CONTACT:
Doug Grout: 603-868-1095 
Jane Vachon: 603-271-3211
April 6, 2009

Public Hearing in N.H. April 22 on Winter Flounder Management Proposal   

DURHAM, N.H. -- The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's Marine Fisheries Division will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. at the Urban Forestry Center, 45 Elwyn Road, Portsmouth, N.H. to gather public input on a proposed change to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC) fisheries management plan for winter flounder. 

The hearing is part of a series of regional hearings by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Winter Flounder Management Board, which has approved the release of Draft Addendum I to Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for the Inshore Stocks of Winter Flounder for public review and comment.

The Draft Addendum proposes a suite of management measures to reduce fishing mortality on the inshore stocks of winter flounder (0 to 3 miles). The range of management measures includes recreational bag limits, recreational seasons and commercial possession limits.

The Board initiated the Draft Addendum in response to the findings of the 2008 Groundfish Assessment Report Meeting, which estimates that the Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic stock is at 9 percent of the target biomass (overfished) with overfishing occurring and that the Gulf of Maine stock is likely to be overfished with overfishing likely to be occurring.

Another factor influencing the Board's action is pending federal management measures on groundfish stocks that will significantly reduce fishing mortality on federally managed groundfish stocks in offshore waters (3 - 200 miles). Options under Draft Addendum I will seek to enhance stock rebuilding efforts throughout the species range by reducing fishing-related mortality on inshore spawning stocks.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum, either by attending public hearings or sending written comments. To read the proposal or comment in writing, visit www.asmfc.org; click on "Breaking News."

If you have questions about the upcoming public meeting in New Hampshire, contact N.H. Fish and Game Marine Division Chief Doug Grout at (603) 868-1095.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's marine, fish and wildlife resources and their habitats.  Visit www.WildNH.com/marine.

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