NMFS News Release

Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930

Additional Monkfish Management Measures Effective May 1, 2000

Date: April 18, 2000

Dear Monkfish Permit Holder:

This letter is to inform you of additional monkfish management measures that will become effective starting on May 1, 2000. These measures were stated in an October 6, 1999, permit holder letter mailed to you and are restated here.

The regulations implementing the Monkfish Fishery Management Plan, published on October 7, 1999, contain a provision that reduces the trip limits and increases the minimum monkfish size limit beginning in fishing year 2000 in the Southern Fishery Management Area (SFMA) if the 1999 monkfish total allowable catch (TAC) for the SFMA is exceeded. Because landings data show that the SFMA TAC has been exceeded, the following monkfish management measures automatically become effective on May 1, 2000:

Monkfish Possession and Landing Restrictions

When fishing under a monkfish DAS in the SFMA with trawl gear only:

When fishing under a monkfish DAS in the SFMA with non-trawl gear (except dredge gear, which is prohibited when fishing under a monkfish DAS):

* Conversion Factor - When both tails and whole fish are possessed or landed, the possession or landing limit for monkfish tails shall be the difference between the whole weight limit minus the landing of whole monkfish, divided by 3.32. For example, a 996 lb whole weight trip limit and a 600 lb landing of whole fish shall allow for a maximum landing of tails of 101.2 lb tail weight (996- 6003.32 =101.2).

Minimum Fish Sizes

When fishing in the SFMA:

Please note: All other monkfish possession, landing, and minimum fish size restrictions that were effective November 8, 1999, are still in effect unless otherwise specified above.

In addition to the measures described above, the following monkfish management measures are also scheduled to become effective on May 1, 2000.

Area Declaration

A vessel intending to fish for or catch monkfish under a monkfish DAS in the NFMA only is exempt from the more restrictive requirements of the SFMA if the vessel owner receives, and has on board the vessel, a NMFS-issued exemption certificate. this certificate may be obtained by calling (978) 281-9370. Please note, that this Exemption Certificate replaces the call-in requirement previously outlined in the October 6, 1999, permit holder letter.

The vessel must declare into the NFMA for a period not less than 30 days. A vessel that has not declared into the NFMA will be presumed to have fished in the SFMA and will be subject to the more restrictive requirements of that area, regardless of where the fish are caught or landed. Such restrictions will apply to the entire trip. A vessel that has declared its intent to fish in the NFMA may transit the SFMA, provided the vessel does not harvest or possess monkfish, or any other fish, from the SFMA and the vessel's fishing gear is properly stowed and not available for immediate use in accordance with the regulations.

Gillnet Tagging Requirements

All gillnets fished, hauled, possessed, or deployed by a vessel fishing for monkfish under a monkfish DAS must have one monkfish tag per net, with one tag secured to every other bridle of every net within a string of nets. Tags must be obtained by May 1, 2000 if a vessel intends to fish with gillnet gear on or after this date under a monkfish DAS. NMFS provided a gillnet tag application along with instructions to all limited access monkfish vessels as part of the fishing year 2000 permit renewal package. If you did not receive a renewal package or did not complete the gillnet tag portion of the application package please contact the permit office at (978) 281-9370 to receive an application.

This letter is only a summary of parts of the 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 by accessing the Northeast Regional Office's website at: http://www.wh.whoi.edu/ro/doc/nero.html

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

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