ASA Collaborates on Recreational Management Reform in the Mid Atlantic

ASA Collaborates on Recreational Management Reform in the Mid Atlantic

Author: American Sportfishing Association
Published: July 1, 2022

The Modern Fish Act of 2018 (MFA) recognizes the differences between recreational and commercial fishing, adding additional management tools for policymakers to use in managing federal recreational fisheries. The MFA was a follow up to the Morris-Deal Report that emphasized the need to manage recreational fisheries based on long-term harvest rates, instead of strictly on poundage-based quotas.

Black sea bass at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, Georgia. Photo credit: NOAA

The call for new recreational management approaches is based in part on the limitations of the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP), the survey used to estimate recreational catch. MRIP data are collected as a survey, not a census, leading to inherent uncertainties that create challenges when it’s used for fine scale quota management.

To account for these uncertainties, and their impacts on setting recreational bag, size and season, the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) jointly embarked on a recreational management reform initiative for summer flounder, scup, black sea bass and bluefish. The goals of recreational management reform are to (1) provide stability in the recreational bag, size, and season limits; (2) develop strategies to increase management flexibility; and (3) align fishing access with availability and stock status. To read more, click here.

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