Development of Bluefish Allocation Amendment to Continue into 2019

HYANNIS – The ongoing development of a Bluefish Allocation Amendment was discussed in a meeting between the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Bluefish Management Board back in mid-August.

The Council and Board have agreed to continue to work on the amendment, opting not to finalize the public hearing document or hold public hearings until assessment results come out in the spring of 2019.

While most Board and Council members were in agreement that the results of the assessment should be incorporated with the amendment, some argued that postponing its development was unnecessary.

According to the Council’s Executive Director Chris Moore, several aspects of the amendment could be discussed without having to wait on the results of more assessments.

Some at the meeting expressed concerns that significant implications on the status of the bluefish fishery could result from the Marine Recreational Information Program’s (MRIP) recent release of revised recreational catch and effort estimates.

A delay to the amendment development was suggested to allow for the completion of an assessment incorporating updated MRIP numbers.

The next assessment for bluefish is expected to be released in the spring of 2019.

The two organizations initiated the Bluefish Allocation Amendment back in December of 2017.

The amendment looks to address several key aspects of the bluefish fishery, including sector based allocations, commercial allocations to the states, transfer processes, and the goals and objectives for the Bluefish Fishery Management Plan.

BY TIM DUNN, CapeCod.com News Center

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