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Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery: Limited Access General Category (LAGC) Scallop Vessels

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 27, 2019

Updated Allocations for the Remainder of the 2019 Fishing Year and Other New Measures

Effective Date: April 1, 2019

The following information describes new measures implementing Framework 30 and a summary of how they may affect your fishing plans and activities for the 2019 fishing year. We have also included reminders of some current requirements. Please read through each section carefully, and distribute this letter to your vessel operators. This summary is not a substitute for the actual regulations, and we encourage you to review the full text of the regulations.

Application for IFQ Leasing

If you would like to learn more about these and other measures, or details about recent actions, check our Atlantic Sea Scallop page.

Fishing Year 2019 Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Allocations
The table below includes the LAGC fleet fishing year 2019 IFQ allocations effective April 1, 2019, through March 31, 2020. We will send you a separate letter that specifies your vessel’s updated 2019 IFQ, which we set based on the following allocations.

**REMINDER** For IFQ vessels, all scallop harvest counts against your IFQ, regardless of where it is caught, including state waters.

LAGC Fleet Allocations

LAGC IFQ only

1,360 mt (2,998,287 lb)

LAGC IFQ with limited access scallop permit

136 mt (299,829 lb)

IFQ Overage Payback (accountability measure)
Please remember that you are prohibited from exceeding your IFQ allocation at any time during the fishing year. If you have exceeded your IFQ, you must balance an overage through temporary IFQ leases and/or permanent allocation transfers prior to any additional fishing activity. However, balancing an IFQ overage does not negate any potential violation related to exceeding your IFQ. If you exceed your yearly IFQ allocation, we will deduct any unresolved overages that remain at the end of the fishing year from the following year’s IFQ allocation on a pound-for-pound basis.

2019 Access Area Closures
The following areas are closed for scallop fishing year 2019 (see attached map and coordinates):

  • Closed Area 2
    • PROHIBITION: Vessels are prohibited from transiting Closed Area 2 when on a declared scallop trip.
  • Nantucket Lightship-North
  • Nantucket Lightship-Hatchet
  • Nantucket Lightship-South

Fishing Year 2019 Access Area Allocations
Framework 30 allocates effort into three rotational access areas (Mid-Atlantic Access Area (MAAA), Nantucket Lightship-West Access Area (NLS-W), and Closed Area 1 Access Area (CA1)). There are no seasonal closures in any of the available access areas in 2019.

Fishing Year 2019 LAGC IFQ Trip Allocations for Scallop Access Areas

Scallop access area

Number of Trips

Closed Area 1

571

Nantucket Lightship-West

1,713

Mid-Atlantic

1,713

Total

3,997

LAGC Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) Management Area Scallop Possession Limit and Total Allowable Catch (TAC)
Framework 30 implements a 205,000-lb annual NGOM TAC for fishing year 2019 and a 170,000-lb default TAC for fishing year 2020. Last year, the NGOM portions of Framework 29 developed a methodology for splitting the TAC between the LAGC and the limited access fleets. The limited access portion of the TAC may only be fished by vessels participating in the Research Set-Aside (RSA) program that are participating in a project that has been allocated NGOM RSA allocation.

NGOM TACs for Fishing Year 2019.

Fleet

TAC

LAGC

137,500 lb

Limited access

67,500 lb

Total

205,000 lb

**REMINDER** For IFQ vessels, all scallop harvest counts against your IFQ, regardless of where it is caught, including state waters and the NGOM.

LAGC Incidental Scallop Target TAC
The incidental scallop target TAC for fishing year 2019 is 50,000 lb. Vessels issued an LAGC Incidental Catch scallop permit may land only 40 lb shucked or 5 U.S. bu of in-shell scallops per trip.

Standardized Default Allocations
Each year the Scallop Fishery Management Plan allocates fishery specifications on an annual basis including IFQ to qualifying LAGC IFQ vessels, and access area trips to the LAGC IFQ fleet. Default specifications have been developed in this annual process so that the fishery may continue to operate at a conservative level if updated specifications are not in place by April 1 (start of the fishing year). Framework 30 standardizes the default LAGC IFQ allocation. The LAGC IFQ component receives 75 percent of Fishing Year 1 quota allocation. This action does not allocate default access area trips to LAGC IFQ component, and it does not standardize default allocations to the NGOM.

