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The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's American Eel
Management Board has approved the Public Information Document (PID) on
American Eel for public review and comment. Atlantic coastal states from
Maine through North Carolina will be holding hearings on the PID
throughout April and May. Details for New Jersey follow:

May 5, 2005; 7 p.m.
Atlantic County Library
306 East Jimmie Leeds Road
Absecon, New Jersey
Hosted by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife
Contact: Bruce Freeman at 609-633-2408

In March 2004, the American Eel Management Board authorized development
of a PID to begin an informational scoping process in response to
concerns regarding coastwide declines in eel abundance. Canadian and
U.S. data show 2003 commercial landings are the lowest on record since
1945 and there are indications of localized recruitment failure in the
Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River system. The International Eel Symposium
at the 2003 American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting reported a
worldwide decline of eel populations, including the Atlantic coast stock
of American eel.

The PID provides an overview of our current knowledge of American eel,
including stock status, a description of commercial and recreational
fisheries, and a suite of research and management issues for public
comment. These issues include potential changes to the management
programs for recreational and commercial fisheries, an evaluation of
non-fishing sources of mortality (e.g., habitat and predation), and a
review of the
plan's current monitoring requirements.

Depending upon the public's reaction and comment on the issues
presented in the PID, the Management Board may decide to pursue an
addendum to the American Eel FMP, or proceed with the development of an
amendment. An addendum would allow the Board to rapidly address
specific issues that the public feels require immediate attention, while
the amendment process would allow the Management Board to conduct
additional fact-finding and outreach activities for public participation
and comment on broader issues.

The Management Board may also decide to proceed on both an addendum and
an amendment to the FMP simultaneously. Through such a process, certain
issues would be resolved expeditiously via an addendum. Likewise, other
issues that require more information (e.g., data expected from the
pending stock assessment or federal status review) or are otherwise
inappropriate for an addendum may be more thoroughly examined over a
longer period of time via an amendment.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input
on
the PID either by attending public hearings or providing written
comments.
Copies of PID are available via the Commission's website at
www.asmfc.org
under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at (202) 289-6400.
Public comment will be accepted no later than 5 p.m. on June 10, 2005,
and
should be forwarded to Lydia Munger, Fishery Management Plan
Coordinator, 1444 Eye Street, NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005;
(202) 289-6051 (fax) or [email protected] (subject line: American Eel).


For more information, please contact Lydia Munger at (202)289-6400 or
[email protected].
 
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