Federal Fishery Management
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission was formed by the 15 Atlantic coast states in 1942 in recognition that fish do not adhere to political boundaries. The Commission serves as a deliberative body, coordinating the conservation and management of the states shared near shore fishery resources – marine, shell, and anadromous – for sustainable use.
Member states are Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Each is represented by threeCommissioners: the director for the state’s marine fisheries management agency, a state legislator, and an individual appointed by the governor. Commissioners participate in the deliberations in the Commission’s five main policy arenas:Interstate fisheries management, research and statistics, fisheries science, habitat conservation, and law enforcement. The one-state one-vote concept allows Commissioners to address stakeholder-resource balance issues at the state level.
The Commission focuses on responsible stewardship of marine fisheries resources. It serves as a forum for the states to collectively address fisheries issues under the premise that as a group, using a cooperative approach, they can achieve more than they could as individuals. The Commission does not promote a particular state or a particular stakeholder sector.
To promote the better utilization of the fisheries, marine, shell and anadromous, of the Atlantic seaboard by the development of a joint program for the promotion and protection of such fisheries, and by the prevention of physical waste of the fisheries from any cause.
Healthy, self-sustaining populations for all Atlantic coast fish species or successful restoration well in progress by the year 2015.
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (also known as the Council, Mid-Atlantic Council, or MAFMC) is one of eight regional fishery management councils in the United States. The other Councils are the North Pacific, Pacific, Western Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, New England, and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils.
The regional fishery management councils recommend fishery management measures to the Secretary of Commerce through the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The decisions made by the Councils are not final until they are approved or partially approved by the Secretary of Commerce through NMFS.
The Mid-Atlantic Council manages fisheries for summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, bluefish, Atlantic mackerel, short-finned squid (Illex), long-finned squid (Loligo), butterfish, surfclams, ocean quahogs, and tilefish. It jointly manages spiny dogfish and monkfish with the New England Fishery Management Council.
The seven states that comprise the Council are New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina (North Carolina is also on the South Atlantic Council). The Council also works with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to manage summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, bluefish, and spiny dogfish.
The Council is made up of 21 voting representatives (20 from its seven states and one Federal member, i.e., National Marine Fisheries Service’s Northeast Regional Administrator). Seven represent the constituent states fish and wildlife agencies, 13 are private citizens who are knowledgeable about recreational or commercial fishing, or marine conservation. These 13 citizens are nominated by the governors of their respective states and are appointed to the Council by the Secretary of Commerce. There are also four non-voting members representing the ASMFC, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Council develops fishery management plans and recommends management measures for the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the east coast of the United States. State jurisdiction extends from the shoreline to three miles 7 seaward of the shoreline. All the states involved in fisheries management have their own laws and fishing agencies to manage fisheries within three miles of their coasts.
The Council’s plans are coordinated with the ASMFC and adjacent Councils (NEFMC and SAFMC) to implement a compatible conservation management system within the EEZ as well as state waters. Federal regulations generally apply only in federal waters, but there are instances where they may also apply in state waters.
The Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, (renamed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act when amended on October 11, 1996) established a U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between 3 and 200 miles offshore, and createdeight regional fishery councils to manage the living marine resources within that area. The Act was passed principally to address heavy foreign fishing, promote the development of a domestic fleet and link the fishing community more directly to the management process.
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, was reauthorized and amended through January 12, 2007
(1) The Regional Administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (or her designee);
(5) The principal state official with marine fishery management responsibility (or their designee) for Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
(12) Twelve members nominated by the governors of the New England coastal states and appointed by the Secretary of Commerce for three-year terms (they may serve a maximum of three consecutive terms).
In addition, four non-voting members represent the United States Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of State, and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
Full list of Council Membership
Financial Interest of Members
Council members may have an interest in any fishery-related harvesting, processing, lobbying, advocacy, or marketing activity as long as they disclose the extent of this interest to the public. This ensures that knowledgeable fishing industry members can serve on the Council. Council members are not allowed to vote on matters that would benefit only them or a minority of other people within the same sector or gear group.
NEFMC member financial disclosure form must be available for public inspection on the Internet and at the Council office. Details of this requirement are provided in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act - Section 302 (j) DISCLOSURE OF FINANCIAL INTEREST AND RECUSAL.
To more efficiently develop alternatives and management measures for Council consideration and eventual inclusion in a fishery management plan, each Council member serves on one or more oversight committees. Committees are generally related to a specific fishery or management issue.