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March 13, 2011

State holding meetings on cod zones

The state's Division of Marine Fisheries will hold two public meetings — including one in Gloucester — this week to discuss the renewal of the winter and spring cod conservation zones, as well as commercial and recreational management measures for scup, black sea bass and fluke.

Tuesday's hearing will be 6 to 9 p.m. at Falmouth Public High School, 874 Gifford St., in Falmouth.

The meeting in Gloucester will be Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m at the Annisquam River Station, 30 Emerson Ave.,

At Tuesday's meeting, MarineFisheries will present and take public comment on a late-breaking addendum to the Black Sea Bass Management Plan on behalf of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).

If adopted, the addendum would allow a single state or a group of states to devise specific recreational fishery regulatory measures for 2011. If the addendum is not adopted region-wide measures would be enacted, including a closure of the fishery from May through June, an increase in minimum size from 12.5 inches to 13 inches and a 20 or 25 fish bag limit.

On the agenda for both meetings are:

Commercial scup, black sea bass and fluke management:

Double all current state-waters trip limits for the commercial scup fishery.

Increase the summer fluke hook fishery trip limit from 200 to 300 pounds.

Align the commercial black sea bass seasons so a directed fishery, with a 500-pound trip limit for potters and a 200-pound trip limit for all other gear types, begins on Aug. 1 and allow for a May fishery with a 50-pound or 20 fish trip limit and open days corresponding with the scup fishery.

Recreational scup, black sea bass and fluke management:

Status quo for the recreational scup fishery.

Open the fluke fishing season of May 22 to September 30 and decrease minimum size to 17.5 inches.

Adopt the proposed ASMFC coast-wide measures for black sea bass, and discuss potential state management measures pursuant to the adoption of ASMFC's addendum to the black sea bass management plan.

Winter and Spring Cod Conservation Zone Closures:

Renew the Dec. 1 to Jan. 31 winter and May 1 to July 21 spring cod conservation zone closures.

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