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NOAA Fisheries Withdraws the Northeast Fishery Sector IX Operations Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 20, 2017

Through an Interim Final Rule filed this morning, NOAA Fisheries withdraws approval of the 2017 and 2018 Northeast Fishery Sector IX operations plan. The Regional Administrator determined that the sector and its participants have not complied with the requirements of their approved operations plan, and that the continuation of the Sector IX operations plan will undermine achievement of the conservation and management objectives of the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. This action follows the guilty plea and sentencing of Mr. Carlos Rafael, a major participant in Sector IX, who admitted to falsely reporting catch information.

Any Sector IX vessels that are currently at-sea on a groundfish trip must return to port immediately, and are allowed to offload and sell their catch. After that, vessels that are eligible to fish under other permits, without declaring a sector trip or using a multispecies day-at-sea, can continue to do so during the 2017 fishing year. Sector participants may not declare a sector trip or use a multispecies day-at-sea for the remainder of the 2017 fishing year. Sector IX may not lease in or out any groundfish allocation.

Read the rule as filed this morning in the Federal Register.

The comment period for this interim final rule closes on December 20.

You may submit comments on this document via the Federal eRulemaking Portal beginning November 22 or by sending them to John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, “Comments on the Interim Final Rule to Withdraw Approval of NEFS 9.”

Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, 978-281-9175.