Mid-Atlantic Council requests blueline tilefish emergency ruling

DOVER, DE – On Mar. 10, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council requested emergency rulemaking from the Secretary of Commerce under 305 (c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, to restrict commercial and recreational landings of blueline tilefish in their jurisdiction.

The request came after a two-hour emergency webinar public hearing in which over 100 commercial and recreational fishermen, council members, and state and federal fisheries managers participated on Feb. 25.

In a letter to NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Office (GARFO) regional administrator John Bullard, Council Chair Rick Robins said the rule was necessary to prevent the risk of depleting the stock while the council considers long-term stock management.

As part of the ruling, the council is seeking commercial and recreational possession limits of 300 pounds whole weight, and seven fish per person respectively, similar to landing limits adopted by Virginia and Maryland several years ago.

Blueline tilefish – a large, slower-growing species in the grouper family – are managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

In December 2013, the South Atlantic Council received the Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) 32 stock assessment that indicated the stock was overfished and overfishing was occurring.

At the South Atlantic Council’s request, NMFS put into effect an emergency rule that established separate blueline tilefish commercial and recreational annual catch limits (ACLs) from the deepwater complex. …


Read the rest of this story and much, much more in the April issue of Commercial Fisheries News.  Buy this issue or Subscribe

(Read online immediately with access key and download for future reference.)