NOAA today finalized an Omnibus Amendment which establishes procedures for setting annual catch limits and accountability measures to prevent overfishing for 10 federally managed fish stocks managed by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
Now that the amendment is approved, the Mid-Atlantic Council will be on its way to establishing catch limits and accountability measures for all its required fisheries. According to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, all federally managed fisheries must be managed with those tools by the end of 2011. The amendment also includes measures to prevent fishermen from exceeding the catch limits, and addresses how any overages that occur would be handled.
The fish species in the Mid-Atlantic affected by this action include Atlantic mackerel, butterfish, Atlantic bluefish, spiny dogfish, summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, tilefish, Atlantic surfclam, and ocean quahog. Actual catch limits and accountability measures for each fish stock will be set within the respective fishery management plans for these stocks. However, the amendment formalizes the process for how scientific advice from the council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee will be integrated in fishery management plans.
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