Council Recommends a 33% increase in Spiny Dogfish Quota

CAPE MAY, NJ - The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) met in Cape May, New Jersey, October 12-14 to recommend 2011 management measures for spiny dogfish and to select alternatives for Amendment 11 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squids, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan for submission to the Secretary.

The Council recommended a 20 million pound quota and a 3,000 pound trip limit for the 2011 fishing year (May 1, 2011 - Apr 30, 2012) for spiny dogfish. This quota represents a 33% increase from the 2010 level. The spiny dogfish stock is managed jointly with the New England Council and they will develop their recommendations at their November Meeting. Mid-Atlantic Council chairman Rick Robins stated, “Spiny dogfish joins a growing list of recovered stocks in the Mid-Atlantic region.  The Council’s action to substantially increase the spiny dogfish quota follows an extensive rebuilding effort that required considerable sacrifices by coastal fishermen from North Carolina to Maine, so these quota increases come as welcome dividends in a recovered fishery.”

A peer-review of the spiny dogfish stock in April 2010 concluded that the spawning stock biomass had been above the biomass target for two years and in June, the Councils received a letter from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) indicating that the spiny dogfish stock was rebuilt. The 20.0 million pound quota recommended by the Council was consistent with the recommendations of the Spiny Dogfish Monitoring Committee and the Joint Spiny Dogfish Committee and was based on the allowable biological catch determination of the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee.

The Council also approved Amendment 11 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squids, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The amendment would implement a limited access program in the Atlantic mackerel fishery, revises essential fish habitat designations for all FMP species and their life stages, and establish a mackerel allocation formula for landings of 93.8% and 6.2% for the commercial and recreational fisheries, respectively.  The Council also received an update from the NMFS Northeast Regional Office on the butterfish cap which will start January 1, 2011 for the Loligo fishery.