The ASMFC Winter Flounder Board recently approved Addendum II to Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for the Inshore Stocks of Winter Flounder.
The Addendum modifies the commercial and recreational management requirements for the Gulf of Maine (GOM) stock in response to updated stock status information and recent federal action to increase the GOM winter flounder state waters’ estimated harvest level.
The new regulations will allow recreational anglers to fish on a year round basis although the measures apply only to GOM state waters’ fisheries until June 1, 2013.
A peer reviewed stock assessment of GOM winter flounder was completed in 2011, which changed the stock’s status to not experiencing overfishing, although the overfished status could not be determined.
In response to the new assessment, the estimated harvest limit (state waters) for 2012 fishing year was increased to 272 mt, a 450% increase from 60 mt in 2010.
The Board also approved Draft Addendum III for public comment. The Draft Addendum proposes to establish output controls for GOM state waters for both recreational and commercial fisheries in order to stay within the annually established state waters harvest limit.
Proposed controls for the fishery could include trip limits, size limits, area closures, seasons, and possession limits (to be determined by the Board on an annual basis).
The Draft Addendum also proposes a trigger to reduce commercial trip limits when a percentage of the state water harvest (established by NOAA Fisheries) has been reached.
For more information, visit the ASMFC website (www.asmfc.org) or contact Toni Kerns, ISFMP Acting Director, at 703.842.0740 or firstname.lastname@example.org.