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For Release: Wednesday, June 1, 2016

New York Urges Federal Government for Needed Regulatory Changes to Improve Black Sea Bass Fishery

State working with commercial fisherman to re-open black sea bass ahead of July 1st and make additional changes to improve fishery management

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos continues to call on the federal government to improve management of the black sea bass fishery in the region. In a letter to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission on May 17th, DEC urged the federal government to expedite a new stock assessment for black sea bass and implement other modifications to improve regulation.

"The increasingly restrictive measures demanded of Northeastern states are inequitable and cause great socioeconomic harm to our anglers and related businesses," Seggos said. "The ASMFC and NOAA must revise their management strategy and not keep New York and the Northeast commercial anglers at a competitive disadvantage while the black sea bass population continues to grow."

Pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, black sea bass is managed jointly by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council with decisions for final annual coast wide quotas set under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries program. To implement these federal restrictions, New York's commercial black sea bass quota is distributed into annual period allocations that were created in consultation with commercial fishermen, and include specific times of year the fishery will be closed to ensure New York stays within its allotment. Commercial anglers in consultation with DEC Division of Marine Resources staff had selected the June 1st - July 1st closure during development of the 2016 commercial fishing regulations.

In working with commercial fishermen DEC announced today that it is committed to re-opening the black sea bass season ahead of the July 1st date, assuming there is unharvested quota to rollover from May. In order to make this re-opening date determination as quickly as possible, DEC urges commercial fishermen and dealers to expeditiously submit their Vessel Trip Reports and Dealer reports for May. DEC also announced it will begin an emergency rule making to allow two black sea bass permit holders to fish from one boat, allowing more fish to be harvested in one trip.

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