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Public Hearing: Including Cobia in the Tidal Finfish Regulations

Date & Time:
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
6:00 pm

Location:
DNREC Auditorium
89 Kings Highway
Dover, Delaware
Details:

The Division of Fish & Wildlife will conduct a public hearing (Docket #2020-R-F-0002) on proposed revisions to the Tidal Finfish Regulations to include a new section regarding Cobia. (Public Comment Period Closed)

The public hearing will be held immediately following the adjournment of the public hearing on Striped Bass Spawning Season and Area Restrictions that starts at 6:00 p.m.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission adopted the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Migratory Group Cobia (FMP) in November 2017. The most recent stock assessment indicated that Cobia biomass has declined over the past two decades, but the stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. The FMP requires that states adopt the precautionary management measures contained in the FMP to prevent overfishing.

Cobia presence in Delaware waters is sporadic, but they are targeted by anglers when known to be present. Delaware had no reported commercial or recreational Cobia landings in the three years preceding adoption of the FMP. Therefore, Delaware qualifies for de minimis status under the FMP criteria and may adopt either of the following two management options:


Option 1 Option 2
Recreational Commercial Recreational Commercial
Min. Length 32” 37” 40” 37”
Possession Limit 1 2 1 2
Vessel Limit 1 6 3 6
Open Season All Year All Year Jun. 1 – Sep. 15 All Year

Option 1 reflects the de minimis management measures outlined in the FMP and Option 2 reflects the management measures in place for the nearest non-de minimis jurisdiction (VA). The commercial fishing management measures are identical in both options; however, the recreational management measures differ by the minimum length, maximum vessel limit and season.

Adoption of either option will ensure compliance with the FMP, as required by the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (16 USC §§5101, et seq.). The proposed action is expected to complement federal management in a consistent manner throughout the management unit and provide for the long-term stability of the stock. Given the sporadic occurrence of Cobia in Delaware waters, it is unlikely that the proposed action will have significant, measurable or predicable costs to the affected Delaware fisheries or their dependent businesses.

For more information, contact Stewart Michels, DNREC/DFW, 89 Kings Hwy., Dover, DE 19901; by phone at 302-739-9914; or by email at Stewart.Michels@delaware.gov.

Persons wishing to comment on the proposed amendments may do so either orally or in written form at the public hearing on February 26, 2020. In lieu of attending the public hearing, written comment may be submitted to the Hearing Officer via the online comment form at dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/public-hearings/comment-form/, via email to DNRECHearingComments@delaware.gov, or via USPS to the address below.


Docket #2020-R-F-0002


Public Hearing Officer

Theresa Newman
DNREC Office of the Secretary
89 Kings Highway
Dover, DE 19901

Transcript, Hearing Officer’s Report and Order

Public Hearing Transcript

Hearing Officer’s Report

Secretary’s Order No. 2020-FW-0012 — Approving Final Amendments to 7 DE Admin. Code 3500 Tidal Finfish, specifically, the addition of new Section 3550: Cobia (Effective Date: May 11, 2020)

Related Documents

Proposed Regulations – 23 DE Reg. 635 (02/01/20) (Prop.)

Related Links

DNREC Public Notice

Public Meeting Calendar Notice

DNREC Exhibits

Exhibit 1. A copy of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Migratory Group Cobia (November 2017).

Exhibit 2. ASMFC Implementation Plan requirements for Cobia.

Exhibit 3. Virginia’s final Cobia regulation, from the Virginia Register of Regulations Volume 33, Issue 17: pp. 1971-1972.

Exhibit 4. A copy of approved Start Action Notice 2019-10 pertaining to 7 DE Admin. Code 3500 Tidal Finfish to include a new 3550 Cobia (Rachycentron canadum).

Exhibit 5. A copy of the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis/ Regulatory Impact Statement, corresponding to the proposed action and as published in the February 1, 2020 Delaware Register of Regulations.

Exhibit 6. A copy of Register Notice SAN#2019-07 and the proposed amendment to 7 DE Admin. Code 3500 Tidal Finfish to include a new 3550 Cobia (Rachycentron canadum), as published in the February 1, 2020 Delaware Register of Regulations.

Exhibit 7. Copy of the legal notice regarding the proposed amendments to 7 DE Admin. Code 3500 Tidal Finfish to include a new 3550 Cobia (Rachycentron canadum), as posted at the main entryways of DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building on January 21, 2020 and as updated and re-posted on 02/22/2020.

Exhibit 8. Evidence for the publication of the legal notice regarding the proposed amendments to 7 DE Admin. Code 3500 Tidal Finfish to include a new 3550 Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) in the Delaware State News and Wilmington News Journal on 02/02/20.

Exhibit 9. Notice of this public hearing as it appeared on Delaware’s Statewide Calendar and posted February 3, 2020.

Exhibit 10. A copy of the legal notice for tonight’s public hearing as posted on DNREC’s public notices website starting on February 2, 2020.

Exhibit 11. Additional noticing sent to the Fisheries List Serve, certain Blackboard Connect subscribers, and posted on the Division’s FB page regarding tonight’s hearing on the proposed amendment to 7 DE Admin. Code 3500 Tidal Finfish to include a new 3550 Cobia (Rachycentron canadum).

Exhibit 12. A copy of the proposed amendments to 7 DE Admin. Code 3500 Tidal Finfish to include a new 3550 Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) for attendees of the February 26, 2020 hearing.

Exhibit 13. A copy of a presentation on proposed amendments to 7 DE Admin. Code 3500 Tidal Finfish to include a new 3550 Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) for tonight’s hearing.

Exhibit 14. A copy of six written comments received as of COB 02/25/20.

Public Comments

Patrick R. McGown Comments (3/6/20)


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