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NOAA Fisheries Modifies Skate Fishery Management Plan to Reduce Risk of Skate Bait Fishery Closure

February 12, 2018

NOAA Fisheries has modified the Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan to reduce the risk of the skate bait fishery from effectively closing down as it did in fishing year 2016.

These measures become effective March 15, 2018

Framework Adjustment 4 implements several measures to de-couple the skate wing and bait in-season trip limit adjustments to better control the catch of skate bait and to provide a more consistent supply of skate bait to the lobster fishery. Specifically, the final rule will:

  • Reduce the skate bait Season 3 (November 1 – April 30) possession limit from 25,000 lb to 12,000 lb;
  • Reduce the skate bait Season 3 threshold trigger from 90 to 80 percent of the annual total allowable landings;
  • Establish an 8,000-lb incidental possession limit for skate bait when a seasonal threshold trigger is reached;
  • Close the skate bait fishery when 100 percent of the quota is projected to be harvested; and
  • Clarify that if we determine that an in-season possession limit reduction could prohibit the skate bait fishery from achieving its annual TAL, then we may remove the in-season reduction and reinstate the standard possession limit.

To get all the details on these management measures, read the final rule as filed in the Federal Register today and the permit holder bulletin posted on our website.

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