Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan Framework Adjustment 13

October 28, 2019

Effective date: November 29, 2019.

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 (see Table 1). 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.

Table 1. 2019-2021 Specifications (mt)

Specification

2019

2020

2021

Overfishing Limit (only available for 2019)

31,764

N/A

N/A

Total Acceptable Biological Catch

29,184

32,480

33,474

Canadian Catch Deduction

10,000

10,000

10,000

U.S. ABC-Annual Catch Limit (ACL) (Canadian Catch Deducted)

19,184

22,480

23,474

Recreational Allocation

1,209

1,209

1,209

Commercial Allocation

17,975

21,271

22,265

Management Uncertainty Buffer 3%

539

638

669

Commercial Annual Catch Target (97% of ACL)

17,436

20,633

21,597

Domestic Annual Harvest (DAH) (0.37% discards)

17,371

20,557

21,517

Last updated by Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office on October 29, 2019