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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
If you want to do something about this send an email (ideally separate emails) to the Commissioners and staff at the following email addresses.

[email protected] with the subject heading "Commission Comments"

[email protected] with the subject heading "Please forward to Commissioners"

Also if you have the time you should show up at the Commission meeting at their Fort Monroe office on Tuesday July 27th.

You can download the draft regulation from here:


Proposed changes. Short form.

Current. 51,100 pound quota. When 80% is reached directed fishery is closed and it goes to a 100 pound bycatch fishery where the 100 pounds is per commercial waterman with no vessel or operation limit (Note a haul seine uses 3 vessels and 6 or 7 fishermen).

Proposed. 51,100 pound quota. Directed fishery closes at 100% and incidental limit of 50 pounds per commercial fisherman with a 150 pound vessel limit.

Here is my issue with this the new regulation. In 2020 the directed commercial fishery was closed on Oct. 3rd. On Oct. 13th the bycatch fishery was closed. Prior to going to a bycatch fishery the commercial fishery was averaging 1,230 pounds per day. With the bycatch fishery it was slightly less at 1,020 pounds per day. The point being that if they stay with a 150 pound vessel limit that a haul seine operation will have a 300 pound limit and three or four operations can continue to harvest at the same level as when the fishery was open. This will do nothing but effectively increase the quota.

My opinion 50 pound incidental limit per commercial waterman is fine but it should be limited to 100 pounds per operation. Further unless the intent of the commission and commission staff is to open up the commercial quota that the directed fishery should be closed at 80% of the 51,100 pound quota.

Historically (back to 1992 or so) the commercial quota was 51,100 pounds and the season was set to 1 Sept to 31 Aug. (season dates to benefit a few haul seine fishermen). Over the years the recreational fishery has taken cut after cut, mostly self requested, so that the fishery could be maintained and improved especially after cold stun events. In early October 2012 an illegal net set was reported to CCA Fisheries (haul seine placed more that 1/4 of the way across a body of water and left in place) with the anecdotal report that one operation had already caught 20,000 pounds. The net was reported and addressed by enforcement. Fisheries staff looked into it and found that the fishery had exceeded their quota and shut it down. At a recent FMAC meeting the harvest for that fishing year (Sept. to Aug) was reported as 105,000. Below is the landings since 2012.

Somewhere around 2015/2016 the 80% trigger and 100 pound bycatch was instituted after staff realized that they did not have good control over the quota.

Below is the landings since 2012. Before then the landings were always below 51,000 pounds averaging 22,410 pounds.

2012 105,000
2013 62,000
2014 69,000
2015 5,000
2016 19,000
2017 53,000
2018 22,000
2019 95,000
2020 51,000

Oh and one last thing. Since the early 2000's the recreational fishery, in response to events like cold water kill events, etc. has ASKED FOR and taken several cuts on size and bag limits in order to maintain a quality fishery. Now we at at a 5 fish limit with only one being allowed to be over 24". Further back in 2004 we had a closed spring season. All this time the commercial fishery had a 51,100 pound quota with no changes in reguations except the commercial hook and line fishery which mirrors the recreational fishery.
 
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