NMFS News Release





Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930




1999 Final Specifications for Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass

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.

Summer Flounder

1999 Specifications:

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.

Scup

1999 Specifications: