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Proposed Specifications for 2016-2018 Mackerel, Squid, Butterfish Fisheries

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 22, 2016

NOAA Fisheries is requesting comments on proposed 2016-18 specifications and management measures for the Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries. 

We are proposing to decrease the Atlantic mackerel quota by 56 percent to 9,177 mt because catches have remained low since 2011, and the last stock assessment for mackerel was in 2010. Without a new stock assessment the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee decided to base the 2016-2018 Acceptable Biological Catch on 50% of the long-term median catch.

To keep the catch cap on river herring and shad in the mackerel fishery proportional with the quota, we are proposing to reduce it from 89 mt to 82 mt.

This action also proposes to require longfin squid and butterfish moratorium permit holders to use 3-inch mesh when possessing more than 5,000 lbs, up from 2,500 lbs, and to clarify that 5-inch (square or diamond) or greater strengtheners may be used outside the 3-inch mesh to avoid breaking nets during large hauls.

Finally, we propose to suspend the Pre-Trip Notification System (PTNS) requirement for longfin squid and butterfish moratorium permit holders. 

To get all the details on these proposed specifications and management measures, read the proposed rule as published in the Federal Register today and the background documents posted on our website. 

We are accepting comments through February 22.

Please submit comments either through the online e-rulemaking portal or by mailing your comments to:

John Bullard, Regional Administrator
National Marine Fisheries Service
55 Great Republic Drive
Gloucester, MA, 01950.

Please mark the outside of the envelope, "Comments on the Proposed Rule for MSB Specifications.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel at 978-281-9175 or jennifer.goebel@noaa.gov.