This year, Rep. Craig Miner has settled into his role as a commissioner on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Rep. Miner is the sole Connecticut legislator to sit on the commission sharing in the decision making process with Connecticut’s other commissioners, Dr. Lance Stewart and David Simpson.
The commission meets quarterly to discuss fish stocks, both in-shore and off-shore along the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean. With technical staff assistance, the commission makes determinations about the desired stock levels in an effort to ensure viable populations of each species into the future. Stock abundance beyond the target would then be evaluated for use as forage and as a food source for humans. Such food source is then managed by the state or local region allowing for commercial and recreational harvest.
That evaluation process also considers what impact a species’ abundance might have on migratory birds as well. The commission spends considerable time seeking a balance in its deliberation and only time will tell if it has been successful.
Most recently, the commission has been engaged in a discussion about the decline of New England lobster stocks. Especially in warm-water environments, the lobster has been showing signs of significant decline in both juvenile and adult populations. The commission has held numerous state and regional hearings and as of this date has not yet put forth a recommendation. More scientific evaluation is ongoing with a decision expected in mid-winter or early spring.