The public will have an opportunity to provide input on the future management of and regulations for cobia in the southeast at a meeting 6 p.m. Monday at the Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center, located at 310 Okatie Highway, Okatie, SC 29909.
Cobia are large gamefish that are popular among anglers and seafood lovers. South Carolina is home to a unique group of cobia that spawn only in our southern bays and sounds. That makes input from local anglers and conservationists particularly important to ensuring South Carolina interests are well represented as the new cobia management plan is developed and finalized.
The management of cobia recently passed from the federal level to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), an interstate deliberative body that was formed by Atlantic coast states (including South Carolina) in 1942 to cooperatively manage nearshore fishery resources. Many other fish species are already managed this way, including species such as red drum, spotted seatrout, and summer flounder.
The ASMFC is in the process of drafting and approving changes to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic cobia and is seeking input from anglers and other interested parties across the Southeast. Hearings have already been held in Virginia and North Carolina; South Carolina’s July 1 meeting represents the last opportunity to provide comments in person. Written comments will be accepted until 5 PM (EST) on July 15, 2019 and should be sent to Dr. Michael Schmidtke, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at email@example.com (Subject line: Cobia Amd 1).
An ASMFC representative and biologists from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will be on hand at the July 1 meeting to provide an overview of the management options for addressing issues identified in the Interstate Cobia Fishery Management Plan, answer questions, and seek public feedback.