For Immediate Release - March 05, 2013

Public Comment Period for Smooth Dogfish Management Measures

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) is accepting public comment on proposed revisions to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Coastal Sharks, affecting smooth dogfish only. The proposed changes would establish state shares for smooth dogfish and increase the maximum fin-to-carcass ratio for commercial smooth dogfish fishermen processing their catch at-sea. Options are also provided to consider quota transfers between states, unused quota rollover, the setting of possession limits, and potential future modification of allocations if state shares are established through adoption of Draft Addendum II.

The addendum responds to action taken by the National Marine Fisheries Service to amend the Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan to include measures from the Shark Conservation Act of 2010. It is expected that this will include a coastwide smooth dogfish quota and revision (liberalization) to at-sea processing allowances. In anticipation of the upcoming federal quota, the Commission initiated interstate management changes to preserve the historical distribution of smooth dogfish landings. Massachusetts’ landings of smooth dogfish are minimal. All allocation options under consideration would distribute less than 1% of the coastwide quota to Massachusetts based on past landings.

For full details, refer to Draft Addendum II to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Coastal Sharks, available via the Commission’s website at http://www.asmfc.org/breakingNews.htm or by contacting the Commission at 703.842.0740.

Written public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on March 28, 2013 and should be forwarded to Marin Hawk, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX); or mhawk@asmfc.org. For more information, please contact Marin Hawk. Final action on the addendum is anticipated to occur in May.