For Immediate Release - August 23, 2011

New England States Schedule Hearings on Northern Shrimp Draft Amendment 2 - Public Comment Accepted Until October 3

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission News Release
PRESS CONTACT: TINA BERGER, 703.842.0740

Arlington, VA – Atlantic coastal states from Maine through Massachusetts have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on the Draft Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Northern Shrimp. The dates, times, and locations of the scheduled meetings follow:

Maine Department of Marine Resources
September 13, 2011; 6 pm
Casco Bay Ferry Terminal Conference Room
56 Commercial Street
Portland, Maine
Contact: Terry Stockwell at 207.624.6553

September 15, 2011; 6 pm
Rockland High School
400 Broadway
Rockland, Maine
Contact: Terry Stockwell at 207.624.6553

September 19, 2011; 6 pm
Ellsworth City Hall Auditorium
1 City Hall Plaza
Ellsworth, Maine
Contact: Terry Stockwell at 207.624.6553

New Hampshire Fish and Game
September 14, 2011; 7 pm
Urban Forestry Center
45 Elwyn Road
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Contact: Doug Grout at 603.868.1095

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
September 13, 2011; 6 pm
Annisquam River Station
30 Emerson Avenue
Gloucester, Massachusetts
Contact: Nichola Meserve at 617.626.1531

The Draft Amendment proposes a suite of management options that the Northern Shrimp Section may use to provide greater flexibility in managing the fishery and maximizing its overall benefits. These include clarification of fishing mortality reference points, timely and comprehensive reporting system, trip limits, trap limits, days out, area management, seasonal quotas, and harvest set asides.

Since the adoption of Amendment 1 in 2004, knowledge of the northern shrimp biology, population dynamics, and fishery has improved. While the management of northern shrimp has resulted in a rebuilt stock and increased fishing opportunity, Amendment 1 only provides two options for managing the fishery – season length and gear limitations. Early season closures occurred in the 2010 and 2011 fishing seasons because landing rates were far greater than anticipated. Furthermore, untimely reporting resulted in short notice of the season closures and an over-harvest of the target total allowable catch by 14% in 2010 and 48 % in 2011. The measures proposed in Draft Amendment 2 are intended to address these issues.

Upon completion of Amendment 2, the Section will initiate consideration of a limited entry program through the adaptive management addendum process. The Public Information Document (PID) for this Amendment initially notified the public of the Section's intent to consider development of a limited entry program. Based on public comment received on the PID and the Section’s concern regarding continuing effort increases in this fishery, the Section established a control date of June 7, 2011. The intention of the control date is to notify potential new entrants to the fishery that there is a strong possibility they will be treated differently from participants in the fishery prior to the control date. The Section may use historic landings and/or participation criteria for current and past participants as the limited entry system is established.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Amendment by either attending public hearings or providing written comments. Copies of the Draft Amendment can be obtained via the Commission’s website (www.asmfc.org) under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at 703.842.0740. The public comment deadline has been extended to 5:00 PM (EST) on October 3, 2011 and should be forwarded to Michael Waine, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at mwaine@asmfc.org (Subject line: Northern Shrimp Amendment 2).