The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will hold a public hearing on a proposed addendum to the interstate fishery management plan for summer flounder.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will hold a public hearing on a proposed addendum to the interstate fishery management plan for summer flounder at 6 p.m. Jan. 17 in the Richardson & Robbins Building auditorium, 89 Kings Highway, Dover.

Draft Addendum XXVIII was initiated to consider alternative management approaches for the 2017 recreational summer flounder fisheries to achieve needed harvest reductions due to a decrease in the coastwide recreational harvest limit in 2017. In August, the ASMFC and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved a 30-percent reduction in the 2017 coastwide RHL relative to 2016. This action was taken in response to the 2016 stock assessment update, which found fishing mortality was higher and population estimates in recent years were lower than previously projected.

Changes in summer flounder distribution, abundance and availability created problems under earlier state-by-state allocations, which were put into effect in 2001. In 2014, ASMFC shifted from state-by-state allocations to a regional approach for managing summer flounder recreational fisheries, which benefits states by providing the flexibility to share allocations. The draft addendum is intended to set regulations to manage the summer flounder population in consideration of its shifting distribution, abundance and availability, while providing stability and greater regulatory consistency among neighboring states and enabling states to meet, but not exceed, the coastwide RHL.

Anglers and interested stakeholders are encouraged to provide input on the draft addendum either by attending the public hearing or providing written comment.

Draft Addendum XXVIII can be found at asmfc.org. Public comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. Jan. 19 and should be forwarded to Kirby Rootes-Murdy, Senior Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; faxed to 703-842-0741 or emailed to krootes-murdy@asmfc.org, with summer flounder Draft Addendum XXVIII in the subject line.