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Contact: Susan Buchanan
News Releases 2006
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Georges Bank yellowtail flounder and winter flounder
Action: Georges Bank Yellowtail Flounder
The New England Council responded by developing Framework 42 to the Northeast Multispecies fishery management plan, which would cut the 2006 total allowable catch (TAC) of Georges Bank yellowtail for U.S. fishermen by more than one-half and close that fishery once the TAC is reached. The recovery program is designed to rebuild this stock by 2014 (two years earlier and at a higher level of certainty than required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act). Bycatch TACs for the catch of yellowtail flounder in other fisheries also are reduced, and yellowtail would no longer be targeted as part of special access programs. The Council submitted Framework 42 to NOAA in April 2006; a proposed rule to implement these measures is under review. In the meantime, an emergency rule took effect in May 2006 to reduce fishing effort.
Action: Georges Bank Winter Flounder
Progress: lingcod – fully rebuilt; lingcod, black rockfish (North) and shortspine thornyhead – overfishing ended; widow rockfish – no longer overfished
Action: Pacific Ocean Perch
Central Western Pacific Yellowfin Tuna
Action: Central Western Pacific Yellowfin Tuna
Though there were no new overfished or overfishing determinations for the Gulf region in 2005, four species are still undergoing overfishing. Rebuilding plans have been established for greater amberjack, red grouper, red snapper and vermilion snapper. Recent management measures include reductions to the greater amberjack recreational catch limit, commercial seasonal closures for both greater amberjack and red snapper, and a recreational seasonal closure for red snapper. The rebuilding plans propose to end overfishing for red grouper by 2006, red snapper by 2009 or 2010, and vermilion snapper by 2007.
Additional regulatory actions have been implemented since the rebuilding plans were established for vermilion snapper and red grouper. The recreational catch limits were reduced for vermilion snapper and red grouper, the vermillion snapper minimum size was increased for both recreational and commercial fisheries, trip limits and quota closures were implemented for all groupers, and the council adopted seasonal commercial closures for red grouper (including black and gag grouper) and vermilion snapper.
were completed for red snapper in 2005, greater amberjack and vermilion
snapper in 2006, and an assessment for red grouper will be completed
in 2006/2007. The council is currently considering additional red
snapper regulatory actions, such as commercial individual fishing
quotas, and reductions in total allowable catch and bycatch, and will
address any necessary actions on greater amberjack and red grouper
after the new assessments next year.
Progress: Snow crab and Eastern Bering Sea tanner crab – no longer overfished
North Pacific Council has no stocks subject to overfishing, and only
two stocks that are overfished (the Pribilof and St. Matthew Island
stocks of blue king crab), both of which have been closed to harvest
for many years.
Although there were no new overfished or overfishing determinations in the South Atlantic in 2005, the region still has 11 species listed as subject to overfishing, all part of the multi-species snapper grouper complex. A rebuilding plan has been in place for many years. Catch limits for speckled hind and Warsaw grouper, also reported as subject to overfishing, have been set at one fish with no sale allowed for the past 13 years. No harvest of goliath and Nassau grouper has been allowed since 1990. Another species, red drum, has been closed to all harvest since 1985.
Council has taken additional action to stop overfishing for vermillion
snapper, snowy grouper, tilefish and black sea bass. Once implemented,
Amendment 13C to the Snapper Grouper fishery management plan will
reduce commercial quotas and recreational catch limits and increase
minimum sizes. The amendment has been submitted to NOAA and is open
for public comment. The council now plans to focus its attention on
developing measures to end overfishing for the remaining stocks: red
snapper, red grouper, gag and black grouper.
Grouper Unit 1, Grouper Unit 4, Parrotfishes, and Snapper Unit 1
Caribbean Fishery Management Council developed Amendment 3 to the
Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan to address overfishing and to rebuild
overfished stocks. This amendment includes closed seasons and closed
areas that provide protection during peak spawning periods. The amendment
also closed the queen conch fishery throughout the U.S. exclusive
economic zone in the Caribbean except a small area off St. Croix;
this stock continued to be listed as overfished and subject to overfishing
in 2005. Amendment 3 was implemented through a final rule in November
2005. The council is currently working with fishing communities to
develop new management actions, which may include limited entry and/or
dedicated access programs.
many highly migratory species (HMS), U.S. fisheries account for a
small fraction of the Atlantic-wide catch. International rebuilding
programs are already in place for blue marlin, white marlin and bluefin
tuna. An international rebuilding program for North Atlantic swordfish
has ended overfishing and rebuilt the stock to 94 percent of its target
level. For large coastal sharks, NOAA implemented a rebuilding plan
in 2003 that reduced quotas and established a time/area closure to
protect juvenile sandbar and dusky sharks. The August 2005 draft consolidation
of the HMS Fishery Management Plan included proposals to seek an international
rebuilding program for northern albacore and to explore options available
to end overfishing on finetooth sharks. It also proposed new conservation
measures, such as special hook and bait combinations and limiting
white marlin fisheries to catch-and-release only, to support marlin
rebuilding. Public comment on these proposals ended in March and a
final rule is expected later in 2006.