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NOAA Fisheries Announces Closure of the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 30, 2018

NOAA Fisheries is closing the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area to all federally permitted Limited Access General Category scallop vessels effective 0001 hr, on May 2, 2018.

As of May 2, 2018, no Limited Access General Category scallop vessel fishing under federal scallop regulations may fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area. The scallop regulations require that we close this area once we project that 100 percent of the 2018 Limited Access General Category Total Allowable Catch for this area will be taken. The closure will be in effect until the end of the fishing year, March 31, 2019.

Limited Access General Category vessels that have declared a trip into the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area using the correct Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) code, and have crossed the VMS demarcation line before 0001 hr, May 2, 2018, may complete their trip and retain and land scallops caught from the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area.

Exemption for Maine and Massachusetts Vessels Fishing Exclusively State Waters

If you have a valid Maine or Massachusetts state scallop permit, you may continue to fish in Maine or Massachusetts state waters within the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area under the State Waters Exemption program. If you are fishing under an Individual Fishing Quota scallop permit (Limited Access General Category A), any pounds landed under a state waters only trip will still be deducted from your vessel’s allocation.

Exemption for Limited Access Vessels Fishing Compensation Trips Under the Scallop Research Set-Aside Program

This closure does not affect the Limited Access fleet that was allocated a separate Total Allowable Catch of 65,000 lb for the 2018 fishing year under Framework 29 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan. The Limited Access Total Allowable Catch will be harvested by vessels that are participating in the 2018 scallop Research Set-Aside Program.

For more details, read the notice as filed in the Federal Register and the permit holder bulletin.

Questions?

Contact Shannah Jaburek, Sustainable Fisheries Division, 978-282-8456.