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Atlantic MackerelAtlantic Mackerel (Scomber scombrus)

Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish (MSB)

The Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish (MSB) fisheries in the Greater Atlantic Region operate primarily in the Mid-Atlantic region of the eastern coast of the U.S, from Massachusetts to North Carolina.  The MSB fisheries use predominantly single and paired mid-water trawl, bottom trawl, purse seine, and to a lesser extent, gillnet gear throughout the entire range.  MSB fisheries are jointly managed in federal waters by NOAA Fisheries in conjunction with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (www.mafmc.org).  See recent and upcoming actions for more information on rules currently in development.

2014 Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Federal Register Actions

12/15/2014
Notice Of Availability Of Proposed Fishery Management Plan Amendment; Request For Comments; Northeast Region Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology Omnibus Amendment
12/12/2014
Notice; Request For Comments; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits; CCE Butterfish Selectivity EFP
11/13/2014
Proposed rule, request for comments; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; 2015-2017 Specifications and Management Measures
11/07/2014
Temporary Rule; Inseason Adjustment; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery; Notification of Butterfish Quota Transfer
09/04/2014
Final Rule; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Changes to On-Reel Trawl Gear Stowage Requirements
08/21/2014
Notice; Request for Comments; Omnibus Amendment to Simplify Vessel Baselines
08/14/2014
Notice; Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Commercial Fishing Vessel Cost and Earnings Data Collection Survey in the Northeast Region
08/11/2014
Temporary Rule; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Closure of the 2014 Trimester 2 Directed Longfin Squid Fishery
08/08/2014
Notice; Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Fishermen's Contingency Fund
05/29/2014
Proposed Rule; Request For Comments; Fisheries Of The Northeastern United States; Gear Stowage Requirements
05/05/2014
Notice; Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Greater Atlantic Region Vessel Identification Collection
05/05/2014
Notice, Process For Making GIS Files Available; Opportunity To Comment; Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office's Geographic Information Systems Program; Availability of Files
04/24/2014
Notice; Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Greater Atlantic Region Dealer Purchase Reports
04/15/2014
Notice; Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Greater Atlantic Region Observer Providers Requirements
04/04/2014
Final Rule; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; 2014 Specifications and Management Measures
04/04/2014
Temporary Rule; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Phase 1 Reopening for the Directed Butterfish Fishery
04/02/2014
Final Rule; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Framework Adjustment 8
03/19/2014
Final Rule; Correction; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Amendment 14
03/18/2014
Temporary Rule; Inseason Action; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Butterfish Trip Limit Reduction
02/21/2014
Final Rule; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Amendment 14
01/31/2014
Proposed Rule, Request For Comments; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Framework Adjustment 8
01/10/2014
Proposed Rule, Request For Comments; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; 2014 Specifications and Management Measures

 


 Click Below for Past Federal Register Actions & Public Comments:

20132012201120102009200820072006200520042003200220012000

What are other common names for Atlantic mackerel, longfin and Illex squid, and butterfish? 

Atlantic mackerel:  Common mackerel, Boston mackerel, Caballa, tinker

Illex squid:  Shortfin squid

Longfin squid (formerly known as Loligo squid):  Boston squid/calamari, Loligo

Butterfish:  American butterfish, dollarfish, shiner, skipjack, sheepshead, harvestfish

What time of year are these fish most commonly found?  

Atlantic mackerel: The bulk of commercial landings occur Jan – Apr when stocks are in shallower water.  

Illex squid:  The bulk of commercial landings occur May – Oct.  The temporal pattern is primarily determined by the feeding migration onto and spawning migration off of the continental shelf.  Market conditions also affect the temporal extent.

Longfin squid: Landings occur in all months.  Commercial harvests generally peak in the spring and fall.

Butterfish: Landings are spread throughout the year (likely due to lack of directed effort).

What is the geographic extent of the fishery?

Atlantic mackerel: Mackerel are a pelagic, schooling species distributed between Labrador and North Carolina.  The harvest is widely distributed between Maine and North Carolina. Concentrations of catch occur on the continental shelf southeast of Long Island, NY and east of the Delmarva Peninsula.

Illex squid: The largest contribution to total landings occurs along the continental shelf break in depths between 128 and 366 m.

Longfin squid: Landings early in the year occur near the shelf break (102-183 m), while summer and fall landings are harvested predominately nearshore.

Butterfish: Harvest is widespread with concentrations of landings from southern New England shelf break areas near 40° N and in/near Long Island Sound.

At what depths are mackerel, squid, and butterfish found?  See geographic extent

Are other species caught when fishing for mackerel, squid, and butterfish?  

Atlantic mackerel: Yes, spiny dogfish, Atlantic herring, scup, blueback herring, striped bass, hickory shad, silver hake, American shad, unclassified dogfish, and butterfish are the primary bycatch/discard species in the mackerel fishery.

Illex squid: Yes, other fish species caught on Illex trips include:  longfin squid, butterfish, spotted hake, john dory, herring, and chub mackerel.

Longfin squid:  Yes, other fish species caught on longfin squid trips include: Illex, butterfish, spiny dogfish, silver, spotted, and red hake, scup, and little skate.

Butterfish: Butterfish itself is primarily a bycaught/discarded species.  However, other fish species caught in the small butterfish directed fishery include: red hake, silver hake, spiny dogfish, scup, unclassified skate, fourspot flounder, Loligo, Atlantic mackerel, and little skate.

What gear types are authorized and what gears are primarily used?

