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U.S. increases black sea bass quota by 60 percent

Action comes as Galloway-based alliance sues over closed fishery RICHARD DEGENER, Staff Writer | Posted: Saturday, February 13, 2010

The federal government this week took emergency action to increase the black sea bass quota in 2010 by nearly 61 percent over what had been proposed.
The action came amid a six-month closure of the fishery and a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by the Galloway Township-based Recreational Fishing Alliance.
The National Marine Fisheries Service on Tuesday announced the emergency action to increase the recreational harvest limit from the 1.14 million pounds already approved for 2010 to 1.83 million pounds. The commercial harvest had been set at 1.09 million pounds this year but is now increased to 1.76 million pounds.
season will likely be extended but it remains unclear by just how much.
"Management measures for the 2010 recreational fishery are still being developed, with rulemaking expected to begin later this spring," Mooney-Seus said.
Sea bass catch
Fishing groups are warning anglers that, even with the increase, there is still going to be less sea bass fishing than in the past, and the RFA says the higher quota did not eliminate the moratorium that is set to end April 12. The RFA said the government has no plans to allow the traditional winter fishery in federal waters, from 3 to 200 miles offshore.
Tom Fote, legislative chairman of the Jersey Coast Angler's Association, expects the season to run from May into September. Fote said that would destroy the winter season.
"That means summer flounder and black sea bass will be open and closed for almost the same season. This will cause a huge economic impact on New Jersey and other states' fishing industries and the recreational angler fishing experience," Fote said.
Contact Richard Degener:

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