DNREC to Host July 7 Public Hearing on Proposed Revisions to Shad and River Herring Management Plan

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River HerringThe Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Fish and Wildlife, will host a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 7 in the DNREC auditorium, Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, regarding proposed revisions to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Shad and River Herring.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has developed a public information document (PID) as the first step to drafting an amendment in response to the findings of the 2007 benchmark stock assessment for American shad, which indicates that American shad stocks are currently at all-time lows and do not appear to be recovering.

Specific issues addressed are: (1) incorporating the biological reference points and stock restoration goals identified in the 2007 benchmark stock assessment; (2) not increasing directed fisheries for American shad; and (3) restricting fisheries operating on stocks where total mortality is increasing and relative abundance is decreasing. The PID has been developed to address these issues by seeking public comment on the restoration of American shad fisheries and American shad fisheries management.

The PID presents a broad overview of the factors affecting American shad, and provides the public with the opportunity to tell the Commission about changes observed in the fishery; things that should or should not be done in terms of management, regulation, enforcement, research, development, and enhancement; and any other concerns about the resource or the fishery. Other coastal states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia will also be holding public hearings on the proposed changes.

Following the initial phase of information-gathering and public comment, the Commission will evaluate potential management alternatives and develop a draft amendment for public review. Following that review and public comment, the Commission will specify the management measures to be included in the final amendment. A tentative schedule for the completion of the amendment is included in PID.

Copies of the PID may be obtained by contacting the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission at 202-289-6400 or by visiting its website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News.

Citizens may address comments in writing to Erika Robbins, Fisheries Management Plan Coordinator, 1444 ‘Eye’ Street, NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005, fax to 202-289-6051, or email to comments [at] asmfc [dot] org, subject line American shad. Public comment will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday, July 25.