Atlantic menhaden are currently managed under Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fisheries Management Plan for Atlantic menhaden. This plan establishes a menhaden quota for Maryland that is equal to 1.37% of the total coast-wide quota. In October 2016, the Atlantic Menhaden Management Board approved a total coast-wide quota for the 2017 fishing season at 200,000 metric tons. Maryland’s portion of this quota is approximately 5.99 million pounds. , based on Maryland's average harvest between 2009 and 2011). States are required to close their fisheries when the state-specific quota has been reached; any overages must be paid back the following year.
In order to track the harvest, beginning April 1st, pound net fishermen are required to report their harvest each day that they catch menhaden. Daily menhaden harvest can be reported by text message or online. More information can be found here: http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/pages/menhaden/reporting.aspx
The Board continues to develop Amendment 3 to the Fishery Management Plan. Amendment 3 will consider changes to the management program including options for changing the method for allocating a coast wide quota among the states, and the development of ecological reference points that reflect Atlantic menhaden’s role as a forage species. At the August 2017 meeting, the Atlantic Menhaden Management Board will consider approving draft Amendment 3 for public comment. If the document is approved, hearings on Amendment 3 will be scheduled up and down the coast, including in Maryland for the latter part of August 2017.
If you have a registered pound net site as of February 18, 2013, you are qualified to activate a Menhaden Bycatch Landing Permit. These permits may be used after the Department has closed the non-regulated Menhaden fishery and will allow you to catch up to 6,000 lbs of Menhaden per vessel per day. In 2017, two individuals with their own bycatch permits can fish from the same vessel and land 12,000 lbs per vessel per day. Commercial fishermen using gears other than pound nets do not need a bycatch permit and are allowed a bycatch of 1,500 pounds per vessel per day after the unregulated fishery closes, and are not required to report Menhaden harvest daily.
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