The National Marine Fisheries Service accepts black sea bass regulations.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued an emergency order on Tuesday that accepts recommendations for black sea bass increases by the Mid-Atlantic Council"s Scientific and Statistical Committee.
As a result, the TAC (Total Allowable Catch) is increased from 2.71 million pounds to 4.5 million pounds. After deducting discards, the TAL (Total Allowable Landings) increases from 2.3 million pounds to 3.7 million pounds. Sea bass regulations approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) provide a season from May 22 to Sept. 12, with a 12½-inch minimum and a bag limit of 25. It"s likely that those regulations will apply in all waters.
The NMFS release notes this is being done on an emergency basis (upon publication that day in the Federal Register, and without a prior comment period) in order to reduce the social and economic disruption. Yet, the agency already wiped out the winter recreational sea bass season with their October emergency order closure of recreational sea bass fishing in federal waters, and offers no relief during the balance of the winter. Since the assessment indicates sea bass are a recovered species, there was never a good justification for closing last year. Furthermore, this year"s season is ridiculously short ? and those dependent on the fall and winter seasons will once again be shortchanged.
The ASMFC recently approved New Jersey"s fluke options. Two options maintain the 18-inch minimum, with six fish and a May 29 to Sept. 6 season ? or four fluke from May 23 to Sept. 6. The other four options use an 18½-inch minimum with six fish for seasons of May 13 to Sept. 13; May 29 to Sept. 26; May 21 to Sept. 12; or May 29 to Sept. 17. The Marine Fisheries Council will make a decision next month.