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NOAA Fisheries Announces New Habitat Management Measures for New England Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries has approved measures of the New England Fishery Management Council’s Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2. This amendment updates the Essential Fish Habitat designations required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act with the latest scientific information, and minimizes the effect of fishing on that habitat while balancing the economic needs of the fishing industry.

The approved measures include: 

The approved measures are effective on April 9, 2018.

Please note: The Closed Area I and the Nantucket Lightship Closure Areas remain closed to scallop vessels until allowed via a follow-on scallop action. The Council has proposed new access areas for those areas in Framework Adjustment 29. Approval and implementation of those recommendations is pending.

Two important notes:

Closed Area I North will remain closed until April 15 to protect spawning. This closure applies to all fishing vessels, except vessels in transit, vessels fishing with exempted gears, vessels fishing in the mid-water trawl exempted fishery, charter and party vessels, private recreational vessels, and scallop dredges.

The Spring Massachusetts Bay Spawning Closure will be closed April 15-30. This closure applies to all vessels, except vessels without a federal northeast multispecies permit fishing exclusively in state waters, vessels fishing with exempted gears or in the mid-water trawl purse seine exempted fishery, scallop vessels on a day-at-sea, scallop vessels in the dredge exemption area, transiting vessels, and charter/party and private recreational vessels.

For more information, read the permit holder bulletin.


Fishing Industry: Moira Kelly, Regional Office, 978-281-9218 or David Stevenson, Regional Office, 978-281-9118.

Media: Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, 978-281-9175