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Commercial Fishing Prohibited in National Monument

Sustainable  Fisheries Division
(978) 281-9315
November 4, 2016

Commercial catch of all species is prohibited,
except for American lobster and Atlantic deep-sea red crab taken with fixed gear

Effective Date: November 14, 2016

On September 15, 2016, President Obama designated the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument for waters of the North Atlantic managed by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The Monument (see Figure 1) covers underwater seamounts (Bear, Mytilus, Physalia, and Retriever) and submerged canyons (Oceanographer, Gilbert, and Lydonia). According to the President’s Proclamation, the Monument is designed to provide protection for important ecological resources and marine species, including deep-sea corals; sperm, fin, and sei whales; Kemp’s ridley sea turtles; and deep-sea fish. Commercial fishing, other than for American lobster and Atlantic deep-sea red crab taken with fixed gear, is prohibited within the Monument as of November 14, 2016, 60 days from the Monument proclamation.

You can find more information about the Monument on the White House Press Information page: and in the Federal Register:

Figure 1 Map of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument
Download Image






40° 7.32' N

68° 12.72' W


40° 31.62' N

68° 16.08' W


40° 36.00' N

67° 37.68' W


40° 12.42' N

67° 34.68' W






38° 51.90' N

66° 55.86' W


39° 56.34' N

65° 56.58' W


40° 2.64' N

67° 43.32' W



Frequently Asked Questions

Can I fish commercially in the Monument? Effective November 14, 2016, no vessel may fish commercially in the Monument, except for fixed gear (pot and trap) vessels fishing with permits for lobster or red crab.
What species may be retained and sold from the Monument? No species may be retained and sold from the Monument, except for lobster and red crab taken with pots or traps.
By when must I remove my gear from the Monument? All fishing gear, with the exception of allowed and appropriately tagged lobster/crab pots, must be removed from the area before 12:01am on November 14, 2016.
How long can lobster and red crab harvesters fish in the Monument? The Presidential Proclamation for the Monument provides lobster and red crab pot and trap harvesters with an exemption from the fishing prohibition for not more than seven years.
Can I fish recreationally in the Monument? Yes. Anglers can continue to fish according to permits and limits that existed before the Monument designation. However, there could be future restrictions or permit requirements. We will provide anglers ample notice of any changes, and we will provide updated information regularly.
Can I transit through the Monument with commercial fishing gear aboard my vessel? Yes. To transit the Monument, gear must not be available for immediate use and appropriately stowed either below deck, on deck, or on reel, consistent with the definitions at 50 CFR 648.2.
Does NMFS have regulations in place for the Monument? Not yet. The Proclamation, issued in the Federal Register September 15, 2016 (81 FR 65159), states that NOAA, on behalf of the Department of Commerce, and in conjunction with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on behalf of the Department of Interior, shall put in place a joint management plan within three years of the Monument designation. In addition to the Monument management plan, we are working as quickly as possible to develop and implement Monument-related regulations for the appropriate fishery management plans.