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For Release: Friday, April 26, 2019

DEC Announces Emergency Regulations for Scup

Increased Possession Limit Will Benefit New York Commercial Fishing Industry

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) adopted emergency regulations, effective immediately, to increase the incidental possession limit for the commercial scup fishery from 200 to 2,000 pounds through June 15. This exemption allows commercial harvesters in the small-mesh squid fishery to keep and sell more scup, resulting in increased income for commercial harvesters.

The rule change will also reduce waste in the fishery by preventing dead scup from being discarded overboard due to the prior lower harvest limit. This proposal was approved by both the Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission (ASMFC) and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) in August of 2018; federal regulations were adopted January 1, 2019.

The intent of this rule is to benefit New York commercial fishermen, while preventing the discarding of scup that are caught accidentally as bycatch while fishing for squid. Squid are caught by net with a smaller mesh than is normally allowed for use while targeting scup. The scup population is robust and the commercial harvest quota for 2019 is nearly 24 million pounds for the U.S. east coast. ASMFC and MAFMC have determined that scup can sustain additional fishing pressure because of this increase without any adverse consequences. This action is also consistent with the Fishery Management Plan for scup.

For more information about Commercial Fishing in New York State, visit DEC's website. The emergency regulations adopting the changes are effective immediately and will be published on May 1, 2019, in Issue 18 of the New York State Register. Text descriptions of the rule and information on the public comment period that runs from May 1 to June 1, 2019, are available on DEC's website. Additional information may also be obtained by contacting DEC's Commercial Quota Management Office at 631-444-0482.

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