Cheri Patterson, NHFG: (603) 898-1095
Tina Berger, ASMFC: (703) 842-0740
Republished from May 10, 2018

eel_960x360DURHAM, NH — The states of Maine through Florida have scheduled public hearings to gather input on Draft Addendum V of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for American eel. The New Hampshire hearing will be held on June 5, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. at the Urban Forestry Center, 45 Elwin Road, Portsmouth, NH.

Since the implementation of Addendum IV in 2014, states have raised several concerns about the current management program. Currently, the yellow eel fishery is managed to an annual coastwide landings cap (referred to as the coastwide cap) of 907,671 pounds and evaluated against two management triggers: (1) the coastwide cap is exceeded by more than 10% in a given year; or (2) the coastwide cap is exceeded in two consecutive years, regardless of the percent overage. If either of these triggers are met, state-by-state quotas are required to be implemented.

In 2016, landings exceeded the coastwide cap by less than 10%. If landings in 2017 exceed the coastwide cap, state-by-state quotas will need to be implemented. These current management provisions are concerning to some jurisdictions given uncertainty in the landings data.

The American Eel Management Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission initiated Draft Addendum V to address these concerns and consider a number of changes to the current management program. Specifically, changes are being considered for the coastwide cap, management triggers, state-by-state allocations, and quota transfer provisions for the yellow eel commercial fishery, as well as the current Maine glass eel commercial quota and the aquaculture provisions of the plan.

If approved, the proposed changes to the current management program would be implemented starting in the 2019 fishing season. Since the four management issues related to the yellow eel fishery are linked (i.e., coastwide cap, management trigger, state-by-state allocations, quota transfers), the public is encouraged to specify their preferred alternatives for each issue.

The Draft Addendum is available at, or on the Commission website at, under Public Input.

Harvesters and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. (EST) on June 15, 2018, and should be forwarded to Kirby Rootes-Murdy, Senior FMP Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201, by fax at (703) 842-0741, or by e-mail at (Subject line: Draft Addendum V).

Final action on the Addendum is scheduled to occur at the Commission’s summer meeting. For more information, please contact Cheri Patterson at NH Fish and Game at (603) 868-1095 or Kirby Rootes-Murdy at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission by e-mail at or (703) 842-0740.