Fishermen angling for black sea bass may have more time on the water this season, following a massive increase in the amount of fish that can be caught without endangering the overall population of the species.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council last month more than doubled the annual catch limit for the commercial and recreational black sea bass fisheries, increasing the total allowable weight to 1.8 million pounds, up from 847,000. That decision followed a review of scientific data showing that population numbers had increased while overfishing plummeted, resulting in a healthy stock.
The increase should ensure a full-length fishing season, putting an end to the early closures that have plagued fishermen for years. Those seasons, truncated after previous catch limits were exceeded, were cautionary measures meant to prevent overfishing of fledging sea bass populations. Throughout that process, fishermen reported seeing large numbers of black sea bass in waters off the coast, observations confirmed by the most recent data update.
“There are bigger fish and more fish,” said Kim Iverson, a spokeswoman for the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. “The fishermen have paid the price by having shortened seasons and restrictions, and now the stock is recovering and those fishermen will also reap that reward.”
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National Fisherman Live: 12/16/14
In this episode, Bruce Buls, WorkBoat's technical editor, interviews Long Island lobsterman John Aldridge, who survived for 12 hours after falling overboard in the dead of night. Aldridge was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Pacific Marine Expo, which took place Nov. 19-21 in Seattle.
NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.