial estimate of 654,142 fish).  As a result of the new estimate, northern states will still be able to liberalize their 2012 recreational management measures but not to the extent that they would have under the previous estimate (initial liberalization was 57%). The northern states will be working over the next month to finalize their recreational black sea bass management measures.

Based on the stock projections completed in 2011, the black sea bass stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. The projections indicate the stock is at about 111% of its biomass target. For more information, please contact Toni Kerns, Senior Fishery Management Plan Coordinator for Management, at tkerns@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.



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