ASMFC South Atlantic Board Approves Atlantic Croaker and Spot Addenda

ASMFC South Atlantic Board Approves Atlantic Croaker and Spot Addenda

Arlington, VA – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s South Atlantic State/Federal Fisheries Management Board approved Addendum III to Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Croaker and Addendum III to the Omnibus Amendment to the Interstate FMPs for Spanish Mackerel, Spot, and Spotted Seatrout. These Addenda adjust management of Atlantic croaker and spot through their respective Traffic Light Approaches (TLA).

Through the annual analysis of the TLA, which assigns a color (red, yellow, or green) to characterize relative levels of indicators that reflect the condition of the fish population (abundance characteristic) or fishery (harvest characteristic). If the amount of red, indicating low abundance or low harvest, in both characteristics exceeds threshold levels (30% and 60%) for too many years, management action is triggered. In 2018, the Atlantic Croaker Technical Committee and Spot Plan Review Team recommended updates to their respective TLAs that would incorporate additional fishery-independent indices, age information, use of regional characteristics, and changes to the management-triggering mechanism.

These Addenda change the management-triggering mechanisms to enact coastwide management if the amounts of red for both the harvest and abundance characteristics within a region (Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic) exceed threshold levels for 3 of the 4 most recent years for Atlantic croaker and 2 of the 3 most recent years for spot. The Addenda also define commercial and recreational management responses to triggers at each threshold level (see table below). Finally, the Addenda define the processes for evaluating the fisheries while triggered measures are in place and determining when triggered measures may be removed.

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Atlantic Croaker and Spot Addenda

Both Addenda were approved for immediate implementation by the states of New Jersey through Florida. The next TLA analyses will be presented to the Board at the Commission’s Summer Meeting.

The Addenda will be available on the Commission’s website, www.asmfc.org (on the Atlantic Croaker and Spot webpages) by mid-February. For more information, please contact Dr. Mike Schmidtke, FMP Coordinator, at mschmidtke@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.             

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