Additional Public Hearing Scheduled in Hatteras for Mackerel Amendment

SAFMC logo South Atlantic Fishery Management Council  
News Release  
February 26, 2007 CONTACT: Kim Iverson
Public Information Officer
(843) 571-4366

Additional Public Hearing Scheduled in Hatteras for Mackerel Amendment

Amendment 18 calls for reduction in total allowable catches for mackerel fisheries

Public Hearing Document (1.9 MB PDF) and Public Hearing Summary

At the request of area fishermen, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold an additional public hearing at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, March, 18, 2007 in Hatteras, North Carolina as part of a series of hearings to solicit public comment on an amendment to reduce the total allowable catch (TAC) for both Atlantic group king mackerel and Spanish mackerel.  Known as Amendment 18 to the Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic, the amendment would also change the commercial trip limits for Spanish mackerel to reflect recent changes in the fishing year.  Amendment 18 was changed from a regulatory amendment to a plan amendment in September 2006 to allow more flexibility for alternatives.  While the title has changed, the alternatives and information in the plan amendment remain the same.

While both the commercial and recreational mackerel fisheries remain viable in the South Atlantic, the Council is considering a precautionary approach to reduce the current TAC for each fishery based on estimates from the most recent stock assessment data.  The Council is also concerned about possible shifts to the king mackerel fishery as other fisheries reach their quotas and close early each year.  Several vessels that fish for snapper grouper species also participate in the king mackerel fishery.  The Council is concerned that recent regulatory reductions in the snapper grouper fishery may shift additional effort to the mackerel fisheries.

The Council is proposing to reduce the current annual TAC for king mackerel from 10.0 million pounds to 7.1 million pounds, and for Spanish mackerel from 7.04 million pounds to 6.7 million pounds.  For the king mackerel fishery, 62.9% is currently allocated to recreational fishermen and 37.1% to commercial fishermen.  The reduction in TAC is not expected to have an immediate effect on either sector, with projected landings for 2006/07 falling below the new allocations.  However, there is concern by commercial fishermen that the quota reduction will increase the future probability of a closure before the end of the fishing year.

Public hearings for Mackerel Amendment 18 will be held in coastal areas in the southeast, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on March 6, 2007 during the Council's March 5-9, 2007 meeting in Jekyll Island, Georgia.  Working jointly with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, Amendment 18 is scheduled for formal approval by both councils in June 2007.

Written comments for Amendment 18 are being accepted by the Council until April 10, 2007.  Comments should be addressed to: Bob Mahood, Executive Director, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, Charleston, SC 29405. Email comments to: MackerelAmendment18@safmc.net.

MACKEREL AMENDMENT 18 PUBLIC HEARINGS
All hearings are scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m.

March 6, 2007
Jekyll Island Club Hotel
371 Riverview Drive
Jekyll Island, GA 31527
Phone: 912/635-2600

March 12, 2007
Hampton Inn St. Augustine Bch.
430 A1A Beach Blvd.
St. Augustine, FL 32080
Phone: 904/471-4000

March 13, 2007
Hutchinson Island Marriott
555 N.E. Ocean Blvd.
Stuart, FL 34996
Phone: 772/225-3700

March 14, 2007
Sombrero Cay Club Resort
19 Sombrero Blvd.
Marathon, FL 33050
Phone: 305/743-2250

March 18, 2007
Hatteras Civic Center
Highway 12
Hatteras, NC 27943
252/986-2810

March 19, 2007
Crystal Coast Civic Center
3505 Arendell Street
Morehead City, NC 28557
Phone: 252/247-3883

March 20, 2007
Shell Island Resort
2700 N. Lumina Ave.
Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
Phone: 910/256-8696

March 21, 2007
Baywatch Resort
2701 S. Ocean Blvd.
N. Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
Phone: 843/272-4600

March 27, 2007
Hampton Inn
678 Citadel Haven Drive
Charleston, SC 29414
Phone: 843/573-1200

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, one of eight regional councils, conserves and manages fish stocks from three to 200 miles offshore of North and South Carolina, Georgia and east Florida.

Additional Public Hearing Scheduled in Hatteras for Mackerel Amendment