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Connecticut Fishermen Secure Increase in Black Sea Bass Quota Following Support from Connecticut Congressional Delegation

February 2, 2021
Press Release

NORWICH, CT—Today, Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02), Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Reps. John Larson (CT-01), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Jim Himes (CT-04) and Jahana Hayes (CT-05), announced that Connecticut fishermen have officially secured an increase in commercial harvest quota allocations for black sea bass. Today’s announcement comes following the Connecticut Congressional delegation’s recent outreach to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council (ASMFC) in support of Connecticut’s fishermen. Under the updated allocations, Connecticut’s new black sea bass quota will increase from 1% to 3.7% of the total coastwide quota.

On January 28th, Rep. Courtney led the delegation in writing to MAFMC Executive Director Chris Moore and ASMFC Executive Director Robert Beal to press them to provide urgently needed fairness for Connecticut fishermen with respect to commercial sea bass quotas. The members originally pressed for an increase to 5%, but noted that Connecticut’s quota hadn’t been updated in 18 years and that forward progress was urgently needed. The updated allocation represents a 370% increase in black sea bass quota for Connecticut’s fishermen.

In their letter, the Connecticut delegation wrote:

“In advance of the February ASMFC meeting, we write to request strong support for two potential methodologies which would provide urgently needed fairness to Connecticut fishermen with respect to commercial black sea bass harvest allocations.

“As we expressed to you in the letter we sent on this topic in December, the black sea bass population in the Southern New England region has increased significantly for several decades due to changes in ocean temperatures. Unfortunately, Connecticut’s quota has not been updated to reflect the northward expansion of black sea bass and remains at only 1% of the entire coastwide quota – a quota which has not been changed in almost 18 years. It is unconscionable that Connecticut fishermen still have a quota five times smaller than the state with the next smallest allocation (Delaware) given the unprecedented abundance of sea bass off our coast.

“To this end, we again request that the ASMFC and MAFMC increase Connecticut’s black sea bass allocation to 5 percent of the coastwide quota. We firmly believe that increasing Connecticut’s quota to 5 percent, equal to the allocation assigned to the next lowest state, remains the fairest approach taking into account the growth of the sea bass population in the Northeast in comparison to the more stable numbers in southern regions.

[…]

“We appreciate your consideration of this fundamentally important issue to our region. Should you need supporting documentation or information, please do not hesitate to contact us.”


To read the delegation’s full letter, click here.

 

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