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NOAA Fisheries Announces Common Pool Area Closure and Possession Prohibition for Georges Bank Cod

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 9, 2017

We are closing the Trimester Total Allowable Catch Area for Georges Bank cod to common pool vessels on groundfish trips fishing with trawl, sink gillnet, and longline/hook gear for the remainder of the fishing year, through April 30. The closure is effective January 9.

The closure applies to the following statistical areas: 521, 522, 525, and 561. See map for all current common pool closures.

Also effective January 9, possession of Georges Bank cod is prohibited for all common pool vessels. This includes all cod taken by common pool vessels in the Southern New England, Inshore Georges Bank, and Offshore Georges Bank broad stock areas. 

If you have crossed the vessel monitoring system demarcation line prior to 0845 hours on January 9 and are currently at sea on a groundfish trip, you may complete your trip in all or part of the closed areas. Additionally, you will not be subject to the new possession prohibition for that trip. Vessels that have set gillnet gear prior to January 9 may complete their trip by hauling such gear and will not be subject to the new possession prohibition for fish caught with that gear on that trip.

We are required to close this area because the common pool fishery has exceeded its 2016 annual quota for Georges Bank cod. This closure and possession prohibition is intended to prevent an even larger overage of the common pool's quota for this stock