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Amendment 22 to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan

November 16, 2022

This action implements changes to the commercial and recreational allocations for summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass.

This action implements changes to the commercial and recreational allocations for summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass. The original commercial and recreational allocations for all three species were established in the mid-1990s, based on historical proportions of landings (for summer flounder and black sea bass) and catch (for scup) from each sector.

In July 2018, MRIP released revised time series of catch and harvest estimates based on adjustments to its angler intercept methodology, which is used to estimate recreational catch rates, as well as changes to its effort estimation methodology, namely, a transition from a telephone-based effort survey to a mail-based effort survey for the private/rental boat and shore-based fishing modes. These revisions collectively resulted in higher recreational catch estimates compared to previous estimates, affecting the entire time series of data going back to 1981. The revised MRIP estimates were incorporated into the stock assessments for summer flounder in 2018 and for scup and black sea bass in 2019. This impacted the estimated stock biomass and resulting catch limits for these species.

The revised MRIP time series created a mismatch between the data that were used to set the allocations and the data currently used in management for setting catch limits.  Changes to commercial catch data have also been made since the allocations were established. The allocation changes approved through this amendment seek to ensure that the best available data is used to determine commercial and recreational sector allocations. 

Approved commercial/recreational allocations
Species Base Years Commercial Allocation Percentage (%) Recreational Allocation Percentage (%)
Summer Flounder 1980-1989 55 45
Scup 1988-1992 65 35
Black Sea Bass 1983-1992 45 55

 

This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.