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NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed Catch Monitoring Improvements for Limited Access Herring Vessels

August 27, 2015

NOAA Fisheries is seeking comments on proposed measures for limited access herring vessels as part of the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan. The New England Fishery Management Council recommended these measures to improve catch monitoring and address discarding in the herring fishery.

These proposed measures would require:

  1. Fish holds to be certified and observers to collect volumetric catch estimates for a cross-check of vessel and dealer data;
  2. Fish holds to be empty of fish before leaving port, unless a waiver is issued by an authorized law enforcement officer when fish have been reported but cannot be sold;
  3. Slippage (i.e., catch discarded prior to sampling by an observer) to be reported via the vessel monitoring system; 
  4. Moving 15 nautical miles following an allowable slippage event (one due to safety, mechanical failure, or excess catch of spiny dogfish); and
  5. Terminating a fishing trip and returning to port following a non-allowable slippage event (one for any reason not listed above).

We have concerns with the proposed measures 1 and 2, above. We are seeking public comment on the justification for these proposed measures and whether the utility of the measures outweighs compliance and enforcement costs.

Read the proposed rule as published in the Federal Register. Submit your comments online through regulations.gov, or send your comments by mail to:

John Bullard
Regional Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region
National Marine Fisheries Service
55 Great Republic Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930.

Please label the envelope: "Comments on the Herring Framework Adjustment 4 Proposed Rule."

Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, at 978-281-6175 or Jennifer.Goebel@noaa.gov.