NMFS News Release

Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930

Multispecies - Framework 19

Dear Permit Holder:

Framework Adjustment 19 to the Multispecies Fishery Management Plan has been approved. This framework substitutes a new time and area closure for the existing multispecies Mid-coast Closure Area (implemented under Amendment 7) that was scheduled to take effect on November 1, 1996. This action opens the multispecies Mid-coast Closure Area during November and December and closes a new area referred to as the "Jeffreys Ledge Closure Area" from May 1 through May 31, 1997. This new area will be closed to all gear that is capable of catching multispecies (see below for a list of exceptions to this closure). The area is:

Jeffreys Ledge Closure Area

JL8 4330' Maine Shoreline
JL9 4330' 7000'
JL10 4230' 7000'
JL11 4230' 7030'
JL12 Maine Shoreline 7030'

Framework 19 also extends the season for Small Mesh Area 1 from October 31 to the original closure date of November 15.

This framework also authorizes sink gillnet vessels to fish in the harbor porpoise Mid-coast Closure Area during November 1 through December 31, provided acoustic devices (or pingers) are deployed on the nets according to the following specifications: Pingers must be attached at the end of each string of nets and at the bridle of every net within a string of nets, and be maintained as operational and functioning; each pinger, when immersed in water, must broadcast a 10kHz ( 2kHz) sound at 132 dB ( 4dB) re 1 micropascal at 1 meter - this sound must last 300 milliseconds and repeat every 4 seconds.

In 1998, the Jeffrey Ledge Closure Area, established for the 1997 fishing year, will be replaced with the original multispecies Mid-coast Closure Area but with a change in time period to May 10 through May 30.

For more information, please call (508)281-9278.

Exceptions to Jeffrey Ledge Closure Area: Vessels not issued a Federal multispecies permit and that are fishing in state waters; vessels fishing with exempted gear, excluding mid-water trawls, i.e., pelagic hook and line or longline, spears, rakes, diving gear, cast nets, tongs, harpoons, weirs, dipnets, stop or pound nets, pelagic gillnets, pots and traps, purse seines, and shrimp trawls (with a properly configured grate), provided there is no other gear on board; and charter/party or recreational vessels.

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