Trawls, gillnet, longline, handline, rod and reel, purse seine, pot/trap, dredges, and dip nets are authorized for commercial use while rod and reel, squid jigs, handlines, pots, and spears are authorized for recreational use.  The Atlantic mackerel fishery uses primarily midwater otter trawls, paired midwater otter trawls, and bottom trawls, while gillnet gear accounts for a very small amount of the landings.  The longfin and Illex squid fisheries, as well as the butterfish fishery use primarily bottom otter trawl gear.

How is the fishery managed?  The Atlantic mackerel, longfin squid (formerly known as Loligo squid), Illex squid, and butterfish fisheries are managed in Federal waters by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) and NOAA Fisheries Service (NMFS) under a single fishery management plan (FMP).   The mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries are each managed by hard quotas, but the mackerel and butterfish fisheries are subject to a stock-wide annual catch limit (ACL) and accountability measures (AM). 

Who manages this fishery?  Mackerel, squid, and butterfish are managed in Federal waters under a single FMP in Federal waters by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) and NOAA Fisheries Service (NMFS). 

What is the fishing year for this fishery?  January 1 – December 31

What are the different management areas for the mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries?   

MSB fisheries are not managed specifically by area; however there are two restricted areas were specific gear restrictions apply:

Restricted Areas:

MSB Fishery Restricted Areas

Oceanographer CanyonLydonia CanyonNorthern Scup Gear Restricted Area (GRA)Southern Scup Gear Restricted Area (GRA)
January 1 – December 31January 1 – December 31November 1 – December 31January 1 – March 15
Bottom trawl gear prohibitedBottom trawl gear prohibitedMinimum mesh size of 5.0 inch diamond meshMinimum mesh size of 5.0 inch diamond mesh
Transit allowed if bottom trawl gear is stowed and not available for immediate use.Transit allowed if bottom trawl gear is stowed and not available for immediate use.Transit allowed if codends less than 5.0 inches are stowed and not available for immediate use.Transit allowed if codends less than 5.0 inches are stowed and not available for immediate use.

 

  • Vessels targeting Illex squid should also refer to the gear regulations in the “Rules and Regulations” section of this website.

 

Scup Gear Restricted Areas (GRA):

Scup Gear Restricted Areas

Oceanographer Canyon Coordinates:

N. Lat.

W. Long.

40°10.0'68°12.0'
40°24.0'68°09.0'
40°24.0'68°08.0'
40°10.0'67°59.0'
40°10.0'68°12.0'

 

Lydonia Canyon Coordinates:

N. Lat.

W. Long.

40°16.0'67°34.0'
40°16.0'67°42.0'
40°20.0'67°43.0'
40°27.0'67°40.0'
40°27.0'67°38.0'
40°16.0'67°34.0'

1978 – Fishery management plan (FMP) for Atlantic mackerel is completed and approved

1978 – FMP for Butterfish is completed and approved

1978 – FMP for Loligo and Illex squid is completed and approved

1979 – Atlantic mackerel Amendment 1 implemented

1979 – Squid Amendment 1 implemented

1980 – Atlantic butterfish Amendment 1 implemented

1980 – Atlantic mackerel Amendment 2 implemented

1980 – Atlantic butterfish Amendment 2 implemented

1983 – Management of Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish (MSB) fisheries is consolidated under a single FMP 

1984 – Amendment 1 (Final Rule) to the MSB FMP implemented a squid optimum yield  adjustment mechanism and revised the Atlantic mackerel mortality rate

1986 – Amendment 2 (Final Rule) equates the fishing year with the calendar year, implements the framework adjustment process, and converts the expiration of fishing permits from indefinite to annual 

1991 – Amendment 3 (Final Rule) establishes overfishing definition for all four species 

1991 – Amendment 4 (Final Rule) limits the activity of directed foreign fishing and joint venture transfers to foreign vessels and allows for specification of OY for Atlantic mackerel for up to three years

1996 – Amendment 5 (Final Rule) institutes a dealer and vessel reporting system and an operator permitting system; expands management plan to include all Atlantic mackerel, Loligo and Illex squid, and butterfish under U.S. jurisdiction; prohibits directed foreign fishing for squid, implements a limited access system for Loligo, Illex, and butterfish; institutes a dealer and vessel reporting system and an operator permitting system; and adjusts the maximum sustainable yield for squid 

1997 – Amendment 6 (Final Rule) revised the overfishing definition for Loligo, Illex, and butterfish, established a directed fishery closure at 95% of DAH for Loligo, Illex and butterfish and a seasonal management of the Illex fishery to improve the yield-per recruit

1997 – Amendment 7 (Final Rule) implemented consistent regulations for all New England and Mid-Atlantic FMPs regarding vessel upgrades and replacements

1998 – Amendment 8 (Final Rule) brought the FMP into compliance with new and revised National Standards and other required provisions of the Sustainable Fisheries Act and added a framework adjustment procedure

2007 – Amendment 12 (Final Rule) implemented the standardized bycatch reporting methodology for the MSB fisheries

2008 – Amendment 9 (Volume 1, Volume 2, Final Rule) prohibits bottom trawling by permitted vessels in Lydonia and Oceanographer Canyons; updates Loligo biological reference points and designates essential fish habitat for Loligo eggs

2010 Amendment 10 (Final Rule) is implemented to reduce bycatch of butterfish and other species in the squid fishery

2010 Amendment 13 (Final Rule) implemented annual catch limits (ACL) and accountability measures (AM)

2011 – Amendment 11 (Final Rule) implemented a limited access program for Atlantic mackerel

2012 – Framework 5 (Final Rule) Broadened the scope of individuals who can perform hold measurements for limited access mackerel vessels

2012 – Framework 6 (Final Rule) Clarified the Council risk policy and describes the limited circumstances under which acceptable biological catch (ABC) can be increased for stocks without status determination criteria on overfishing.

