NMFS News Release





Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930




Multispecies Framework 20

Date: March 28, 1997

Dear Permit Holder:

This letter is to inform you that new regulations implementing Framework Adjustment 20 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) will go into effect on May 1, 1997. These regulations are being implemented to achieve the conservation goals established by Amendment 7 to the FMP, particularly for Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod, and to modify and add several exempted fisheries in the GOM/Georges Bank (GB) and Southern New England (SNE) Regulated Mesh Areas.

GOM COD LANDING LIMIT:

To address further reductions needed for GOM cod, this rule implements a 1997 fishing year landing limit restriction for vessels fishing under a multispecies day-at-sea (DAS) north of 4200' N. latitude. This landing limit restricts vessels to up to 1,000 pounds of cod per day, or any part of a day, for each of the first 4 days of a trip, and up to 1,500 pounds of cod per day, or any part of a day, for each day of a trip beginning with the fifth day. For the purposes of the cod landing limit, vessels that utilize "part of a day" to justify an additional 1,000 pounds of codfish may not count that same day towards another multispecies DAS trip. Vessel operators that exceed the landing limit of cod may retain the excess fish but may not call-out of the multispecies DAS program until total DAS per trip corresponds to the total allowable weight of cod harvested. In addition, vessels that exceed the cod landing limit must report their hailed weight of cod on board under a separate call-in system (508-281-9278), upon entering port and prior to offloading. Vessels that do not exceed their landing limit of cod but wish to offload their cod catch and not call-out of the multispecies DAS program may do so if they report their hailed weight of cod using the separate call-in system upon entering port (see the attached Multispecies Framework 20 - Questions and Answers).

Vessels may receive an exemption from the cod landing limit provided they do not fish for or harvest fish while under a multispecies DAS south of 4200' N. latitude for a least a 30 consecutive day period. In addition, the vessel must obtain and keep a NMFS-issued exemption certificate on board the vessel. When fishing under this exemption program, vessels are allowed to transit with and land unlimited amounts of cod in the area north of 4200' N. latitude, provided gear is stowed properly according to the regulations and, provided that all fish on board or landed was harvested south of 4200' N. latitude.

HADDOCK LANDING LIMIT:

For the 1997 fishing year only, the haddock possession limit is 1,000 pounds per trip for the period May 1 through August 31. Beginning September 1, 1997, haddock becomes a landing limit and increases to 1,000 pounds per day, to a maximum of 10,000 pounds per trip. As a means to ensure that landings are kept well below the 1,608 metric ton (MT) target total allowable catch level, the limit will revert a 1,000 pound per trip limit when 1,150 MT is projected to be reached.

GILLNET EFFORT REDUCTION MEASURES:

This action implements additional restrictions designed to achieve an effort reduction for gillnet vessels equivalent to the other vessel sectors. Vessels fishing with multispecies gillnet gear (with the exception of vessels fishing under the Small Vessel permit category) must select either the Day or Trip gillnet category designation. When fishing under a multispecies DAS, vessels fishing under a Trip gillnet category designation are required to remove all gillnet gear from the water before calling-out of the multispecies DAS program. Vessels fishing under the Day gillnet category are subject to: net limitations of no more than 80 roundfish gillnets or 160 flatfish gillnets; a net tagging requirement (tags must be purchased through the NMFS Regional Office); a requirement to take a total of 120 days out of the multispecies gillnet fishery; and a method of counting DAS when fishing with multispecies gillnet gear under the multispecies DAS program, whereby a trip accrue's 15 hours for each trip greater than 3 hours but less than or equal to 15 hours. (See the attached: Multispecies Framework 20 - Questions & Answers, and letter specific to gillnet vessels for additional details).

EXEMPTION PROGRAMS:

This rule also implements the following modifications and additions to the current exemption programs:

1. Modifies the current SNE monkfish trawl exempted fishery south of 4010' N. latitude by allowing retention of unlimited amounts of skate.

2. Modifies the Small Mesh Northern Shrimp Fishery Exemption by prohibiting the possession of monkfish and by increasing the allowable limit of silver hake (whiting) from two totes to an amount equal to the weight of shrimp on board.

