The first step in trying to regain some sanity and semblance of reality in our Black Sea Bass
regulations was taken at the Mid-Atlantic Council meeting this past December. That step was getting the council to vote to
send the Quota recommendation for Black Sea Bass back to the SSC to be re-examined.
The second step was the actual
meeting between the SSC and the Monitoring Committee to do just that. The meeting was Friday, January 8th.
is the recommendation that came out of the meeting:
| The SSC recommends revision of their 2010 ABC to the same level of
2008. Specifically, the recommendation for the 2010 ABC would be 4.5 million lbs. The basis for this recommendation is as
follows. The 2009 catch level (associated 2.3 million lbs TAL) was based on an assessment that was not considered acceptable
by the DPSWG peer review process. Examination of black sea bass stock dynamics in response to the fishery indicate that stock
removals around 4-4.5 million lbs of total catch result in stable to increasing stock biomass. The upper level (4.5 mil lb)
of that range may not be supported by this stock. This recommendation does not incorporate management uncertainty, which the
Regional administrator may wish to take into account in the specifications of TACs/TALs under any emergency action to revise
the 2010 measures. |
While the actual TAL (Total Allowable Landings) will
be lower once discards etc. are taken into consideration (we should be looking at around 3+million pound total quota) this
is a HUGE step forward.
Considering the TAL for 2010 was 2+ million pounds, there is the potential for at least
some relaxation of our 2010 regulations.
Many things still have to happen before our regulations can be changed,
and this will NOT have any impact on the current winter fishery since that fishery was closed by an emergency action from
NMFS (the closure is in effect until mid-April)
We STILL do not have the wave 5 (Sept. and Oct.) landings data
from 2009 and wave 6 (Nov. and Dec.) would not normally be available until mid-February.
The NMFS would still
need to change, likely through emergency action, the already approved quota for 2010 of 2.3? (I forget the decimal but I am
close) million pound quota that is currently in place, and then the regulations forwarded to NMFS by the Council in December
would also have to be changed. That cannot really take place until such time as the actual landings for 2009 are known.
However, as I said previously, had we not fought in December to get the council to send the quota back to the SSC,
NOTHING would have happened.
We now know that the SSC has changed their recommendation SIGNIFICANTLY and now
must continue to work to ensure that this change in quota recommendation can have a positive impact on our regulations in
a timely manner.
Please stay tuned for more, and a BIG thanks goes out to Capt. Adam for being involved in the
conference call today. I apologize for not being able to help but work prevented me from being on the phone and computer all
day. Thank you Adam for making the time and effort to be involved in this all day today.