2013 - Framework 7 (Final Rule) Converted the butterfish mortality cap from a catch cap to a discard cap.

Under Development

Amendment 14 (in development) addresses river herring bycatch in MSB fisheries
Amendment 15 – Consider adding river herring and shads as stocks in the fishery
Amendment 16 – Consider adding protections for deep sea corals
Framework 8 – Adjust the butterfish mortality cap allocation between Trimesters

What are the primary markets for the Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries?

Atlantic mackerel: Whole round fish, or headed and gutted fish sold frozen. Limited sale of fresh mackerel for bait and human consumption, recreational fishery.

Illex squid: Human consumption (calamari) and bait

Longfin squid (formerly known as Loligo squid): Human consumption (calamari) and bait

Butterfish: Human consumption (primarily exported to Japan), bait

What are the recent landings and value of the fishery?

Atlantic mackerel: In 2010, 9,891 mt of mackerel was landed with a value of $3,195,962 ($323/mt).  In 2010, US exports of all mackerel products (fresh, frozen, and prepared/preserved) totaled 10,340 mt, valued at $11.6 million. The leading markets for US exports of mackerel in 2009 (greater than 1,000 mt) were Egypt (5,032 mt), Bulgaria (2,253 mt), Canada (1,529 mt), and Georgia (1,060 mt)

Illex squid: In 2010, 15,825 mt of Illex squid was landed with a value of $10,758,235 ($680/mt)

Longfin squid (formerly known as Loligo squid): In 2010, 6,855 mt of longfin squid was landed with a value of $15,675,661 ($2,287/mt)

Butterfish: In 2010, 603 mt of butterfish was landed with a value of $865,703 ($1435/mt)

What are the top Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish landing ports?

Atlantic mackerel: North Kingstown, RI, Cape May, NJ, New Bedford, MA, Gloucester, MA

Illex squid: New Jersey, Rhode Island, North Carolina

Longfin squid: Point Judith, RI, Montauk, NY, Cape May, NJ, North Kingstown, RI, Hampton Bays, NY

Butterfish: Point Judith, RI, Montauk, RI, New Bedford, RI, North Kingstown, RI

Northeast Fisheries Science Center Webpage: 

Mackerel: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/sos/spsyn/pp/mackerel/

 

Stock

Overfishing?

Overfishing definition

Overfished?

Overfished definition

Rebuilding Program Progress

F/FMSY

Fishing Mortality Rate

B/Bmsy or B/Bmsy proxy

Biomass (B)

Atlantic mackerel

No*

When  F > F(threshold)

No*

When B < ½ Bmsy

No Rebuilding Program

Not defined

Not defined

Not defined

Not defined

 

*Status of Stock:

The most recent mackerel assessment (2010) found that the overfished and overfishing status are unknown.  However, the stock status is still listed as not overfished, and overfishing is not occurring on the Status of the Stocks website (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/statusoffisheries/SOSmain.htm), based on the 2004 assessment.

Other stock status information:

The mackerel stock was most recently assessed via a Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee in 2010 (TRAC 2010), which analyzed data though 2008 (http://www.mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/science/trac/tsr.html). A number of different models and model formulations were evaluated. Given the uncertainty in the assessment results, the TRAC agreed that short term projections and characterization of stock status relative to estimated reference points would not be an appropriate basis for management advice at this time. Given current indications of reduced productivity and lack of older fish in the survey and catch, the TRAC recommended that annual total catches not exceed the average total landings (80,000 mt) over the last three years (2006-2008) until such time that new information suggests that a different amount is appropriate.

Most Recent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS):  The Draft EIS for Amendment 14 was submitted to NMFS for review on December 7, 2012.

Most Recent Biological Opinion:   The most recent Biological Opinion for the MSB fisheries was completed on October 29, 2010.  http://www.nero.noaa.gov/prot_res/section7/NMFS-signedBOs/SMB%20BIOP%202010.pdf

Most Recent Stock Assessment:  The most recent stock assessment for the mackerel fishery was the 2010 Transboundary resource assessment committee (TRAC).   

Next Stock Assessment: Not yet scheduled

Northeast Fisheries Science Center Webpage: 

Longfin Squid: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/sos/spsyn/iv/lfsquid/

 

Stock

Overfishing?

Overfishing definition

Overfished?

Overfished definition

Rebuilding Program Progress

F/FMSY

Fishing Mortality Rate

B/Bmsy or B/Bmsy proxy

Biomass (B)

Longfin squid

No*

When  F > 75% F(threshold)

No*

When B < ½ Bmsy

No Rebuilding Program

Not defined

Not defined

42,405 mt

54,442 mt

 

*Status of Stock:

The 2010 assessment found that the overfishing status of Longfin squid is unknown.  However, the stock status is still listed as not overfished, and overfishing is not occurring on the Status of the Stocks website (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/statusoffisheries/SOSmain.htm), based on the 2004 assessment.     

Other stock status information:

The 2010 longfin squid assessment (NEFSC 2010) essentially found that the longfin squid stock appears to have successfully supported the range of observed catches (9,600 mt - 26,100 mt) during 1976-2009, as well as relatively high levels of finfish predation during 1977-1984 and 1999-2009. Catch divided by biomass was used to evaluate exploitation and the highest exploitation index occurred related to a catch of 23,400mt which was the basis for the 2012-2014 ABC.

Most Recent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS):  The Draft EIS for Amendment 14 was submitted to NMFS for review on December 7, 2012.

