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Implementation of Northern Red Hake Accountability Measure and Reinstatement of Regulatory Text for Raised-Footrope Trawl Gear Specifications

Contact:
Sustainable  Fisheries Division
(978) 281 –9315
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 8, 2017

Effective Date: May 9, 2017

This bulletin announces the following changes to the whiting fishery regulations:

  • We reduced the northern red hake in-season possession limit adjustment trigger from 62.5 percent of the total allowable landings (TAL) to 37.9 percent of the TAL. When 37.9 percent of the TAL is landed, the northern red hake possession limit will be reduced from 3,000 lb per trip to 400 lb per trip;
  • We removed the interim possession limit adjustment trigger that reduced the possession limit to 1,500 lb per trip when 45 percent of the TAL is landed; and
  • We are reinstating regulatory text describing the gear specifications for the raised-footrope trawl. The text was mistakenly removed from the regulations during a previous rulemaking action

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the in-season possession limit adjustment trigger?

This is the percentage of catch that triggers a reduction in the possession limit during the season.  The purpose is to reduce the risk of exceeding the annual catch limit (ACL) for the stock. 

Why is NOAA Fisheries reducing the in-season possession limit adjustment trigger?

We are required by the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to reduce the trigger when the catch of a small-mesh multispecies stock exceeds the ACL.  We must reduce the trigger by one percent for every percent of the catch over the ACL.  In 2015, fishermen caught 24.6 percent more than the limit allowed, so we are reducing the trigger by 24.6 percent, to 37.9 percent of the TAL. 

What happens when 37.9 percent of the TAL is reached for northern red hake?

The northern red hake possession limit will be reduced from 3,000 lb per trip to 400 lb per trip. We will notify you by bulletin and a notice in the Federal Register if this occurs.

How much is 37.9 percent of the TAL?

The 2017 TAL for northern red hake is 120 mt (264,600 lb), so 37. 9 percent of the TAL is 45.5 mt (100,328 lb).

What happened to the interim possession limit adjustment trigger that reduced possession limits for northern red hake to 1,500 lb per trip when 45 percent of the TAL is harvested?

We removed that interim possession limit adjustment trigger from the regulations.

Are there changes to the possession limits for any other small mesh multispecies?

No, these changes are only for northern red hake.

Does the raised-footrope trawl gear regulatory text being added back into the regulations change anything for fishermen? 

No.  We are adding the text back in as in as initially intended in the Northeast Multispecies FMP.

For small entity compliance guides, this bulletin complies with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act of 1996.  This notice is authorized by the Regional Administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Greater Atlantic Region.