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New York, New York - The Commission's Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Management Board approved an initial total allowable landings (TAL) limit of 12.98 million pounds for the 2007 summer flounder fishery. The Board expects that this quota will enable the Secretary of Commerce to determine that overfishing is not occurring, thereby allowing him to exercise the recent authority provided under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) to extend the rebuilding period to 2013. Under this new deadline, the 2007 TAL is expected to increase to 17.11 million pounds. The Management Board anticipates that this increase in quota will occur before March 1, 2007.

In setting the TAL, the Board took into account the recent reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which included a provision that would allow for the extension of the rebuilding time frame for the summer flounder fishery to no later than January 1, 2013. Under that provision overfishing cannot be occurring. By setting the initial TAL at 12.98 million pounds, the Board ensures that overfishing is not occurring, enabling an extension in the rebuilding time frame. Under the revised rebuilding time frame, the 17.11 million pound TAL would have a 75% chance of achieving the fishing mortality rate needed to rebuild the summer flounder fishery by January 1, 2013.

On December 13, 2006, NOAA Fisheries will publish a final rule setting the 2007 TAL for the summer flounder fishery at 12.98 million pounds in order to meet the congressional mandate to end overfishing. Once the President signs the Magnuson-Stevens Act into law, NOAA Fisheries will have the flexibility to extend the rebuilding time frame if overfishing is not occurring and a mechanism is in place to ensure that overfishing will not occur.

The Commission's Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Management Board also met with the Council to set recreational specifications for the summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries. A subsequent press release will announce the outcome of that meeting. For more information, please contact Toni Kerns, FMP Coordinator, at (202) 289-6400 or <[email protected]>.
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