Most Recent Biological Opinion:   The most recent Biological Opinion for the MSB fisheries was completed on October 29, 2010.  http://www.nero.noaa.gov/prot_res/section7/NMFS-signedBOs/SMB%20BIOP%202010.pdf

Most Recent Stock Assessment:  The most recent stock assessment for the Longfin squid fishery was conducted in 2010 by the NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center (http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd1101/).  

Next Stock Assessment:  Not yet scheduled

Northeast Fisheries Science Center Webpage: 

Illex Squid: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/sos/spsyn/iv/sfsquid/

 

Stock

Overfishing?

Overfishing definition

Overfished?

Overfished definition

Rebuilding Program Progress

F/FMSY

Fishing Mortality Rate

B/Bmsy or B/Bmsy proxy

Biomass (B)

Illex squid

No

When  F > 75% F(threshold)

No

When B < ½ Bmsy

No Rebuilding Program

Not defined

Not defined

Not defined

Not defined

 

Other stock status information:  The short lifespan of Illex greatly complicates assessing the stock with the available survey and assessment resources.

Most Recent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS):  The Draft EIS for Amendment 14 was submitted to NMFS for review on December 7, 2012.

Most Recent Biological Opinion:   The most recent Biological Opinion for the MSB fisheries was completed on October 29, 2010.  http://www.nero.noaa.gov/prot_res/section7/NMFS-signedBOs/SMB%20BIOP%202010.pdf

Most Recent Stock Assessment:  The Illex stock was most recently assessed at SARC 42 (2006) (http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd0609/).

Next Stock Assessment:  Not yet scheduled

Northeast Fisheries Science Center Webpage: 

Butterfish: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/sos/spsyn/op/butter/

Overfishing Definition/Status Determination Criteria:

Overfishing for butterfish is defined to occur when the catch associated with a threshold fishing mortality rate of FMSY is exceeded.  Annual specifications are instituted which correspond to a target fishing mortality rate of 75% of FMSY.  Maximum OY will be specified as the catch associated with a fishing mortality rate of FMSY.   In addition, the biomass target is specified to equal BMSY. The minimum biomass threshold is specified as ½ BMSY.  (Overfishing definitions were updated in Amendment 8 to the MSB FMP)

 

StockOverfishing?Overfishing definitionOverfished?Overfished definitionRebuilding Program ProgressF/FMSYFishing Mortality RateB/Bmsy or B/Bmsy proxyBiomass (B)
ButterfishNo*When  F > F(threshold)Unknown*When B < ½ BmsyImplemented in 2010 through Amendment 10**Not definedNot definedNot definedNot defined

 

Status of Stock:

The stock status of butterfish is based on assessments conducted under the Northeast Fisheries Science Center's (NEFSC) Stock Assessment Workshop (SAW) and Stock Assessment Review Committee (SARC) process.  Butterfish was determined to be not subject to overfishing but overfished in January 2004 (SAW 38).  The most recent butterfish assessment (SARC 49) found that the overfished and overfishing status are unknown.  A determination for whether or not butterfish is overfished could not be made because the SAW 38 reference points for the stock were not accepted.  The SARC 49 reviewed the previous 2004 assessment's reference points and estimate of biomass and found that they were no longer appropriate. 

The overfished status of butterfish is unknown, based on the fact that the last assessment conducted in 2009 was unable to determine biomass reference points.  In addition, after further review of the previous assessment conducted in 2004, biomass estimates and reference points were determined to not be valid. In order to maintain a precautionary approach, this stock will remain in a rebuilding plan until it is determined with reasonable confidence that stock size has reached an appropriate, yet to be determined, biomass target.

Other stock status information:  

The butterfish stock was most recently assessed at the 2010 Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Review Committee (SARC 49 (2010) http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd1001/crd1001.pdf) using data through 2008. The SARC review panel did not accept the adequacy of the redefined biological reference points (ex. Biomass, fishing mortality targets) or the biological reference points used for stock status determination in the 2004 butterfish assessment.  The review panel questioned the application of MSY theory to a short-lived recruitment-dominated population, particularly the use of equilibrium methods when trends in the data suggest the stock is declining even with low fishing mortality. It was agreed that overfishing was not likely occurring. The review panel concluded that the decline in the butterfish stock appears to be driven by environmental processes and low recruitment.

Most Recent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS):  The Draft EIS for Amendment 14 was submitted to NMFS for review on December 7, 2012.

Most Recent Biological Opinion:   The most recent Biological Opinion for the MSB fisheries was completed on October 29, 2010.  http://www.nero.noaa.gov/prot_res/section7/NMFS-signedBOs/SMB%20BIOP%202010.pdf

Most Recent Stock Assessment:  The butterfish stock was most recently assessed at the 2010 Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Review Committee (SARC 49 (2010) http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd1001/crd1001.pdf).

Next Stock Assessment:  Winter 2013

Quota Monitoring – click here

The mackerel, squid, and butterfish fishing year is from January 1 through December 31.  NMFS, based on the recommendations of the MAFMC, sets the overfishing limit (OFL), allowable biological catch (ABC), annual catch limit (ACL), annual catch target (ACT), initial optimum yield (IOY), domestic annual harvest (DAH), domestic annual processing (DAP), Joint Venture Processing (JVP), total allowable level of foreign fishing (TALFF), research set aside (RSA) (from 0 to 3 percent of the overall quota for each species) for each species if applicable, as well as the butterfish mortality cap in the longfin squid fishery.  Longfin and Illex squid are exempt from the ACL/AM requirements because they have annual life cycles.  The DAH represents the effective catch limit for the each fishery.  The Atlantic mackerel fishery has a recreational quota that is specified annually. The 2013 recreational quota is 2,443 mt.

Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish 2013 Specifications (mt)

Specifications

Mackerel

Butterfish

Illex

Longfin

Allowable Biological Catch (ABC)

43,781

8,400

24,000

23,400

Annual Catch Limit (ACL)

43,781

8,400

N/A

N/A

Commercial Annual Catch Target (ACT)

34,907

7,560

N/A

N/A

Recreational ACT/Recreational Harvest Limit

2,443

N/A

N/A

N/A

Domestic Annual Harvest (DAH/quota)

33,821

2,570

22,915

22,049

Tier 3 Mackerel Allocation (7% of DAH)

2,368

N/A

N/A

N/A

Research Set Aside (RSA)

N/A

36

N/A

396

Butterfish Mortality Cap in the longfin squid fishery

3,884

 

The table below describes trimester allocations and closure thresholds for longfin squid and the butterfish mortality cap (all allocations are in metric tons).

 

 

Trimester I

(Jan-Apr)

Trimester II

(May-Aug)

Trimester III

(Sep-Dec)

Longfin squid Quota

22,049 mt total

Allocation

9,481

3,748

8,820

Closure Threshold

Directed Longfin Fishery

8,532

(90%*9,481)

3,373

(90%*3,748)

20,947 (95%*22,049)

 

Butterfish Cap

3,884 mt total

Allocation

2,525

128

1231

Closure Threshold

Directed Longfin Fishery

2,020

(80%*2,525)

2,913

(75%*3,884)

3,496 

(90%*3,884)

 

The longfin squid fishery may be closed either if longfin landings are projected to reach the longfin closure threshold or if butterfish catch reaches the butterfish mortality cap closure threshold in any Trimester.

For longfin squid:

  • During Trimester I, the directed longfin fishery is closed if:
    • Longfin squid landings are projected to reach 8,532 mt (from January 1 to April 15) -OR-
    • Longfin squid landings are projected to 9,007 mt (from April 15 to April 30) -OR-
    • The butterfish mortality cap reaches 2,020 mt (from January 1 to April 15) -OR-
    • The butterfish mortality cap reaches 2,272 mt (from April 15 to April 30)
  • During Trimester II, the directed longfin fishery is closed if:
    • Longfin squid landings are projected to reach 3,373 mt (from May 1 to August 15, unless this allocation is increased due to under-harvest in Trimester I) -OR-
    • Longfin squid landings are projected to reach 3,561 mt (from August 15 to August 30, unless allocation is increased from Trimester I under-harvest) -OR-
    • The butterfish mortality cap reaches 2,913 mt (75% of the annual butterfish mortality cap allocation)
  • During Trimester III, the directed longfin fishery is closed if:
    • Longfin squid landings are projected to reach 20,947 mt (annual threshold) -OR-
    • The butterfish mortality cap reaches 3,496 mt (annual threshold)

 

How often do the quotas change for this fishery?  Specifications for MSB fisheries are set from 1-3 years, depending on the species.  The longfin and Illex squid specifications have been set for 2012-2014, the mackerel specifications were set for 2013-2015, and the butterfish specifications were set for 2013 only.

What if specifications are not in place at the start of fishing year?  The specifications from the previous year roll over if specifications are not in place at the start of the fishing year. 

Are there inseason adjustments (changes mid-fishing year) in this fishery?  Yes.  NMFS will announce closures of the directed fisheries for Atlantic mackerel, longfin squid, Illex squid, and butterfish fisheries before the quota has been fully attained.  Fishery closures will be published in the Federal Register, and announced via USCG and National Weather Service Radio.

 When this percent of the quota is reached…The possession limit will be reduced to this amount for the remainder of the fishing year or Trimester…
Mackerel95%20,000 lb
Tier 3 Mackerel Allocation90%20,000 lb (for Tier 3 vessels only)
Mackerel100%0 lb (possession prohibited)
Longfin Squid90% in Trimesters I and II; 95% after
April 15 and August 15
2,500 lb
Longfin Squid95% in Trimester III2,500 lb
Butterfish Mortality Cap*80% in Trimester I, 90% after April 152,500 lb of longfin squid
Butterfish Mortality Cap *90% in Trimester III2,500 lb of longfin squid
Illex Squid95%10,000 lb
ButterfishSee information belowSee information below

 

*Vessels using jigging gear to target longfin squid when the directed fishery is closed due to the butterfish mortality cap will not be subject to the reduced possession limit and will be allowed to possess more than 2,500 lb of longfin squid, provided that all trawl gear is properly stowed. 

Butterfish 3-Phase Management System:

The butterfish fishery operates on a 3 phase management system where butterfish trip limits are reduced from Phase 1 to Phase 2, and again from Phase 2 to Phase 3 when catch reaches a particular closure threshold. 

Phase 1: 

Phase 1 begins at the start of the butterfish fishing year on January 1. 

During phase 1, the butterfish trip limits are:

  • Unlimited for longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit holders using mesh greater than or equal to 3 inches;
  • 2,500 lb for longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit holders using mesh less than 3 inches; and
  • 600 lb for squid/butterfish incidental permits.

Phase 2:

Once butterfish harvest reaches the trip limit reduction threshold to move from phase 1 to phase 2, the butterfish trip limits will be:  

  • 5,000 lb for longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit holders using mesh size greater than or equal to 3-inches;
  • 2,500 lb for longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit holders using mesh less than 3 inches; and
  • 600 lb for squid/butterfish incidental permits.

Phase 3: 

When butterfish harvest is projected to reach the trip hold reduction threshold to move from phase 2 to phase 3, the butterfish trip limit will be:

  • 500 lb for all longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit holders, regardless of mesh size; and
  • 600 lb for squid/mackerel/butterfish incidental permits.
  • During Phase 3, we have the authority to change the butterfish trip limit to anywhere between 250 to 750 lb to avoid a quota overage. 

