Councils to select prelimary preferred options for monitoring of mackerel, herring fisheries

MONTAUK, NY – At its Apr 12-15 meeting here, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will review new cost analyses for monitoring landings and discards in the Atlantic mackerel fishery under the pending Industry-Funded Monitoring (IFM) Omnibus Amendment, a joint council initative in which NOAA Fisheries (NMFS) has lead development responsibilities.

The Mid-Atlantic council is likely to select preliminary preferred alternatives for target coverages in the mid-water trawl and small mesh bottom trawl based on costs to the fishing industry and NMFS, and on anticipated data needs.

The IFM Omnibus is a joint regional action that will allow prioritization and structured cost-sharing of monitoring in any fishery management plan (FMP) in both the Mid-Atlantic and the New England region.

Two FMPs – Atlantic sea scallops and Northeast Multispecies (Groundfish) – have industry-funded monitoring in place, but the IFM Omnibus will not affect them.

The IFM Omnibus does consider the mackerel FMP and the New England Fishery Management Council’s Atlantic herring FMP as part of this action.

The New England council will consider preliminary preferred alternatives for industry-funded monitoring in the Atlantic Herring FMP at its Apr. 19-21 meeting in Mystic, CT.

Originally slated for a late 2015 approval, the omnibus slowed down to allow for NMFS staff to perform additional cost analyses last fall.

The councils were concerned that the fishing industry’s costs outweighed the benefits of higher accuracy in bycatch estimates.

Some council members raised issues of how the data would be used and why it was needed…

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