OCEAN CITY- After abruptly closing the black sea fishery off the coast of Maryland in November, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council last week issued some temporary relief for local anglers with a season set to begin on January 1, but long-term management plans for the species remain in doubt.
In November, the MAFMC closed the black sea fishery after preliminary landings estimates indicated the harvest limit had been exceeded. The decision abruptly closed the fishery off the coast of Ocean City at a time when it was an important late fall staple. Last week, MAFMC officials approved an amended plan for black sea bass for 2013 with a season opening January 1 and running through February 28.
Other season openings approved included May 19 through October 14 and November 1 through December 31 in 2013. The 2013 management plan includes a 20 fish possession limit and a 12.5 minimum keeper size.