Date: January 19, 1999
Dear Summer Flounder, Scup and/or Black Sea Bass Permit Holder:
This letter contains important information that you may wish to keep at hand for future reference. NMFS has recently issued final specifications for the 1999 fishing year for summer flounder (fluke), scup (porgy) and black sea bass. There are three separate commercial Federal vessel permits for these fisheries, all of which are issued under a moratorium (limited access). These moratoria permits are required to fish for, possess or land and sell the respective species from the EEZ. There is no incidental catch allowed for vessels without the appropriate moratorium permit(s). Thus, this letter contains information that applies to you only if your vessel is issued the appropriate moratorium permit. This letter summarizes measures applicable to the commercial fisheries for these species.
The commercial quota is allocated to the states and will be reduced as required by the Fishery Management Plan for Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass (FMP) if there are individual state overages in 1998. Additionally, NMFS has recommended that each state set aside 32.7 percent of their commercial quota to be used for landings caught incidentally to fisheries targeting other species. The recommendation is similar to the measure proposed by the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. It maintains the definition these bodies developed for incidental harvest (summer flounder may not exceed 10 percent of the weight of other species landed). Since each state is working independently on this provision, please contact the appropriate state fisheries agency for further details.
Because of overages in previous years, there is no quota for Delaware in 1999. As a result, and to prevent landings in Delaware by Federal permit holders, the State is closed to the landing of summer flounder by Federal permit holders. The regulations at § 648.4(b) provide that Federal permit holders agree, as a condition of their permit, not to land summer flounder in any state that NMFS has determined to no longer have commercial quota available for harvest. Therefore, effective December 31, 1998, landings of summer flounder in Delaware by vessels holding commercial Federal summer flounder permits are prohibited for the 1999 calender year, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer and is announced in the Federal Register.
The commercial quota for each of the periods, and the trip limits for those periods (if applicable), are shown in Table 1. This letter serves as your only Federal notice of trip limits for scup in 1999. Your state fisheries agency will notify you of any other management measures for the scup fishery.
Table 1. 1999 Scup Quota Allocation
|PERIOD||POUNDS||TRIP LIMIT (Lb)|
|Winter I (Jan-May)||1,143,087||12,000 (1,000 @ 85%)|
|Summer (May-Oct)||986,993||Set by States|
|Winter II (Nov-Dec)||403,920||4,000|
Black Sea Bass
The commercial quota, as allocated to each quarter, and the trip limits associated with each are shown in Table 2:
Table 2. 1999 Black Sea Bass Quota Allocation
|Quarter||Pounds||Trip Limit (Lb)|
These specifications went into effect on January 1, 1999. You are encouraged to obtain further information or a copy of the regulations by calling (978) 281-9278. This letter does not contain all the regulatory provisions that pertain to these species, and consequently, has no legal force or effect. A copy of the regulations can also be obtained through a link to the Office of the Federal Register at the NMFS Northeast Regional Office's Web Site: http://www.nero.nmfs.gov/ro/doc/nero.html.