Changes to At­lantic Co­bia Man­age­ment Ap­proved

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The South At­lantic Fish­ery Man­age­ment Coun­cil ap­proved an amend­ment to re­move At­lantic co­bia from the cur­rent fed­eral man­age­ment plan and trans­fer man­age­ment to the At­lantic States Marine Fish­eries Com­mis­sion (ASMFC), an in­ter­state body that man­ages shared mi­gra­tory fish­eries.

De­signed to pre­vent in­con­sis­tent reg­u­la­tions in state and fed­eral wa­ters and im­prove flex­i­bil­ity in the man­age­ment of At­lantic co­bia from Ge­or­gia to New York, Amend­ment 31 to the Coastal Mi­gra­tory Pelagic Fish­ery Man­age­ment Plan now re­quires ap­proval from the Sec­re­tary of Com­merce for ASMFC to solely as­sume man­age­ment re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of said species north of the Flor­ida state bound­ary.

The coun­cil ap­proved the amend­ment af­ter re­view­ing pre­lim­i­nary re­sults from a re­cent Co­bia Stock ID Work­shop held in April and con­sid­ered rec­om­men­da­tions from its Mack­erel Co­bia Ad­vi­sory Panel. Pub­lic com­ments on the amend­ment were also con­sid­ered.

An in­ter­state man­age­ment plan for At­lantic co­bia in state wa­ters from Ge­or­gia to New York im­ple­mented by ASMFC in April 2018 aligns with cur­rent fed­eral reg­u­la­tions for At­lantic co­bia. Un­der the ASMFC In­ter­state Plan, state-spe­cific al­lo­ca­tions are es­tab­lished based on the cur­rent fed­eral an­nual catch limit, with North Carolina and Vir­ginia re­ceiv­ing the ma­jor­ity of the al­lo­ca­tion based on pre­vi­ous land­ings.

In­di­vid­ual coastal states have sub­mit­ted plans for At­lantic co­bia (in­clud­ing reg­u­la­tions for a min­i­mum size limit, ves­sel limit, and sea­son) to the ASMFC, based on those al­lo­ca­tions. The state reg­u­la­tions are in­tended to keep har­vest lev­els be­low the al­lo­cated state-spe­cific pounds of At­lantic co­bia.

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