reduce exploitation by over 50 percent in both the recreational and commercial sectors. Addendum IV
requires states to implement a one fish recreational creel limit, 100 pound commercial trip limit, 100
pound commercial bycatch limit during closed seasons, and 100 undersized fish per trip allowance for
the finfish trawl fishery. All other management measures previously adopted to conserve the stock and
reduce bycatch remain in effect.
The Board’s action comes in response to the stock status of weakfish. A recent peer-reviewed
assessment found the weakfish stock to be depleted, with spawning stock biomass estimated to be three
percent of an unfished stock, well below the 20 percent threshold and 30 percent target reference points
also approved by the Board as part of Addendum IV. The decline in biomass reflects a sustained rise in
natural mortality after 1995, rather than fishing mortality which has been modest and stable over the
same time period.
“The Board received a significant amount of public comment supporting a coastwide moratorium. In
recognition of this, it chose to implement measures that would discourage directed fishing, limit bycatch
mortality, and ensure that critical sampling programs remain on track,” stated Board Chair Roy Miller.
While the decline appears to have resulted from a change in the natural mortality of weakfish in recent
years, it is further exacerbated by continued removals by commercial and recreational fisheries.
However, given the high mortality levels, the stock is also unlikely to recover rapidly. The Addendum’s
measures are intended to reduce the level of harvest without creating a large amount of discards.
Addendum IV will be available via the Commission’s website at http://www.asmfc.org under Breaking News
by November 15. For more information, please contact Nichola Meserve, Fishery Management Plan
Coordinator, at (202) 289-6400 or email@example.com.