Is a Recreational Closure of Black Sea Bass In Store?

Is a Recreational Closure of Black Sea Bass In Store?

A closure of the recreational fishery for black sea bass may
be the first introduction for many anglers to the concept of
Accountability Measures (AMs) as required by the Magnuson-
Stevens Act to help ensure that Annual Catch Limits (ACLs)
are not exceeded. Under the new system of Accountability
Measures, projected landings for the recreational black sea
bass fishery may lead to an early
closure of the fishery by NOAA
Fisheries Service, possibly by Mid-
February.
The fishing year for black sea
bass is June 1 – May 31, and
the current recreational ACL for
black sea bass is 409,000 pounds
(gutted weight) as established
in Amendment 13C in 2006. Recreational
landings for 2009/2010 are
estimated at 574,332 pounds and
include both private recreational
and for-hire (charter/headboat)
fisheries. Recreational landings include private angler data
collected through the Marine Recreational Information Program
and logbook data collection programs for the for-hire
(charter/headboat) fishery. If closed, the recreational fishery
would reopen June 1, 2011.
Beginning January 31, 2011, Amendment 17B (see next
page) implements recreational AMs for black sea bass, vermilion
snapper, gag, red grouper, and black grouper. According
to the amendment, if the species is overfished (black sea bass
is currently listed as overfished and is in year 5 of a 10-year
rebuilding schedule) and the ACL is met or projected to be
met, harvest will be prohibited. The recreational ACL would be
compared to the recreational landings using only 2010 landings
for 2010, an average of 2010 and 2011 landings for 2011,
and a 3-year running average of landings for 2012 and beyond.
Running averages will be used for recreational landings to
account for the difficulty in accurate in-season monitoring of
recreational fisheries.
The black sea bass fishery ACL is divided between recreational
and commercial fishermen, with an allocation of 57%
recreational and 43% commercial. The commercial fishery
was closed in October 2010 when the quota was projected
to be reached. NOAA Fisheries reopened the fishery for two
weeks in December 2010 after weather conditions kept the
quota from being met. Harvest levels must be kept below the
commercial and recreational ACLs to prevent overfishing and
rebuild black sea bass within the specified 10-year rebuilding
period.
The Council may consider modifications to current recreational
regulations to help avoid future closures, including decreases
in bag limits. A benchmark stock assessment for both
black sea bass and golden tilefish in the South Atlantic region
is being conducted this year through the Southeast Data, Assessment,
and Review (SEDAR) program. Details regarding the
SEDAR 25 assessment workshop schedule are available from
the Council’s website at
www.safmc.net.

Is a Recreational Closure of Black Sea Bass In Store?

A closure of the recreational fishery for black sea bass may

be the first introduction for many anglers to the concept of

Accountability Measures (AMs) as required by the Magnuson-

Stevens Act to help ensure that Annual Catch Limits (ACLs)

are not exceeded. Under the new system of Accountability

Measures, projected landings for the recreational black sea

bass fishery may lead to an early

closure of the fishery by NOAA

Fisheries Service, possibly by Mid-

February.

The fishing year for black sea

bass is June 1 – May 31, and

the current recreational ACL for

black sea bass is 409,000 pounds

(gutted weight) as established

in Amendment 13C in 2006. Recreational

landings for 2009/2010 are

estimated at 574,332 pounds and

include both private recreational

and for-hire (charter/headboat)

fisheries. Recreational landings include private angler data

collected through the Marine Recreational Information Program

and logbook data collection programs for the for-hire

(charter/headboat) fishery. If closed, the recreational fishery

would reopen June 1, 2011.

Beginning January 31, 2011, Amendment 17B (see next

page) implements recreational AMs for black sea bass, vermilion

snapper, gag, red grouper, and black grouper. According

to the amendment, if the species is overfished (black sea bass

is currently listed as overfished and is in year 5 of a 10-year

rebuilding schedule) and the ACL is met or projected to be

met, harvest will be prohibited. The recreational ACL would be

compared to the recreational landings using only 2010 landings

for 2010, an average of 2010 and 2011 landings for 2011,

and a 3-year running average of landings for 2012 and beyond.

Running averages will be used for recreational landings to

account for the difficulty in accurate in-season monitoring of

recreational fisheries.

The black sea bass fishery ACL is divided between recreational

and commercial fishermen, with an allocation of 57%

recreational and 43% commercial. The commercial fishery

was closed in October 2010 when the quota was projected

to be reached. NOAA Fisheries reopened the fishery for two

weeks in December 2010 after weather conditions kept the

quota from being met. Harvest levels must be kept below the

commercial and recreational ACLs to prevent overfishing and

rebuild black sea bass within the specified 10-year rebuilding

period.

The Council may consider modifications to current recreational

regulations to help avoid future closures, including decreases

in bag limits. A benchmark stock assessment for both

black sea bass and golden tilefish in the South Atlantic region

is being conducted this year through the Southeast Data, Assessment,

and Review (SEDAR) program. Details regarding the

SEDAR 25 assessment workshop schedule are available from

the Council’s website at www.safmc.net.

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