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CONTACT:
Doug Grout, NHFG: 603-868-1095
Tina Berger, ASMFC: 703-842-0740
March 29, 2013

N.H. Hearing on American Eel Draft Addendum III

DURHAM, N.H. – Atlantic coastal states from Maine through Georgia have scheduled hearings to gather public comment on Draft Addendum III to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Eel. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will hold New Hampshire's hearing on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 7 PM at the Urban Forestry Center, 45 Elwyn Road, Portsmouth, N.H. For more information, contact N.H. Fish and Game Marine Fisheries Division Chief Doug Grout at 603-868-1095. Directions to the Urban Forestry Center are posted below (click here to skip to directions).
 
For the dates and locations of meetings in other states, visit asmfc.org.

The Draft Addendum proposes a wide range of management options with the goal of reducing mortality and increasing the conservation of American eel stocks across all life stages. Specific management options focus on both the commercial (glass, yellow, and silver eel life stages) and recreational American eel fisheries. The document also proposes increased monitoring by the states and recommendations to improve American eel habitat.

Draft Addendum III responds to the findings of the 2012 benchmark stock assessment indicating the American eel population in U.S. waters is depleted. The stock has declined in recent decades and the prevalence of significant downward trends in multiple surveys across the coast is cause for concern. Causes of decline are likely due to a combination of historical overfishing, habitat loss, food web alterations, predation, turbine mortality, environmental changes, toxins and contaminants, and disease.

Commercial regulations vary by state. Glass eel fisheries currently occur in Maine and South Carolina. Significant yellow eel fisheries occur in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, the Potomac River, Virginia, and North Carolina. Although commercial fishery landings and effort in recent times have declined in most regions, current levels of fishing effort may still be too high given the depleted nature of the stock. States and jurisdictions are required to annually report on commercial harvest and monitor juvenile abundance. The recreational fishery is currently regulated by a 50 fish per day creel limit and a six inch size minimum, although recreational harvest is believed to be low.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on Draft Addendum III by either attending public hearings or providing written comments. The Draft Addendum is available at asmfc.org/speciesDocuments/eel/fmps/DraftAddendumIII_American_ForPublicComment.pdf.

The public comment deadline is May 2, 2013; comments may be mailed to Kate Taylor, Senior Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; faxed to 703-842-0741 or emailed to comments@asmfc.org (Subject line: American Eel).

Final action on the Addendum is scheduled to occur in May. For more information, please contact Kate Taylor at ktaylor@asmfc.org or call 703-842-0740.

Directions to the Urban Forestry Center, 45 Elwyn Road, Portsmouth, N.H:  From I-95, Take exit 5 into Portsmouth Traffic Circle, then take Route 1 Bypass to Route 1 (Lafayette Road). Continue 2.5 miles through a series of 5 traffic lights; at the next stoplight (near Market Basket) turn left onto Elwyn Road. Take the first left into the Urban Forestry Center. From Route 4, travel east, across the General Sullivan Bridge, and take the Spaulding Turnpike south, past Pease International Tradeport; bear left into the Portsmouth Traffic Circle. Follow directions from Circle.

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