 

The trip limit reduction thresholds to move from phase 1 to phase 2, and to move from phase 2 to phase 3, will change bi-monthly throughout the year as shown in the table below.  We will publish a notice in the Federal Register and notify the butterfish fleet via Fisheries bulletin, coast guard radio, NOAA weather radio, vessel monitoring system (VMS) message, and on our website once the trip limit reduction threshold is reached, and a new phase begins. 

 

Butterfish Trip Limit Reduction Thresholds

 Phase 2Phase 3
Months

Trip Limit Reduction Threshold

(Percent of quota)

Corresponding

Butterfish quota level (mt)

Trip Limit Reduction Threshold

(Percent of quota)

Corresponding Butterfish quota level (mt)
Jan - Feb401,028581,491
Mar-Apr471,208641,645
May-Jun551,414711,825
Jul-Aug631,619782,005
Sept-Oct711,825852,185
Nov-Dec782,005912,339

 

Accountability Measures

ACL Overage Deductions:

Mackerel

  • Commercial overage repayment:  If the mackerel ACL is exceeded by the commercial fishery, then the exact amount of the overage will be deducted from the commercial DAH as a single year adjustment between March 31 and May 1 of the following year. 
  • Recreational overage repayment:  If the recreational fishery landings are responsible for the overage, then landings in overage the RHL will be deducted from the RHL in the following year.
  • Non-landings overage repayment:  If the mackerel ACL is exceeded, and the overage has not been accommodated through other landing-based AMs, but is attributable to either the commercial or recreational sector (such as research quota overages, dead discards in excess of those otherwise accounted for in management uncertainty, or other non-landing overages), then the exact amount, in pounds, by which the sector ACT was exceeded will be deducted from the following year.

Butterfish

  • If the butterfish ACL is exceeded, then the exact amount of the overage will be deducted from the butterfish ACL by March 31 of the following year as a single-year adjustment.

Longfin squid

  • Trimester I underages:  If there is an underharvest in Trimester I of 25 percent or more, then the amount of the underharvest will be reallocated to Trimester II and Trimester III.  The Trimester II quota may be increased by a maximum of 50 percent, so any remaining portion of the underage will be reallocated to Trimester III. 
  • Trimester I overages:  Any underages for Trimester I that are less than 25 percent of the Trimester I quota will be applied to Trimester III of the same year and any overages of commercial quota for Trimesters I and II will be subtracted from Trimester III of the same year.
  • Longfin squid are exempt from the ACL/AM requirements because they are not overfished and have annual life cycles. 

Illex squid

  • Illex squid are exempt from the ACL/AM requirements because they are not overfished and have annual life cycles. 

Vessels fishing for mackerel that are less than 165 feet in length overall, less than 750 gross registered tons, or with a shaft horsepower less than 3,000 shp may receive one of the mackerel permits listed below.  Mackerel vessels exceeding the size and horsepower restrictions may receive an at-sea processing permit under the Atlantic herring FMP.

 Permit CategoryDescriptionTrip Limits

(for all set trip limits (other than unlimited) trip limits are per trip or calendar day)

Number of Issued Permits (as of Jan. 2012)Number of Permits in Confirmation of Permit History**
Open AccessSMB 2Charter PartyNone while carrying passengers for hire7410
SMB 3Squid/Butterfish IncidentalLongfin squid and butterfish: 2,500 lb

Illex squid: 10,000 lb

1,6860
SMB 4*Atlantic Mackerel Open Access20,000 lb1,9910
Limited AccessSMB 1Longfin/Butterfish MoratoriumLongfin squid: Unlimited

Butterfish:  Dependent on phase and mesh size

34558
SMB 5Illex MoratoriumUnlimited Illex757
SMB T1*Tier 1 MackerelUnlimited mackerelTBD5
SMB T2*Tier 2 Mackerel135,000 lbTBD0
SMB T3*Tier 3 Mackerel100,000 lbTBD10

 

*New limited access mackerel permits went into place on March 1, 2012.  More information on the new permits can be found here: http://www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/nr/nrdoc/11/11MackLAPermitPHL.pdf

** A Confirmation of Permit History (CPH) allows a vessel owner to retain permit eligibility in the event the vessel has been destroyed or sold but the owner retains the permit eligibility.  The permit in Confirmation of Permit History may then be placed on a vessel at a later date.

Control Date: 

Mackerel:  March 21, 2007 (control date used to establish the limited access mackerel program)

Longfin Squid:  May 20, 2003

This control date could be used for establishing eligibility criteria for determining future access to the Longfin and Illex squid fisheries. 

Illex Squid:  May 20, 2003

This control date could be used for establishing eligibility criteria for determining future access to the Longfin and Illex squid fisheries. 

Butterfish:  None

Other Permit Information:  Not Applicable

Commercial Operator Permit:  Operator cards are required for any operator of a charter/party boat or a commercial vessel (including carrier and processor vessels) issued a vessel permit from the Northeast Region and fishing for or in possession of fish.

Commercial Dealer/Processor Permit:  Atlantic mackerel, squid, and/or butterfish may be sold only to persons possessing a valid Federal Atlantic mackerel, squid, and/or butterfish dealer permit. A limited entry system for Atlantic mackerel has recently been implemented.

How to obtain a Federal fishing permit:

Commercial (moratorium) permits have been managed under a limited entry system for longfin, Illex, and butterfish since 1996; no new moratorium permits for these species are being issued.  

Anyone with a valid vessel operator’s permit can obtain a federal MSB permit by submitting a permit application and supporting documentation to the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office Permit Division.

