NMFS News Release





Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930




Amendment 12 & Framework Adjustment 32 to the Northeast Multispecies FMP effective on April 28, 2000.

Date: April 5, 2000

Dear Permit Holder:

This letter announces that regulations implementing Amendment 12 and Framework Adjustment 32 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) will be effective on April 28, 2000.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has approved the measures contained in these actions to manage small mesh multispecies (silver hake (whiting), red hake and offshore hake). In addition to the management measures that the combination of these actions implement, and which are identified below, Amendment 12:





Following are the management measures implemented under Amendment 12 and Framework 32 and effective on April 28, 2000:



1) Open Access Multispecies Permit



To fish for small mesh multispecies, a vessel must be issued an Open Access Multispecies Permit. This permit replaces the previous "Nonregulated Multispecies" permit and will remain as the "Category K" permit.



A vessel currently issued an "Open Access Nonregulated Multispecies Permits" is not required to acquire a new "Open Access Multispecies Permit" this fishing year. If you select Category K on your fishing year 2000 (May 1, 2000 - April 30, 2001) permit renewal form, your permit will automatically be issued as an "Open Access Multispecies" permit.



2) Possession Limits for Whiting and Offshore Hake (other than in the Cultivator Shoal Whiting Fishery Exemption Area)





All vessels issued a valid multispecies permit are subject to the following possession limits based on the mesh size of nets or parts of nets the vessel has on board (either stowed or available for fishing):



A vessel may possess up to 3,500 pounds of silver hake and offshore hake combined if the mesh size of the codend portion of the net (as described in the "Application of Mesh Size" below) is less than 2.5 inches, or if the mesh size of any net or part of a net that is not integrated into a fully constructed net is less than 2.5 inches. *



A vessel may possess up to 7,500 pounds of silver hake and offshore hake combined if the mesh size in the codend portion of the net (as described in the "Application of Mesh Size" below) is 2.5 inches or greater but less than 3 inches, or if the mesh size of any net or part of a net that is not integrated into a fully constructed net is 2.5 inches or greater, but less than 3 inches. *



A vessel may possess up to 30,000 pounds of silver hake and offshore hake combined if the mesh size of the codend portion of the net (as described in the "Application of Mesh Size" below) is 3 inches or greater, or if the mesh size of any net or part of a net that is not integrated into a fully constructed net is 3 inches or greater. *



* "Not integrated into a fully constructed net" means nets or pieces of nets on board the vessel that are not capable of immediately being fished. This restriction does not apply to nets or pieces of nets smaller than 3 ft. by 3 ft (9 feet square).



EXAMPLES



1) A vessel is fishing with a net with a mesh size of 2.5 inches in the codend portion as described in "application of mesh size" below. The portion of the net ahead of the codend portion is a composite net, consisting partly of mesh size less than 2.5 inches. No other nets or parts of nets are on board the vessel. This vessel is subject to a whiting and offshore hake combined possession limit of 7,500 lbs.



2) The same vessel is fishing with the same net as described in example one, but has additional netting below deck. The netting below deck is a large section of mesh less than 2 inches. Because the vessel possesses additional pieces of netting that is less than 2.5 inches, the vessel would be subject to a whiting and offshore hake combined possession limit of 3,500 lbs.



3) Application of Mesh Size



For the purposes of determining the mesh size of a net in the small mesh multispecies fishery, only the following portion of a net (roughly equivalent to the codend portion of the net) is subject to minimum vessel size requirements:



The mesh size of netting outside the above portions of the net may be any size and will not be used to determine the possession limit, provided it is integrated into a fully constructed net.



4) Net Strengthener (outside net) restrictions when fishing for or possessing small-mesh multispecies



A vessel fishing for small-mesh multispecies in the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank, Southern New England, or Mid Atlantic Regulated Mesh Areas with nets of mesh size less than 3 inches, may use a net strengthener as described below. The inside net must not be more than two feet longer than the outside net, must be the same circumference or smaller than the smallest circumference of the outside net, and must be the same mesh configuration (both diamond or both square) as the outside net.





5) Cultivator Shoal Whiting Fishery Exemption Area Provisions



Season: June 15 through September 30 of each year. NOTE: this shortens the previous Cultivator Shoal season by one month - the fishery formerly ended on October 31.



Mesh Size: A vessel enrolled in the fishery is restricted to a minimum mesh size of 3 inches in the codend portion of the net.



Possession Limit: A vessel enrolled in the Cultivator Shoal Whiting Exemption Area fishery is restricted to a possession limit of 30,000 lb (13,608 kg) of whiting and offshore hake combined.



Bycatch allowances are unchanged.



Vessels enrolled in the Cultivator Shoal Whiting Exempted Fishery Area are allowed to fish in other small mesh exemption areas but are subject to the more restrictive mesh and possession limit measures regardless of where they fish. Small mesh nets must be stowed while transiting regulated mesh (large mesh) areas.





6) Possession limit for Participants in the Small-Mesh Northern Shrimp Fishery Exemption Area



A vessel issued a valid multispecies permit participating in the Northern shrimp fishery may possess and land silver hake and offshore hake, combined, up to an amount equal to the weight of shrimp on board, not to exceed 3,500 lbs (1,588 kg).



7) Transfer at Sea Restrictions



A vessel issued a valid multispecies permit and issued a letter of authorization to transfer small-mesh multispecies at sea may transfer up to 500 lbs of whiting and offshore hake, combined. Such vessels are also subject to a combined silver hake and offshore hake possession limit that is 500 lb less than the possession limit the vessel otherwise receives as determined by mesh size, regardless of how much whiting and offshore hake the vessel actually transfers. The transfer at sea letter of authorization will note this deduction.



For example, if a vessel is fishing with a net of mesh size less than 2.5 inches and has been issued a letter of authorization to transfer fish at sea, it will be subject to a possession limit of 3,000 lbs (that is, the 3,500 lbs possession limit minus 500 lbs = 3,000 lbs).



8) Default Measures Beginning May 1, 2002.



Beginning May 1, 2002, the following management measures will become effective unless other measures replace them through the framework process:



This letter is only a summary of the approved regulations. To read these regulations in their entirety, you are encouraged to obtain a complete copy of the regulations by calling 978-281-9278, or via our website, at: http://www.wh.who.edu/ro/doc/nero.html

This notice is authorized by the Regional Administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service



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