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Northeast Multispecies Common Pool Vessels: Closure of the Trimester Total Allowable Catch Area and Possession Prohibition for Georges Bank Cod

Contact:
Sustainable  Fisheries Division
(978) 281 –9315
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 9, 2017

Effective Date: January 9, 2017, through April 30, 2017

Effective at 0845 hours on January 9, 2017, statistical areas 521, 522, 525, and 561 are closed for the remainder of the fishing year through April 30, 2017, to all common pool vessels on a groundfish trip fishing with trawl, sink gillnet, or longline/hook gear.  This closure is required because the Trimester 3 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for Georges Bank (GB) cod has already been caught.  This area will reopen at the beginning of next fishing year, at 0001 hours, May 1, 2017. 

Effective January 9, the possession of GB cod by any common pool vessel is prohibited.  This includes inshore and offshore Georges Bank as well as Southern New England:

Permit/Program

Previous GB Cod Limits (Effective December 22, 2016)

New Limit (Effective January 9, 2017)

A DAS* (outside of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area) 25 lb per DAS up to 50 lb per trip

 

 

Possession of GB cod is prohibited (including Offshore GB, Inshore GB, and Southern New England)

A DAS (Eastern U.S./Canada Area) 25 lb per DAS up to 50 lb per trip
A DAS (Special Access Programs) 50 lb per trip
Handgear A 25 lb per trip
Handgear B 25 lb per trip
Regular B DAS Program 25 lb per DAS up to 50 lb per trip
Small Vessel Category (<30 ft) 300 lb of cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder combined 300 lb of cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder combined
Maximum of 25 lb of cod and 200 lb of GOM haddock within the 300-lb combined trip limit Possession of GB cod is prohibited (including Offshore GB, Inshore GB, and Southern New England), Maximum of 25 lb of GOM cod and 200 lb of GOM haddock within the 300-lb combined trip limit

 

Map of Current Common Pool Closures, by Gear Type

The closure applies to all common pool vessels on a groundfish trip fishing with trawl, sink gillnet, or longline/hook gear.  If you have crossed the vessel monitoring system demarcation line and are currently at sea on a groundfish trip, you may complete your trip in all or part of the newly closed areas and are not subject to the new GB cod possession prohibition for this trip.  Vessels that have set gillnet gear prior to 0845 hours on January 9, 2017, may complete their trip by hauling such gear and also are not subject to the new GB cod possession prohibition for that trip. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this action being taken? We are required to close the Trimester TAC Area to gear capable of catching a stock when we project that 90 percent of the Trimester TAC is caught.  Because overages in Trimester 1 and 2 must be subtracted from the quota in Trimester 3, catch of GB cod has already exceeded the Trimester 3 quota. The Trimester TAC closure and prohibition on possession of GB cod is necessary to prevent the common pool from further exceeding its quota.
How much of the quota has been caught? Based on recent data, we estimate that 102.7% of the annual quota for GB cod has been harvested.  Quota monitoring reports are updated on the internet at:multi http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/.
What happens now that the annual quota has been exceeded? Because the 2016 fishing year quota has been exceeded, the amount of the overage will be deducted from the common pool’s quota next year (i.e., fishing year 2017).
Does this closure affect handgear vessels? Yes, this closure applies to all common pool groundfish vessels, including those fishing with a Handgear A (limited access), Handgear B (open access), or Small Vessel Category permit.