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MARCH 4, 2013

PRESS CONTACT:
DOUG GROUT, 603.868.1095
TINA BERGER, 703.842.0740

NH Schedules Public Hearing on Winter Flounder Draft Addendum III

Arlington, VA – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Winter Flounder Management Board approved Draft Addendum III to Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for the Inshore Stocks of Winter Flounder for public comment.  The Draft Addendum proposes an annual specification process to set commercial and recreational fisheries measures for the Gulf of Maine (GOM) and Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE/MA) fisheries, including in-season accountability measures for commercial fisheries.

New Hampshire and Rhode Islanda have scheduled hearings to gather public comment on Draft Addendum III. The dates, times, and locations of the scheduled meetings follow.

New Hampshire Fish and Game
March 5, 2013; 7:00 PM
Urban Forestry Center
45 Elwyn Road
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Contact: Doug Grout at 603.868.1095

Rhode Island Division of Marine Fisheries
March 26, 2013; 7:00 PM
University of Rhode Island Bay Campus Corless Auditorium
215 South Ferry Road
Narragansett, Rhode Island
Contact: Melissa Yuen at 703.842.0717

The Commission manages the two inshore stocks of winter flounder in the GOM and SNE/MA (0 – 3 miles from shore), while the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) manages winter flounder in offshore waters (3 – 200 miles).  NEFMC annually establishes specifications for winter flounder stocks, including an annual catch limit (ACL), the allocation of the ACL by sub-component, and accountability measures (AMs). The federal sub-components of the ACL are subject to the established AMs. These specifications are forwarded to NOAA Fisheries Northeast Region for final approval.

Since the ACL must account for all winter flounder harvest, state water harvest is estimated as part of the federal specification process. The state water estimate is not an allocation (ACL or a target), but an estimate of catch based on the state water landings history and state regulations in both the commercial and recreational fisheries.

The Draft Addendum proposes an annual specification process to set commercial and recreational fisheries measures, including trip limits, seasons, size limits, and possession limits, that are based on the federally-established state water sub-component ACL. These measures would be subject to review by the Commission’s Winter Flounder Technical Committee and approval by the Management Board.  The Draft Addendum also proposes a harvest control measure using a trigger that will reduce commercial trip limits when a specified percentage of the state water sub-ACL is reached. 

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. Draft Addendum III is available on the Commission website (asmfc.org) under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at 703.842.0740. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on April 10, 2013, and should be forwarded to Melissa Yuen, FMP Coordinator, at 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or myuen@asmfc.org (Subject line: Winter Flounder Draft Addendum III). For more information, please contact Melissa Yuen at myuen@asmfc.org.

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PR13-12

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