North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources
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Contact: Nancy Fish
Date: Dec. 19, 2006 Phone: (252) 726-7021

NEW FISH PRINT AVAILABLE ON-LINE

MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission is selling a limited-edition print to commemorate the launch of the state’s first coastal recreational fishing license.

The print, by North Carolina artist Duane Raver, depicts red drum chasing a school of finger mullet in an estuary. The Marine Fisheries Commission decided it was fitting to have the red drum, the state’s official saltwater fish, serve as the subject for this print.

The cost is $50 for a signed and numbered print and $150 for a signed and numbered artist’s proof. The print size is 12-by-14 inches. Visit www.ncdmfstore.net to view the print or place an order.

Starting Jan. 1, 2007, North Carolina for the first time will require anglers recreationally fishing in the state’s coastal waters to have a fishing license. The Coastal Recreational Fishing License will be available on a 10-day, annual or lifetime basis, or can be purchased with a variety of licenses issued by the Wildlife Resources Commission. Visit www.ncdmf.net/recreational/NCCRFL.htm to learn more about this license.

Proceeds from the sale of the print will be placed in the Marine Fisheries Commission’s Conservation Fund to conserve and protect marine resources through educational initiatives.

Click on photo below to download high-resolution version.


DECEMBER 12, 1006
PRESS CONTACT, TINA BERGER 202/289-6400

ASMFC Summer Flounder Board Sets 2007 TAL

New York, New York - The Commission's Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Management Board approved an initial total allowable landings (TAL) limit of 12.98 million pounds for the 2007 summer flounder fishery. The Board expects that this quota will enable the Secretary of Commerce to determine that overfishing is not occurring, thereby allowing him to exercise the recent authority provided under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) to extend the rebuilding period to 2013. Under this new deadline, the 2007 TAL is expected to increase to 17.11 million pounds. The Management Board anticipates that this increase in quota will occur before March 1, 2007.

In setting the TAL, the Board took into account the recent reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which included a provision that would allow for the extension of the rebuilding time frame for the summer flounder fishery to no later than January 1, 2013. Under that provision overfishing cannot be occurring. By setting the initial TAL at 12.98 million pounds, the Board ensures that overfishing is not occurring, enabling an extension in the rebuilding time frame. Under the revised rebuilding time frame, the 17.11 million pound TAL would have a 75% chance of achieving the fishing mortality rate needed to rebuild the summer flounder fishery by January 1, 2013.

On December 13, 2006, NOAA Fisheries will publish a final rule setting the 2007 TAL for the summer flounder fishery at 12.98 million pounds in order to meet the congressional mandate to end overfishing. Once the President signs the Magnuson-Stevens Act into law, NOAA Fisheries will have the flexibility to extend the rebuilding time frame if overfishing is not occurring and a mechanism is in place to ensure that overfishing will not occur.

The Commission's Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Management Board also met with the Council to set recreational specifications for the summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries. A subsequent press release will announce the outcome of that meeting. For more information, please contact Toni Kerns, FMP Coordinator, at (202) 289-6400 or <tkerns@asmfc.org>.

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PR06-44

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Tina Berger
Public Affairs Specialist
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
1444 I Street. NW, Sixth Floor
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202)289-6400
FAX: (202)289-6051
Email: tberger@asmfc.org
www.asmfc.org



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 11, 2006

CONTACT:

Kim Iverson, Public Information Officer

843/571-4366 or toll free 866/SAFMC-10

kim.iverson@safmc.net

Council Weighs Input from Scientific Committee and Advisors

Members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council utilized input from its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) and advisory panels during its meeting in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina last week regarding a broad range of fisheries issues in the South Atlantic. Agenda items for review included marine protected areas, rebuilding stocks of overfished snapper grouper species, sale of recreationally caught fish, total allowable catches (TAC) for king and Spanish mackerel, and development of a Fishery Ecosystem Plan and Comprehensive Amendment. The SSC as well as members of the Council’s Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel and Law Enforcement Advisory Panel reviewed details and provided recommendations to the Council regarding changes to management plans.

A series of 8 marine protected areas in the South Atlantic are being proposed by the Council as a means to protect deep water snapper grouper species and their associated habitat and spawning. Following a review of the proposed areas, fishermen on the Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel discussed possible changes to the size and locations of some areas and recommended that a transit provision be included in the amendment to allow commercial fishermen to cross the areas with fish onboard but with all gear stowed. A similar provision is allowed for marine protected areas in the Gulf of Mexico. The Council will address these and any other recommended changes to Amendment 14 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan (FMP) establishing the marine protected areas following the comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Dependent upon the timing of the DEIS, the Council is expected to give final approval of Amendment 14 at its March 5-9, 2007 meeting in Jekyll Island, Georgia.

The Council also received recommendations regarding Amendment 15 to the Snapper Grouper FMP. This amendment addresses rebuilding of overfished stocks of snowy grouper, black sea bass, and red porgy, bycatch reduction of deep water species, methods to monitor and assess bycatch, measures to minimize impacts of incidental catches of sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish, the sale of recreationally caught snapper grouper species, and permit transferability. At the recommendation of the SSC, the Council approved inclusion of bycatch estimates in calculations for rebuilding these overfished stocks. The move, not supported by the Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel, could result in reductions of allocations as the Council develops rebuilding strategies and timelines. The Council has requested updated landings data for both commercial and recreational sectors and will address allocation issues during its March 5-9, 2007 meeting. The Council is currently scheduled to approve Amendment 15 to take to public hearings during its June 11-15, 2007 meeting. A series of public hearings would then be planned for later in the year.

As interest in exploring options for developing a limited access program for the commercial snapper grouper fishery increases, the Council has agreed to hold a meeting of its Controlled Access Committee in January 2007 to discuss possible needs for such programs. The Council will establish a work group with members from its advisory panels, interested fishermen, non-governmental representatives, scientists, sociologists, economists, and others interested in such a program. Details regarding the meeting will be posted on the Council’s web site at www.safmc.net as they become available.

In measures affecting the mackerel fishery, the Council approved Amendment 18 to the Coastal Migratory Pelagics FMP for public hearings. The amendment would reduce the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for both king and Spanish mackerel. While neither species are currently overfished or experiencing overfishing, the Council is concerned over possible shifts to the mackerel fishery as other fisheries such as snapper grouper face increasing restrictions. Public hearings will be scheduled in early 2007. The Council also received input regarding issues to be included in a scoping document for mackerel management, including separating the joint Coastal Migratory Pelagics management plan currently shared with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, and associated boundary and permit issues should such a separation occur. The Council is scheduled to approve the scoping document at its March 5-9, 2007 meeting.

The Council received an update on development of its Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) and FEP Comprehensive Amendment. The FEP will serve as a source document, providing a platform for updated information for an ecosystem-based approach to management. Comprehensive Amendments to the FEP allow for regulatory action. With input from its SSC and advisory panels, the Council continued to refine items in the Comprehensive Amendment, including removal of a provision to require vessel monitoring systems (VMS) and inclusion of measures to further protect habitat. The Council will continue to develop both the FEP and Comprehensive Amendment, with approval for public hearings expected in late 2007.

The next meeting of the Council is scheduled for March 5-9, 2007 in Jekyll Island, GA. For additional information regarding Council meetings, including briefing book materials and a summary of the motions from the December meeting, visit www.safmc.net or contact the Council office.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, one of eight regional councils, conserves and manages fish stocks from three to 200 miles offshore of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and east Florida.

Kim Iverson

Public Information Officer

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

*4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201

North Charleston, SC 29405

843/571-4366 or toll free 866/SAFMC-10

Fax 843/769-4520

www.safmc.net