More information can be found here.

Trip Limits:

 Permit CategoryDescriptionTrip Limits

(for all set trip limits (other than unlimited) trip limits are per trip or calendar day)

Open AccessSMB 2Charter PartyNone while carrying passengers for hire
SMB 3Squid/Butterfish IncidentalLongfin squid: 2,500 lb; Butterfish: 600 lb

Illex squid: 10,000 lb

SMB 4*Atlantic Mackerel Open Access20,000 lb
Limited AccessSMB 1Longfin/Butterfish MoratoriumLongfin squid: Unlimited

Butterfish: Dependent on phase and mesh size-see table below

SMB 5Illex MoratoriumUnlimited Illex
SMB T1*Tier 1 MackerelUnlimited mackerel
SMB T2*Tier 2 Mackerel135,000 lb
SMB T3*Tier 3 Mackerel100,000 lb

*New limited access mackerel permits went  into place on March 1, 2012.  More information on the new permits can be found here: http://www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/nr/nrdoc/11/11MackLAPermitPHL.pdf

 

Butterfish trip limits

The butterfish fishery operates under a 3-phase management system. 

Butterfish  3-Phase Management System

PhaseLimited Access Trip LimitIncidental Trip Limit
 >3 inch mesh<3 inch mesh600 lb
1Unlimited2,500 lb600 lb
25,000 lb2,500 lb600 lb
3500 lb500 lb600 lb

 

Fish Size Limits

Minimum fish size: Not applicable

Maximum fish size: Not applicable

Minimum mesh size:

Mackerel:  Not applicable.  

Butterfish:  Vessels fishing with otter trawl gear that possess 1,000 lb or more of butterfish, must use nets that have a minimum codend mesh of 3 inches (76 mm) diamond mesh, inside stretch measure, applied throughout the codend for at least 100 continuous meshes forward of the end of the net.  For codends with less than 100 meshes, one-third of the net must have a minimum mesh of 3 inches, measured from the back of the codend to the headrope.

Longfin squid: 

TrimesterMinimum Mesh Size
Trimester I2 1/8 inches (54 mm)
Trimester II1 7/8 inches (48 mm)
Trimester III2 1/8 inches (54 mm)
Net strengtheners must be greater than 5 inches diamond mesh

 

Illex squid:

Illex Squid Trawl Exemption Area: 

Vessels fishing for Illex squid with otter trawl gear that possess longfin squid during June, July, August, and September seaward of the following coordinates are exempt from the longfin minimum mesh sizes, provided they do not have any net or piece of net with a mesh size less than 1 7/8 inches (48 mm) diamond mesh available for immediate use, when the vessel is landward of the exemption area boundary.

Other Gear Restrictions:

GearAreaLOA Necessary
Mid-water TrawlGOM/GB Regulated Mesh AreaYes
Bottom* TrawlGOM/GB and SNE Regulated Mesh AreaNo
Purse SeineGOM/GB Regulated Mesh AreaYes

To request a LOA from the Regional Administrator, contact the Greater Atlantic Region Permit Office at (978) 282-8438.

*See small mesh exemption information sheet for more information on retaining MSB species in exempted fisheries. http://www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/regs/infodocs/Small_mesh_exemption.pdf

Regulated, Closed, and Access Areas

Not Applicable

Days-At-Sea (DAS) Requirements:

The Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries are not managed by a DAS system.  Please see the ‘Fishery Quota’ and ‘Trip Limit’ section of this webpage for more information on effort control in the these fisheries. 

Exempted Fisheries

Exempted fisheries allow fishing vessels to fish for specific species without being subject to certain Northeast (NE) multispecies regulations, including DAS, provided the bycatch of regulated species is minimal. To be approved and implemented, exemption programs must have demonstrated that incidental catch of NE multispecies is less than 5 percent of the total catch, by weight, and that the exemption will not jeopardize fishing mortality objectives.

How to Request Fishery Exemptions

An exempted fishery may be added, deleted, or modified pursuant to the procedure described below:

  1. Applicants must submit a written request to the Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930-2298. The request should describe the area in which the fishery would operate, the period in which it would operate, the gear it would use, the approximate number of vessels likely to participate, and the species it would target, retain, and land.
  2. Those proposing that a fishery should be exempt should describe the fishery and present all information possible that helps determine that the fishery meets the bycatch standard. The Regional Administrator will investigate NMFS data sources, but proposals for exemptions should be complete and clear to facilitate the process. State agencies and universities, for example, may have additional data available and applicants may contact them for assistance.
  3. When a request for an exempted fishery is submitted, the request and any accompanying data are reviewed by the Regional Administrator to determine whether such a fishery would meet the exemption qualifying criteria, which are described in the first paragraph of this information sheet. The Regional Administrator will also consult with the New England Fishery Management Council on any exemptions requested. This process may take several months to complete.

 NE multispecies regulations include four regulated mesh areas (RMAs) that regulate which gear can be used in each of the following areas:  Gulf of Maine (GOM); Georges Bank (GB); Southern New England (SNE); and Mid-Atlantic (MA).

Exemption Areas (EAs) and Fisheries Where MSB Fisheries Can Be Retained

Exempted Areas within the GOM/GB RMAs

Exempted Areas within the SNE RMA

Exempted Areas within the MA RMA

 

Cultivator Shoal Whiting Fishery EA*†

SNE Exemption Area (includes part of GB RMA)

Mid-Atlantic EA (includes part of SNE RMA)  

 

Small Mesh Areas 1 & 2†

SNE Little Tunny Gillnet Exemption Area

Mid-water trawl gear Exempted Fishery

 

Raised Footrope Trawl Exempted Whiting Fishing Area*†

 

 

GOM Grate Raised Footrope Trawl Whiting Fishery EA†

 

 

* Requires a Letter of Authorization (LOA) to participate.  LOAs can be obtained from the Greater Atlantic Region Permit Office at (978) 281-9370.

