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For Release: Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Black Sea Bass Recreational Limits For 2011

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced a change effective for the 2011 fishing season for black sea bass that will result in a reduction in recreational harvest. This is a mandatory change to comply with the latest change to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC) Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Black Sea Bass.

ASMFC has adopted an addendum to the plan that requires a 40 percent reduction in coast-wide recreational harvest in 2011. This latest reduction was deemed necessary following a report on a survey of last year's recreational season. Survey results show that recreational anglers greatly exceeded the 2010 allowable harvest limit.

For 2011, the Department will adopt the following recreational management measures: a 13-inch minimum size limit, a 10-fish possession limit, and a split open fishing season of June 13 through October 1; then November 1 through December 31. The Department's Marine Resources Advisory Council, a group composed of citizens representing commercial and recreational fishermen, generally supported these measures as the best available option.

Numbers of black sea bass have increased in recent years, which likely triggered the overharvest. Though the coastal population of black sea bass is considered "rebuilt," the data used to make that determination is not complete and therefore fishery scientists have urged extreme caution when setting limits for the fishery. New York's commercial fishermen have seen the sea bass quota reduced over the past two years to the point that there is virtually no longer a viable fishery, while cuts to the recreational fishery have significantly impacted the recreational fishing industry.

The text of the new regulation will be published in the State Register on June 8, 2011 and will be available on the DEC website. DEC will be accepting public comments on the new black sea bass regulation through July 25, 2011.

Recreational marine fishing regulations can be viewed on the DEC website. For additional information, contact DEC's Marine Resources Division at 631-444-0435.

For information on black sea bass management, visit the website of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (which can be found in the right hand column of this page).