Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Approves $1 Million for Fish Conservation Efforts in Long Island Waters

Jun 25, 2009

Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the
Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee has approved the FY10 Appropriations
Bill which includes $1 million for the Partnership for Mid-Atlantic Fisheries
Science (PMAFS) – Fish Stock Improvement Initiative.  This funding will
assist in the development of urgently needed data to improve the management of
summer flounder and black sea bass. The bill will now proceed to
the Senate Floor as the next step in the appropriations process.  Schumer
worked closely with members of the Appropriations Committee to include funding
for the project in this year’s spending bill.

funding will provide a big boost to the Long Island fishing industry,” Schumer
said.  “While the Long Island fishing industry is reeling from the
economic downturn and sky high fuel costs, this funding will provide necessary
data to ensure that the fishing community and the Long Island economy are
not hurt by unfair quotas and size limits.”

order to protect our fishing industries and our fisheries, we to make the best
data available,” Senator Gillibrand said. “For far too long, inadequate and
archaic data has determined regulations that have affected thousands of lives
on Long Island, from Freeport to Greenport to Montauk. This funding will enable
better data collection for the management of these fisheries.”

will use the funding to focus on the development of urgently needed data to
improve the management of summer flounder and black sea bass. To do this, PMAFS
will appoint a select steering committee of academic scientists and key
recreational and commercial fishery representatives. This steering committee,
in collaboration with federal and state regulatory partners, will establish
targeted research programs addressing key data inadequacies, and as a
consequence, secure improved management of these key recreational and
commercial species.  The recreational summer flounder and black sea bass
fishing sectors include individual anglers, party and charter boat businesses,
boat builders, fishing tackle manufacturers, bait and tackle retailers,
marinas, and many other businesses in fishing communities from North Carolina
to Massachusetts. The coast-wide commercial fishing fleet comprises many family
owned businesses that have operated for close to a century and span multiple
generations.  The fisheries involve both large and small vessels and provide
products that are key components of the offerings of most seafood restaurants
and seafood retailers.  These benefits to the culture and economy of the
Mid-Atlantic are only possible with long-term sustainability of the summer
flounder and black sea bass fisheries.

projects that may be carried out by PMAFS include the following: (a.)
Evaluation of discard mortality by trawl capture using live tanks and tagging
and monitoring of survival; (b.) Improvement in recreational discard estimates
for private/rental vessel anglers;  (c.) Evaluation of critical aspects of
reproductive biology including spawning season, sex ratio, size and age at
maturity, fecundity, and egg quality; (d.) Determination of the relationship of
natural mortality rate with age and sex; (e.) Parameterization of
forward-projecting numerical models capable of using sex-dependent and
age-dependent formulations and, for black sea bass, the change in sex from
female to male; (f.) Development of a survey program to identify the sex ratio
of commercial and recreational landings and discards; and (g.) Development of
supplemental surveys, particularly for black sea bass, to better assess
population structure in areas not accessible by NMFS trawl surveys.

new era in the management of the marine fisheries of the U.S. began with the
passage of the scientific standards for domestic fisheries management in the
1996 “Sustainable Fisheries Act” (SFA) Amendments to the Magnuson
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA).  This statute set
as the goal of management maintaining fisheries at maximum sustainable yield.
The need to develop more sophisticated stock assessment and data collection
techniques to address the new requirements in the MSFCMA, the necessity of
assessing the effectiveness of regulations implemented to meet the requirements
of the MSFCMA, the effect of climate change on marine resources, and the need
to reduce discards, address discard mortality through gear technology, protect
habitat, and provide adequate protection for species of concern far exceeds the
fiscal resources currently available in the Mid-Atlantic region.

is a multi-state multi institutional partnership that combines the recreational
and commercial fishing industries with the expertise of leading academic
institutions in the Mid-Atlantic region. PMAFS is the first and only
organization of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic. PMAFS will provide the framework
enabling these institutions and concerned industry groups to effectively
address the most urgent scientific problems in fisheries management and will
incorporate this critical information into the management process through
well-established partnerships with NMFS, MAFMC, and ASMFC committees and
assessment programs.

that the bill has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, it
will be sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Following approval by the
Full Committee and the Senate, the bill will move towards Conference with the
House and then to the President for signature.