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For Release: Thursday, October 17, 2013

DEC Adopts Rules for Atlantic Menhaden

Revisions Comply with Fishery Management Plan Requirements

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the final adoption of regulations to establish commercial quota management, reporting requirements and a recreational fishery possession limit for Atlantic menhaden. This rulemaking is necessary to end overfishing on the stock and remain in compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC) Atlantic menhaden Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The rules have been in effect under a 90-day emergency rule adoption since July 22, 2013.

In response to an expert panel's recommendation to provide greater protection for Atlantic menhaden populations, the Atlantic Menhaden Management Board adopted new measures of population abundance and fishing harvest as indicators for the health and status of the coast-wide stock.

The 2012 assessment found overfishing on the Atlantic menhaden stock based on the new reference points. Prior to the updated reference points, it was believed that overfishing was not happening. An amendment to the FMP puts in place a total allowable catch (TAC) for the Atlantic coast to help end overfishing and allow for the rebuilding of the Atlantic menhaden populations. The 2013 TAC is a 20 percent reduction from the average of the 2009 through 2011 landings and approximately a 25 percent reduction from 2012 landings.

The rules allow DEC to set commercial trip limits and open and closed seasons for commercial Atlantic menhaden harvest, and enact a 100-fish possession limit for recreational fishers. For more information about these revisions, contact DEC's Bureau of Marine Resources at 631-444-0444.

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