NMFS News Release





Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930




When A Vessel May Start & End A Closed Area Trip While Participating In The Sea Scallop Exemption Program

Date: September 8, 2000

Dear Limited Access Scallop Permit Holder:

This letter is to clarify when a vessel may start and end a closed area trip while participating in the Sea Scallop Exemption Program (Exemption Program) during the transition period between the close of the Nantucket Lightship Exemption Area and the opening of the Closed Area I Exemption Area.

Vessels Ending a Nantucket Lightship Closed Area Trip

A vessel must end its Nantucket Lightship Exemption Area trip and return to port by midnight (2400 hours), September 30, 2000. Returning to port means the first point when a vessel ties up at the dock or mooring in a port at the end of a fishing trip.

Vessels Beginning a Closed Area I Trip

A vessel planning to fish in the Exemption Program must submit a report through the VMS e-mail messaging system (NEC.Observers@noaa.gov) of its intention to fish in the Closed Area I Exemption Area, along with the following information: Vessel name and permit number, owner and operator's name, owner and operator's phone numbers, and number of trips anticipated. The vessel owner or operator must submit this report no later than 15 days prior to the opening of Closed Area I, October 1, 2000, i.e., by September 15, 2000.

In addition to the above advance notice for accessing the closed area, a vessel must also submit a report through the VMS e-mail messaging system (NEC.Observers@noaa.gov) of its intention to fish at least 5 working days prior to the date it intends to depart on each trip into the Closed Area I Exemption Area. For each of these reports vessels must submit the following information: Vessel name and permit number, owner and operator's name, owner and operator's phone numbers and date and time of departure. Within 3 days of a vessel's notification, NMFS will notify a vessel if it has been selected to carry an observer.

A vessel that has properly declared into the Closed Area I Exemption Area as described above, may leave port no earlier than 0001 hours, October 1, 2000.

If you have any questions, please call the Fisheries Information Line at (978) 281-9278.

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



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