† MSB species are considered an incidentally caught species in these EAs.  These EAs require the use of small mesh to target whiting.

 

 

A vessel fishing for mackerel, squid, and/or butterfish in Federal waters must also comply with closed areas for other fisheries, including NE multispecies, unless using gear defined as not capable of catching NE multispecies.  Exempted gear includes the following:  Pelagic hook and line, pelagic longline, spears, rakes, diving gear, cast nets, tong, harpoons, weirs, dipnets, stop nets, pound nets, pelagic gillnets, pots and traps, shrimp trawls (with properly configured grates), and surfclam/ocean quahog dredges.

These include seasonal and year-round closures, Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) closures, and transiting/gear stowage requirements.

More information regarding multispecies regulations is available on the NMFS Greater Atlantic Region website at:  http://www.nero.noaa.gov/sfd/sfdmulti.html

Transfers at Sea

A vessel with a valid longfin squid, Illex squid, and/or butterfish permit must apply for an LOA from the Regional Administrator to transfer and receive longfin squid, Illex squid, and/or butterfish at sea.  If the vessel has been issued a valid incidental squid and butterfish permit, it may transfer these species at sea, consistent with the applicable possession limits, but may not receive them.  Current valid incidental possession limits are:  2,500 lb of longfin and/or butterfish per trip and 10,000 lb of Illex per trip. 

Possession Limits:

There are no recreational possession limits or fish size requirements in MSB fisheries.

For information on fishing in state waters (0-3 nautical miles), click on the relevant state below.

Maine

New Hampshire

Massachusetts

Rhode Island

Connecticut

New York

New Jersey

Delaware

Maryland

Virginia

North Carolina

Fish Size Limits:

Minimum Fish Size: None

Maximum Fish Size: None

Gear Requirements

Not Applicable

Regulated, Closed, and Access Areas

Not Applicable

Days-At-Sea (DAS) Requirements:

The Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries are not managed by a DAS system.  Please see the ‘Fishery Quota’ and ‘Trip Limit’ section of this webpage for more information on effort control in the these fisheries. 

Exempted Fisheries

Not Applicable

Protected Resource and Marine Mammal Regulations

Not applicable.

Commercial Reporting

Vessel Reporting Requirements:

All MSB VesselsTier 3 Mackerel VesselsLongfin Squid Vessels
Monthly VTR by the 15th of the following monthWeekly VTR by Tuesday at midnight for the previous weeks catchNotify NEFOP program 48 hours prior to the start of a trip if landing over 2,500 lb of longfin squid*
VTR: Vessel Trip Report; NEFOP: Northeast Fisheries Observer Program


Catch Reporting and Vessel Trip Reports (VTR):  VTRs must be submitted with record of all fishing activity for each month.  The reports must be submitted to NMFS or postmarked within 15 days after the end of the reporting month or by Tuesday at midnight for the previous weeks catch for Tier 3 mackerel vessels.  Reports can also be submitted electronically at here.  If no fishing activity took place during a fishing month or week, then a VTR must be submitted stating that no fishing trips were taken. 

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System Requirements:  The Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries do not have any IVR requirements.  However, if you are participating in a research program such as research set-aside (RSA) or fishing with an exempted fishing permit (EFP), there are IVR requirements.  Please refer to your RSA or EFP paperwork for instruction on using IVR.

Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Requirements:  The Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries do not have any VMS requirements.

Observer Requirements: 

*Pre-Trip Observer Notification for Longfin squid vessels:

Vessels with longfin squid permits that land greater than 2,500 lb of longfin squid must request an observer at least 48 hours before the start of a trip.  Vessels must provide the following information to the observer program:  vessel name, vessel permit number, contact name for coordination of observer deployment, telephone number for contact; and the date, time, port of departure, and approximate trip duration.

How to request an observer (3 different options):

  1. Use the Pre-Trip Notification System (PTNS) by going to this link: http://fish.nefsc.noaa.gov/PTNS.  The username is your permit number and the password is the same as used for Fish-On-Line.
  2. Email the following information to nefsc.ptns@noaa.gov:
    • Vessel permit number
    • Planned sail date and time
    • Fishery: Loligo squid
    • Estimated trip duration in whole days
    • Port of sail
    • Phone number, if new to using PTNS
  3. Call the NMFS Pre-Trip Notification System at 1-855-FISHES1 at least 72 hours prior to departing on a trip.  The line is staffed from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on business days.  Outside of these hours, the line is staffed by an answering service that is qualified to accept requests for observers and answer questions.  

Dealer Reporting Requirements:

Federal dealers must submit electronic dealer reports by midnight on Tuesday for the previous week’s transactions (Sun-Sat). Reports must include vessel name, Federal permit number, and hull number of the vessel that harvested the fish.

Charter/Party and Recreational Reporting

Catch Reporting and Vessel Trip Reports (VTR):  If the owner of a party or charter boat is issued only a charter/party permit, and is carrying passengers for hire, then they must complete a VTR for each trip on which they land any fish.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System Requirements:  The Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries do not have any IVR requirements. However, if you are participating in a research program such as research set-aside (RSA) or fishing with an exempted fishing permit (EFP), there are IVR requirements.  Please refer to your RSA or EFP paperwork for instruction on using IVR.

Additionally, the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) is a system of coordinated voluntary data collection programs designed to estimate recreational catch and effort.