States Schedule Public Hearings on Spanish Mackerel, Spot, and Spotted Seatrout

Several South Atlantic states have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on the Public Information Document (PID) for an Omnibus Amendment to the Interstate Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) for Spanish Mackerel, Spot, and Spotted Seatrout. The dates, times, and locations of the scheduled meetings follow.

Virginia Marine Resources Commission
December 14, 2009; 6:00 PM
2600 Washington Avenue, 4th Floor
Newport News, Virginia
Contact: Jack Travelstead at (757) 247-2247

North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries
December 16, 2009; 6:00 PM
5285 US Highway 70 West (corner of US Highway 70W and Little Nine Road; old Security Solutions building)
Morehead City, North Carolina
Contact: Michelle Duval at (252) 808-8011

South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources
December 15, 2009; 6:30 PM
MRD Lab Classroom
217 Fort Johnson Road
Charleston, South Carolina
Contact: Mel Bell at (843) 953-9007

Georgia Coastal Resources Division
December 14, 2009; 6:30 PM
Holton’s Restaurant
Exit 76 – Interstate 95
13711 Highway 84
Midway, Georgia
Contact: Doug Haymans at (912) 264-7218

As the first step in the development of an amendment, the PID presents a broad overview of the issues facing these three species. It provides the public with the opportunity to tell the Commission about changes observed in the fisheries; actions that should or should not be taken in terms of management, regulation, enforcement, and research; and any other concerns about the resources or the fisheries.
The PID and subsequent amendment are being developed to update the three species management plans to include compliance measures and other Commission standards since all three plans are voluntary in nature and lack standards that were developed in response to the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (e.g., adaptive management, de minimis criteria). In the case of Spanish mackerel, the PID will also address modifying the Commission’s management program so that it is consistent with federal management in the exclusive economic zone (because the plan is intended to track federal Spanish mackerel measures).

Following the initial phase of information gathering and public comment, the Commission will evaluate potential management alternatives and develop a Draft Omnibus Amendment for public review. Following the second public comment period, the Commission will specify management measures to be included in the final amendment. A tentative schedule for completion of the Omnibus Amendment is included in the PID.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the PID, by either attending public hearings or providing written comments. Copies of the PID can be obtained by contacting the Commission at (202) 289-6400 or via the Commission’s website at under Breaking News.  Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on January 15, 2010 and should be forwarded to Nichola Meserve, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1444 ‘Eye’ Street, NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 289-6051 (FAX) or at (Subject line: Omnibus Amendment). For more information, please contact Nichola Meserve at (202) 289-6400.

source: Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission press release