Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

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Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is a commission of U.S. states formed to coordinate and manage fishery resources — including marine (saltwater) fish, shellfish, and anadromous fish (migratory fish that ascended rivers from the sea for spawning) - along the Atlantic coast of the United States.

The Commission was formed by the 15 Atlantic coast states in 1942 and chartered by the United States Congress in 1950[1] in recognition that "fish do not adhere to political boundaries."[2] The Commission serves as a deliberative body, coordinating the conservation and management of the states shared near-shore fishery resources – marine, shell, and anadromous – for sustainable use.

Member states are (in order of north to south) Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Each member state is represented by three Commissioners: the director for the state’s marine fisheries management agency, a member of the state legislature, and an individual appointed by the governor. Commissioners participate in the deliberations in the Commission's five main policy arenas: Interstate fisheries management, research and statistics, fisheries science, habitat conservation, and law enforcement. The one-state one-vote concept allows Commissioners to address stakeholder-resource balance issues at the state level.

"The Commission focuses on responsible stewardship of marine fisheries resources. It serves as a forum for the states to collectively address fisheries issues under the premise that as a group, using a cooperative approach, they can achieve more than they could as individuals. The Commission does not promote a particular state or a particular stakeholder sector."[2]

ASMFC Mission[edit]

"To promote the better utilization of the fisheries, marine, shell, and anadromous, of the Atlantic seaboard by the development of a joint program for the promotion and protection of such fisheries, and by the prevention of physical waste of the fisheries from any cause."[2]

ASMFC Vision[edit]

"Healthy, self-sustaining populations for all Atlantic coast fish species or successful restoration well in progress by the year 2015."[2]

ASMFC Managed Species[edit]

Currently the ASMFC manages 23 species.[3] These species include:

  1. American eel
  2. American lobster
  3. Atlantic croaker
  4. Atlantic herring
  5. Atlantic menhaden
  6. Atlantic sturgeon
  7. Black sea bass
  8. Bluefish
  9. Coastal sharks
  10. Horseshoe crab
  11. Northern shrimp
  12. Red drum
  13. Scup
  14. Shad & river herring
  15. Spanish mackerel
  16. Spiny dogfish
  17. Spot croaker
  18. Spotted seatrout
  19. Striped bass
  20. Summer flounder
  21. Tautog
  22. Weakfish
  23. Winter flounder


  1. ^ An Act Creating the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission: Public Law 539, 77th Congress: Chapter 283, 2nd Session, 56 Stat. 267; As Amended by Public Law 721, 81st Congress Approved August 19, 1950
  2. ^ a b c d "Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission: About Us". Archived from the original on 2004-04-27. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  3. ^ "Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission: Managed Species". Archived from the original on 2004-04-27. Retrieved 2009-06-23.

External links[edit]