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March 20, 2001


For more information contact:
Bruce Freeman at 609-292-2083

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife will host a public meeting on Thursday, March 29, at Ocean County Administration Building, 101 Hooper Avenue at 6:30 p.m. in Toms River. The meeting will focus on amendments to the Interstate Fishery Management Plans for American lobster, horseshoe crab and spiny dogfish.

"The Division is working cooperatively with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to ensure the future of American lobster, horseshoe crab and spiny dogfish in New Jersey waters," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "Current management strategies must be assessed and if necessary, modified for the benefit of these populations."

The lobster plan addendum addresses options for the use of conservation equivalency for non-trap gear limits (any gear other than lobster pots) and v-notch possession restrictions (referring to the cut tail in female lobsters) as outlined in a previous amendment. It also provides the flexibility to adopt alternative management approaches that are conservationally similar to required management measures.

The purpose of the horseshoe crab plan addendum is to provide for the voluntary transfer of harvest quotas between states to alleviate bait shortages on a biologically responsible basis. The addendum identifies a series of management options and procedures for reviewing and approving state-to-state quota transfers. The spiny dogfish plan addendum focuses on developing management options for the spiny dogfish fishery beginning May 1, 2001. The options being considered include extending the existing emergency action, which maintains closure of state waters to the commercial harvest, landing and possession of spiny dogfish when there is a closure in federal waters. Other options include adopting federal regulations that prohibit a directed fishery and implementing a fishery based upon state-by-state allocation.

Copies of the draft amendments can be obtained by contacting ASMFC Administrative Assistant Vanessa Jones at 202-289-6400, or by visiting the ASMFC web site at

Individuals can provide input into the decision-making process by attending the meetings; writing the ASMFC at 1444 Eye Street, N.W., Sixth Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005; faxing their input to 202-289-6051; or e-mailing it to The public comment period for lobster extends until April 22, 2001; for horseshoe crab, the deadline is April 13, 2001; and for spiny dogfish, comments must be submitted by April 10, 2001.