north carolina marine & estuary foundation

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC)

north carolina atlantic states fisheries management map

Who They Are

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is a federal oversight commission (not a federal agency) comprised of voting representatives from the 15 member states along the Atlantic coast. It was authorized and established through federal legislation known as the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act.

Each member state is represented on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission as follows: the director of the state marine fisheries agency, a state legislator appointed by the Governor, and a citizen of the state appointed by the Governor. The three “commissioners” from each state vote in a caucus to cast one vote in support or against formal motions. Additional representation from North Carolina occurs as citizens and biologists serve on various Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission technical committees and advisory committees charged with developing fishery management plans.

Where They Manage

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has jurisdictional authority 0-3 miles offshore of every state on the Atlantic coast.

How They Function

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission administers a program to promote the development and implementation of conservation programs for Atlantic coastal fisheries known as the “Interstate Fishery Management Program”. This program outlines the preparation and adoption of fishery management plans for more than 20 finfish species. Fishery management plans are developed under the supervision of species-specific management boards.

When preparing coastal fishery management plans for a fish species found in both state waters (0-3 miles offshore) and the Exclusive Economic Zone (3-200 miles offshore), the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission consults with the appropriate US Regional Fishery Management Council. The two Regional Councils representing North Carolina include the Mid-Atlantic Council and the South Atlantic Council.

Federal legislation mandates that North Carolina adopt, through state rulemaking processes, at least a set of minimum standards to ensure the sustainability of inter-jurisdictional fisheries populations.

Species They Cover

Important North Carolina coastal species or species groups managed with Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission oversight include American Eel, American Shad, Atlantic Croaker, Atlantic Menhaden, Atlantic Sturgeon, Black Drum, Black Sea Bass (North of Hatteras), Bluefish, Cobia, Hickory Shad, Red Drum, River Herring, Scup, Sharks, Spanish Mackerel, Spiny Dogfish, Spot, Striped Bass, Summer Flounder, Tautog, and Weakfish.