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News Release

RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462


For Release:

February 7, 2000

Contact:

Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418

DEM ANNOUNCES THAT COMMERCIAL POSSESSION LIMIT FOR SCUP DROPS TO 1,000 POUNDS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management has announced that the commercial possession limit for scup has been lowered from 10,000 to 1,000 pounds, beginning tomorrow -- Tuesday, February 8. The reduction is required by the fishery management plan for scup, once 85 percent of the January through April quota of 1,082,000 pounds along the Atlantic coast has been landed.

Every year the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission assign catch quotas for scup harvested in Rhode Island and other East Coast states. Quota management is designed to restore the scup stock to sustainable levels and to provide a sustainable scup stock for the future.

The fishery management plan, developed jointly by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, is designed to rebuild the population of scup, a finfish that is of great importance to the Rhode Island fishing industry. Rhode Island is represented on both the Council and the Commission.

An earlier reduction in the possession limit, from 12,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds beginning January 1, was requested by the fishing industry to allow the January through April quota period to remain open as long as possible.

Much of the current quota was caught during the first five weeks of the quota period, primarily because scup is a volume fishery. "Because of its low value compared to species like summer and winter flounder, fishermen must catch large quantities of scup to make it economically feasible," said Richard Sisson, DEM Deputy Chief of Marine Fisheries. "We expect the new 1,000 pound limit to be nothing more than a bi-catch, while fishing for other species such as squid."


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