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Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery; Closure of the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area for Limited Access General Category Vessels

Contact:
Sustainable  Fisheries Division
(978) 281 –9315
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 30, 2018

Effective Date:   May 2, 2018

The Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) Scallop Management Area is closed to all federally permitted Limited Access General Category (LAGC) scallop vessels effective 0001 hr, on May 2, 2018, except as exempted below.  The scallop regulations require that we close this area once we project that 100 percent of the 2018 LAGC total allowable catch for this area will be taken.  This closure is effective through March 31, 2019. 

LAGC vessels that have declared a trip into the NGOM 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 NGOM Scallop Management Area.  Except for vessels that have met these trip completion requirements, no LAGC scallop vessel fishing under federal scallop regulations subject to this closure may fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from the NGOM Scallop Management Area. 

This closure does not apply the Limited Access (LA) fleet.  The LA TAC will be harvested solely by vessels who are participating in the 2018 scallop Research Set-Aside Program and have been issues letters of authorization to conduct compensation fishing activities.

Exemption for Maine and Massachusetts Vessels Fishing Exclusively State Waters

Vessels issued a Limited Access General Category (LAGC) NGOM (LAGC B) or Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) scallop permit (LAGC A) may continue to fish in the Maine and Massachusetts state waters portion of the NGOM Scallop Management Area under the State Waters Exemption program provided they have a valid Maine or Massachusetts state scallop permit and fish only in that states waters. 

Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Vessel Owners Please Note:  An IFQ scallop vessel must have scallop IFQ allocation to fish for scallops at any time or place.  For vessels fishing under an (IFQ) scallop permit (category LAGC A), all scallop pounds landed, including scallops caught under a state waters only trip, will be deducted from the vessel’s IFQ allocation.

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.