NMFS News Release

Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930


The information in this letter applies to all vessels with a Federal fishery permit

Date: May 1, 2000

Dear Permit Holder:

The recent implementation of new Federal fishery regulations (i.e., monkfish and spiny dogfish) has resulted in confusion regarding the impact that the Northeast multispecies regulations, or other regulations, have on fishing activities conducted in both Federal and state waters.

A bycatch control measure implemented under the Federal Northeast multispecies regulations restricts all fishing in the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank and Southern New England Regulated Mesh Areas unless a vessel is: 1) fishing with exempted gear; 2) fishing in an exempted fishery; or 3) fishing under a multispecies or scallop days at sea (DAS). This regulation is intended to reduce the bycatch of regulated multispecies in fisheries targeting other species. In Federal waters, this restriction applies to all fishing, even if the vessel is not issued a Federal multispecies permit. Further, if the vessel is issued a Federal multispecies permit, this restriction applies in state waters as well, unless a state's regulations are MORE restrictive.

If a vessel has no Federal multispecies permit and fishes exclusively in state waters, the Federal multispecies regulations, including this bycatch control measure, do not apply.

*** EXAMPLE: I have included an example below to demonstrate how the restriction described above would impact spiny dogfish fisheries. Remember that the restrictions apply to any fishery, not only the example used below to demonstrate the effects of the restrictions.

For a summary and details of the exempted gears and exempted fisheries visit our website at: http://www.wh.whoi.edu/ro/doc/nero.html, or call the Northeast Regional Office at 978-281-9278. This letter is only a summary of the regulations and restrictions for the region's fisheries. Additional restrictions apply to the species and fisheries listed above based on other Federal fishery restrictions. You may call the Regional Office to obtain a copy of the regulations for details on the rules.

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

*** EXAMPLE ***


Vessels issued a Federal spiny dogfish permit and no other permits may fish in Federal waters for spiny dogfish in only an exempted spiny dogfish fishery. There are currently 5: Gulf of Maine Spiny Dogfish Gillnet fishery, restricted by area, season and gear; Nantucket Shoal Dogfish fishery, restricted by area, season and gear; Southern New England trawl gear exemption; the Southern New England Spiny Dogfish Gillnet Exemption, restricted by area, season and gear; and any fishery in the Mid-Atlantic Regulated Mesh Area.

Vessels issued a Federal multispecies permit that do not have a Federal spiny dogfish permit may only fish for spiny dogfish in state waters under one of the following three conditions: 1) with exempted gear; 2) in an exempted spiny dogfish fishery; or 3) under a multispecies or scallop DAS. The vessel would not be subject to the Federal spiny dogfish possession limits, but must still report its activity, catch, discards and landings through the vessel trip reports required by the Northeast multispecies regulations.

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