Framework Adjustment 13 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan
A November 2017 benchmark assessment determined that the Atlantic mackerel stock was overfished and subject to overfishing. The Council will review the Atlantic mackerel specifications each year and will consider the results of a management track stock assessment in 2020 to refine future specifications.
This action establishes a five-year rebuilding plan, including a modification to the Council’s risk policy to allow for a higher rebuilding fishing mortality rate. This action includes measures to implement the 2019-2021 Atlantic mackerel specifications. A revised river herring and shad catch cap for the Atlantic mackerel fishery that will start at 89 mt and increase to 129 mt in 2019, but only if the fishery lands 10,000 mt of Atlantic mackerel without hitting the initial 89 mt catch cap.
This action also modifies the process to close the directed Atlantic mackerel fishery to slow Atlantic mackerel catch and allow sufficient Atlantic mackerel bycatch in the Atlantic herring fishery. Changes to the in-season closure measures are: when 90 percent of the allowable commercial catch is projected to be harvested, limited access permit holders will be allowed to possess 40,000 lb of Atlantic mackerel and open access permit holders will be allowed to possess 5,000 lb of Atlantic mackerel. When 98 percent of the allowable commercial catch is projected to be harvested, all Atlantic mackerel permit holders will be allowed to possess 5,000 lb of mackerel. Lastly, the discretion for NOAA Fisheries to keep the Atlantic mackerel fishery open in November and December if landings are projected to not exceed the allowable catch.