MAFMC Unmanaged Forage Species Scoping Hearings

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The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) has scheduled a series of scoping hearings to gather public input for a proposed action to protect unmanaged forage species.

The proposed action would consider a prohibition on the development of new, or expansion of existing, directed fisheries on unmanaged forage species in the Mid-Atlantic until adequate scientific information is available to promote ecosystem sustainability.

Eight hearings will be held between September 15, 2015 and October 1, 2015 in locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Written comments may also be submitted through October 2, 2015.

Forage species are small, low trophic level fish and invertebrates that play an important role in sustaining the productivity and structure of marine ecosystems.

Many forage species in the Mid-Atlantic are not currently subject to significant directed fishing, but increasing global demand for fishmeal, fish oil, and bait could encourage the development of new fisheries for these species.

According to MAFMC, the agency is taking a proactive approach to conserving unmanaged forage species and the ecosystem services they provide.

The MAFMC has not yet decided which forage species will be addressed by this action; however, this action will only address species that are not currently managed by the Mid-Atlantic, New England, or South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils, or by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Additional information and updates about this action can be found in the scoping document and on the Unmanaged Forage Action page of the MAFMC website.

Scoping Hearing Schedule (Virginia)

Wednesday September 16, 2015
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
Virginia Marine Resources Commission
4th Floor Meeting Room
2600 Washington Avenue
Newport News, VA, 23607
Telephone: 757-247-2200.

Meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities.  Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aid should be directed to M. Jan Saunders, 302-526-5251, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

Written Comments

The Council will also accept written comments through 11:59 pm on Friday October 2, 2015.

Written comments may be sent through any of the following methods:

Online at

Mailed to: Dr. Chris Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE, 19901.  (Please write “unmanaged forage scoping comments” on the outside of the envelope.)

Emailed to: Julia Beaty, Assistant Fishery Plan Coordinator, at (Please write “unmanaged forage scoping comments” in the subject line.)

Faxed to: Dr. Chris Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council at fax number 302-674-5399. (Please write “unmanaged forage scoping comments” in the subject line.)

source: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council