DURHAM, N.H. - The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Northern Shrimp Section has approved for public review and comment Draft Addendum I to Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Northern Shrimp.
Atlantic coastal states from Maine through Massachusetts have scheduled hearings to gather public comment on the Draft Addendum. The New Hampshire hearing will take place on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, at 7 p.m., at the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, N.H.
The Draft Addendum seeks to provide flexibility and transparency in the annual specification process with the goal of maximizing benefits to the fishery while ensuring stock rebuilding. It presents options to set a hard total allowable catch (TAC), allocate the TAC by gear type and/or state (including a transferability provision), and close the fishery when a percentage of the TAC is projected to be reached in order to account for late reporting. The Draft Addendum also presents options to implement gear modifications to minimize the retention of small shrimp, establish set aside harvest for research, and require the payback of quota overages from one year to the next.
The Draft Addendum responds to recent trends in the fishery and the resource that jeopardize the stability of the northern shrimp resource. For the last three fishing seasons, late and incomplete reporting and continued fluctuations in participation have led to overharvest of the TAC. These overages coupled with a decline in stock abundance resulted in an overfished and overfishing stock status. The Draft Addendum proposes refinements to the annual specification process to better control annual harvest and minimize risks to the resource as it rebuilds.
Additionally, the Draft Addendum explores longer-term management options, such as limited entry programs, for consideration in the future. In response to concern regarding shifts in effort to the northern shrimp fishery from market demands, stock condition, and reduced fishing opportunities in other New England fisheries, Amendment 2 approved, for future consideration, the establishment of a limited entry program for the northern shrimp fishery (June 7, 2011 was set as the control date for the fishery). Draft Addendum I seeks to continue a discussion on the various components of a limited entry system, including the categorization of effort in the fishery for the most recent time period. The Draft Addendum will not implement limited entry for the upcoming season but does solicit feedback from the industry regarding potential limited entry programs that would be relevant to northern shrimp fishery in the future. Final action on the Addendum is slated to occur in November.
Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment.
The Draft Addendum is available at http://www.asmfc.org/speciesDocuments/northernShrmip/fmps/noShrimpDraftAddendumI_PublicComment.pdf
or by contacting the Commission at 703.842.0740. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on October 18, 2012, and should be forwarded to Mike Waine, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Subject line: Shrimp Addend I). For more information, please contact Mike Waine at email@example.com