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ASMFC American Eel Management Board Delays Action on Draft Addendum IV until October

Alexandria, VA – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s American Eel Management Board met to consider final approval of Draft Addendum IV to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for American Eel. Draft Addendum IV proposes a suite of options to address the commercial glass, yellow, and silver eel fisheries along the Atlantic coast. Management options under consideration include glass and yellow eel quotas, a catch cap for the yellow eel fishery, and a seasonal closure and license cap for the silver eel fishery in the Delaware River in New York. The Draft Addendum also includes glass eel harvest allowances for aquaculture purposes and as credit for habitat restoration programs.

The Board reviewed public comment from state public hearings conducted along the coast and written comment submitted to the Commission. After lengthy deliberations of the extensive proposed management options and in recognition of the states’ varying interests and needs, the Board decided to postpone final action on the Draft Addendum IV. In the interim, Board will convene a subcommittee of its members to identify preferred management measures to be considered by the Board for final action at the Commission’s Annual Meeting in Mystic, Connecticut the week of October 27, 2014.

The Draft Addendum is the second phase of management action in response to the 2012 American Eel Benchmark Stock Assessment indicating the American eel population in U.S. waters is depleted. Causes of decline are likely due to a combination of historical overfishing, habitat loss, food web alterations, predation, turbine mortality, environmental changes, toxins and contaminants, and disease. The stock has declined in recent decades and is currently under consideration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. For more information, please contact Kate Taylor, at ktaylor@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.