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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

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Marine Fisheries - SAFMC Council Solicits Public Input

Marine Fisheries

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Release: Immediate
Date: July 25, 2016
Contact: Kim Iverson
Email: kim.iverson@safmc.net

Council Solicits Public Input on Proposed Measures for Atlantic Cobia and
Mutton Snapper Plus Options for Allocation of
Dolphin and Yellowtail Snapper

Public hearings and a scoping meeting scheduled for August; new story map summaries available

Federal fishery managers are currently soliciting public input on proposed measures that may affect fishermen fishing in federal waters ranging from 3 to 200 miles offshore along the Atlantic coast. A series of public hearings and scoping meetings are scheduled for August including in-person hearings from Virginia Beach to Key West and online webinars. Written comments are also being accepted until August 19, 2016.

Regulation changes are proposed for Atlantic cobia, a species commonly targeted by recreational fishermen as it migrates northward in the late spring and early summer. The Atlantic cobia stock is managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council in cooperation with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council from Georgia to New York in federal waters. The recreational fishery for Atlantic cobia was closed in federal waters on June 20, 2016. Recreational landings in 2015 exceeded the annual catch limit and accountability measures currently in place were implemented for the following year, resulting in a shorter season. Management measures are being considered to lengthen the recreational season beginning in 2017 and help ensure consistent and stable fishing opportunities.

Changes are also proposed for mutton snapper regulations in South Atlantic federal waters following a recent stock assessment and concerns about fishing pressure during the spring spawning season. The harvest of mutton snapper occurs primarily off the coast of southern Florida. The fish gather in large numbers to spawn during the full moon each spring, making them highly susceptible to fishing efforts. Proposed management measures would reduce fishing pressure during the spawning season and provide further protection to the stock. The Council is coordinating with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to develop compatible regulations.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is also considering options for modifying allocations between commercial and recreational sectors for dolphin (mahi mahi) and yellowtail snapper. The options are being considered based on public input for the need to ensure the longest fishing season for both sectors.

Read the complete news release for additional information and a listing of dates and locations for the hearings and webinars. Public hearings begin August 1st.

Learn more about the proposed measures from the Public Hearing and Scoping Meeting page of the Council's website — now with new interactive story maps available for each amendment.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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