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ASMFC American Lobster Board Approves Addendum XXII and Releases Draft Addendum XXIII for Public Comment

St. Simons Island, GA – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s American Lobster Management Board approved Addendum XXII to Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for American Lobster and Draft Addendum XXIII for public comment. Addendum XXII implements Single Ownership and Aggregate Ownership Caps in Lobster Conservation Management Area 3 (LCMA 3, federal waters). These measures are intended to enhance the ability of lobster business owners to plan for their future fishing operations as trap reductions are initiated. Draft Addendum XXIII contains information on habitat needs for American lobster and does not include any proposed management changes.

Under Addendum XVIII, approved in 2012, permitted LCMA 3 lobster fishermen or companies will have their trap allocations reduced by 5% per year for five years. The Single Ownership Cap allows LCMA 3 permit holders to purchase lobster traps above the trap cap of 2,000 traps. Any traps purchased above the trap cap may not be fished until approved by the permit holder’s regulating agency once the trap reductions commence. This will allow permit holders to maintain a profitable business over the course of the trap reductions while reducing latent effort (i.e. unfished traps) in the fishery. The Aggregate Ownership Cap limits permitted LCMA 3 lobster fishermen or companies from owning more traps than five times the Single Ownership Cap, unless the permit holder had the ability to purchase a higher amount prior to NOAA Fisheries publishing a present day control date. Similar management caps were approved for LCMA 2 in August 2013. Since LCMA 3 is solely in federal waters, the Addendum recommends that NOAA Fisheries promulgate these measures through the federal rule making process,

Addendum XXII is the third in a series of addenda that respond to the depleted condition of the Southern New England (SNE) lobster resource by scaling the capacity of the SNE fishery to the size the SNE resource. Since the scope of the SNE resource encompasses all or part of five of the seven LCMAs established by Amendment 3, additional addenda will be developed to address effort reductions in the remaining LCMAs (4, 5, and 6).

Draft Addendum XXIII was developed at the recommendation of the Commission’s Habitat Committee. It proposes updating Amendment 3’s habitat section to include information on the habitat requirements and tolerances of American lobster by life stage. The Board will consider final approval of the Addendum at the Commission’s Winter Meeting in February.

Addendum XXII and Draft Addendum XXIII will be available on the Commission website (www.asmfc.org) or by contacting the Commission at 703.842.0740. Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum XXIII. Public comment will be accepted until 5 PM EST on December 20, 2013 and should be forwarded to Kate Taylor, Senior FMP Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at ktaylor@asmfc.org (Subject line: American Lobster). For more information, please contact Kate Taylor, , at ktaylor@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.