Scup or porgy, Stenotomus chrysops,
is a demersal, schooling species distributed in the Mid Atlantic
Bight from Cape Cod, MA to Cape Hatteras, NC. Previous tagging
studies have indicated the possibility of two stocks, one in Southern
New England waters and the other extending south from New Jersey.
However, the lack of definitive tag return data from these studies,
coupled with distributional information from NEFSC trawl surveys,
support the concept of a single unit stock from New England to
Cape Hatteras (Figure
15.1). A new industry-cooperative tagging study for
scup, designed to evaluate fish movement and estimate mortality
rates, was initiated in 2005.
Scup undertake extensive migrations between
coastal waters in summer and offshore waters in winter, migrating
north and inshore to spawn in spring. Sexual maturity is essentially
complete by age 3 at a total length of 21 cm (O’Brien
et al. 1993). Scup attain a maximum fork length of about 40
cm, and ages of up to at least 14 years.
U.S. commercial and
recreational fisheries for scup are managed under the under the
Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan
(FMP) administered jointly by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries
Commission (ASMFC) and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council
(MAFMC). Amendment 8 to the original Summer Flounder FMP incorporated
scup into the FMP and implemented several major regulatory provisions
for scup, including annual commercial quotas, recreational harvest
limits, permit requirements, minimum fish size and gear restrictions,
and a recreational fishery possession limit.
SSB indices peaked in the late-1970s
and then declined until the late 1990s. SSB indices have increased
since 1999 but have been highly variable. As stock biomass declined
during the 1980s, the age structure of the scup population became
truncated, with a low proportion of fish at ages 3 and older (Figure
15.5 Data]). Since 2000, the age structure of the population
has expanded to approximate that observed in the late-1970s (Figure
Recent NEFSC spring SSB indices indicate that the stock is in
an overfished condition; stock status with respect to the overfishing
threshold (Fmsy = Fmax) cannot currently
be evaluated as there is no reliable estimate of fishing mortality
available for scup.