The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has approved the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Black Drum. The FMP requires all states to maintain current regulations for black drum and implement a maximum possession limit and minimum size limit (of no less than 12 inches) by January 1, 2014.
States will be required to further increase the minimum size limit (to no less than 14 inches) by January 1, 2016.
Also, the FMP establishes a management framework to address future concerns or changes in the fishery or population. This will be particularly important as the Commission works toward the finalization of the first coastwide benchmark stock assessment for black drum in 2014.
The FMP was initiated to address a number of concerns including:
- There has been a significant increase in catches by both recreational and commercial fishermen in recent years, with the fishery targeting very young fish in some areas and more heavily targeting the established breeding stock in other areas (both of which could undermine the stock’s ability to sustain itself).
- The lack of consistent coastwide regulations or management goals may negatively impact the black drum population as fishing pressures shifts from other stocks.