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December 7, 2009

Public hearing set on management of spot, Spanish mackerel and spotted seatrout

Management of three popular saltwater recreational species, spot, Spanish mackerel and spotted seatrout, will be discussed at public hearings along the entire US Atlantic coast during December 2009. One of the hearings will be held in Charleston, on Dec. 15th at the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ Marine Resources Center. The hearing will be held at 6:30p.m. in the classroom (Room 145) of the Marine Laboratory at 217 Fort Johnson Rd. on James Island.

The purpose of the meeting is to review the population status of the three species and solicit input from the public on changes they may have observed in the fisheries over time and to take suggestions on potential management measures or other issues citizens wish to discuss related to these fishery resources. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) intends to update the management plans for these three species and move from the current voluntary compliance by its 15 member states, to mandatory compliance including collection and reporting of pertinent fishery data.

One goal of the plan development will be to make regulations on fishing methods, size, season and creel limits consistent between state waters and the adjacent Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The hearing will also provide information from the Commission’s public information document (PID) for an omnibus amendment to the spot, Spanish mackerel, and spotted seatrout fishery management plans. Interested parties can obtain a copy by contacting Nicola Meserve at (202) 289-6400 or nmeserve@asmfc.org (subject line: Omnibus Amendment). ASMFC will accept public comment through January 15, 2010.

For more information on the local public hearing contact: SCDNR Office of Fisheries Management Director, Mel Bell at 843-953-9007 or bellm@dnr.sc.gov.      

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