Standardized Approach to Setting LAGC IFQ Access Area Trips Each year the LAGC IFQ fishery is allocated a fleetwide total number of access area trips. Framework 30 standardizes overall access area allocations to the LAGC IFQ component by allocating the amount equivalent to 5.5 percent of total projected access area harvest by the limited access and LAGC IFQ components. The total projected access area harvest will be set by:

  1. First, multiplying the number of full-time access area trips by the full-time limited access fleet’s access area possession limit and the number of full-time equivalent permits in the fishery (327).
  2. Next, dividing the expected limited access fleet’s access area harvest by 0.945 to calculate total expected access area harvest, and
  3. Finally, calculating the number of access area trips allocated to the LAGC IFQ fleet by dividing 5.5 percent of total expected access area harvest by the LAGC IFQ possession limit.

Fishing Year 2019 Groundfish ACL in the Scallop Fishery

Stock

Scallop sub-ACL

Georges Bank Yellowtail Flounder

17 mt (34,479 lb)

SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder

15 mt (33,069 lb)

Northern Windowpane Flounder

18 mt (36,683 lb)

Southern Windowpane Flounder

158 mt (348,330 lb)

These limits are for both the LAGC fleet and limited access fleet combined. Get more information about yellowtail flounder and windowpane flounder catch limits in the scallop fishery.

Cost Recovery
Framework 30 adjusts the specific timing for the LAGC IFQ Cost Recovery Program to more accurately reflect the realities and limitations of how the program has been operating. The current regulations state that NMFS shall mail out cost recovery bills on or about October 31 of each year, and that the fee must be paid by January 1 of each year. In practice, it is not possible for NMFS to prepare bills on or before October 31, because it does not provide enough time to collect any data from the last few weeks of the cost recovery year, run quality assurance and quality control checks on that data, determine total recoverable costs, and generate bills. IFQ vessels will now have up to 60 days for the bill to be paid after it is mailed.

IFQ Online Leasing Platform
The New England Fishery Council has asked NMFS to build an online leasing platform to add flexibility for the LAGC fleet. We anticipate that this platform will be available to the fleet later in the spring of 2019. Because this platform is being developed to benefit the LAGC IFQ program, we are legally obligated to charge potions of its development as a recoverable cost. Therefore, it is likely that your cost recovery bills may increase slightly from the previous year.

Important LAGC Program Reminders

Observer Set-Aside Compensation
If NOAA Fisheries selects your IFQ vessel for an open area or access area observed trip, you will receive observer compensation credit of 250 lb per trip if the observer set-aside has not been fully harvested. You can fish those additional pounds on the observed IFQ trip above the regular possession limit or on a subsequent trip that fishing year. However, if you harvest the additional pounds on a subsequent trip, you must remain within the possession limits.

NOAA Fisheries monitors the compensation rates and the observer set-aside use closely throughout the year. If information suggests that a different rate is necessary to account for unexpected fishery conditions, NOAA Fisheries will change the compensation rate as appropriate.

LAGC Calendar Day Landing Restriction
LAGC vessels may not land scallops more than once per calendar day. For example, an LAGC vessel that lands scallops on Monday may depart on a second trip on the same day it landed scallops (Monday), but cannot land scallops again until Tuesday or later.

Scallop Pre-Landing Notification
LAGC IFQ and NGOM vessels must send a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Scallop Pre-Landing Notification form at least 6 hours before arrival on the way back to port, or immediately after fishing ends if less than 6 hours before arrival. In addition, you must submit this form on trips that are not declared as scallop trips, but on which scallops are kept incidentally. Forms must include:

  • Operator’s permit number;
  • Vessel trip report (VTR) serial number recorded from that trip's VTR;
  • Estimated amount of scallop meats and/or bushels to be landed;
  • Estimated time and date of arrival in port;
  • Port city and state at which the scallops will be landed; and
  • Whether any scallops were caught in the NGOM.

Shell Stock Restrictions

  • Vessels fishing in the Georges Bank paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) closure area may not retain in-shell scallops.
  • Vessels may possess no more than 75 bu of in-shell scallops shoreward of the VMS demarcation line.
  • A vessel declared into the Sea Scallop Area Access Program may not possess more than 75 bu of in-shell scallops outside of the access area.
  • Vessels issued an LAGC NGOM scallop permit and IFQ vessels fishing in the NGOM may possess no more than 25 bu in-shell scallops shoreward of the VMS demarcation line