3. Adds a year-round exempted dredge fishery for mussels and sea urchins in the existing Nantucket Shoals dogfish fishery exemption area and in the SNE Regulated Mesh Area, provided the vessel does not fish with dredge gear greater than 8 feet in width and does not fish for, harvest, possess, or land any species of fish other than mussels and sea urchins.

4. Adds an exempted fishery for vessels fishing for monkfish and dogfish with gillnet gear in a portion of the GOM/GB Regulated Mesh Area. When fishing for monkfish under this exemption, vessels are subject to a minimum mesh size of 10-inch diamond mesh throughout the net, and a fishing season of July 1 through September 14. When fishing for dogfish under this exemption, vessels are subject to a minimum mesh size of 6.5-inch diamond mesh throughout the net, and a fishing season of July 1 through August 31. When fishing for monkfish or dogfish under either one of these exemptions, the vessel may not fish for, possess on board, or land any other species of fish other than lobsters in an amount not to exceed 10 percent by weight of the total catch on board, or 200 lobsters (whichever is less). The GOM/GB Dogfish and Monkfish Gillnet Fishery Exemption Area is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

North Latitude West Longitude
4135' 7000'
4249.5' 7000'
4249.5' 6940'
4312' 6900'
(1) 6900'
(1) due north to Maine shoreline

5. Adds a year-round exempted fishery for vessels fishing for monkfish and skate with gillnet gear in a portion of the SNE Regulated Mesh Area. Vessels fishing for monkfish and skate under this exemption are subject to a minimum mesh size of 10-inch diamond mesh throughout the net and may not fish for, harvest, possess, or land any species of fish other than monkfish, skates, and the current small mesh exempted and bycatch species listed in the regulations*. The SNE Monkfish and Skate Gillnet Fishery Exemption Area is defined by a line running from the Massachusetts shoreline at 4135' N. latitude and 7000' W. longitude south to its intersection with the outer boundary of the EEZ, southwesterly along the outer boundary of the EEZ, and bounded on the west by the eastern boundary of the Mid-Atlantic Regulated Mesh Area.

6. Adds an exempted fishery for vessels fishing for dogfish with gillnet gear in a portion of the SNE Regulated Mesh Area. Vessels fishing for dogfish under this exemption, are subject to a minimum mesh size of 6.0-inch diamond mesh throughout the net, a fishing season of May 1 through October 31, and may not fish for, harvest, possess, or land any species of fish other than dogfish, and the current small mesh exempted and bycatch species listed in the regulations*. The SNE Dogfish Gillnet Fishery Exemption Area is the same area as that of the SNE Monkfish and Skate Gillnet Fishery Exemption Area defined above.

*butterfish, dogfish (trawl only), herring, mackerel, ocean pout, scup, shrimp, squid, summer flounder, silver hake, weakfish, Conger eels; searobins; black sea bass; red hake; tautog (blackfish); blowfish; cunner; John Dory; mullet; bluefish; tilefish; longhorn sculpin; fourspot flounder; alewife; hickory shad; American shad; blueback herring; sea ravens; Atlantic croaker; spot; swordfish; monkfish and monkfish parts--up to 10 percent, by weight, of all other species on board; American lobster--up to 10 percent, by weight, of all other species on board or 200 lobsters, whichever is less; and skate and skate parts--up to 10 percent, by weight, of all other species on board.

For additional details of the cod and haddock landing limit and the gillnet restrictions imposed by this framework, please read the questions and answers attached to this permit holder letter or call 508-281-9278. Since this letter contains only a summary of the measures and has no legal effect, you are encouraged to obtain further information or a copy of the regulations by calling the Northeast Fisheries Information Line at 508-281-9278 or by accessing the Federal Register's Web Site at: www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html


MULTISPECIES FRAMEWORK 20

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

GILLNET MEASURES

Q: If I am a gillnet fisher, do I have to select a gillnet category designation?

A: All vessels that possess a limited access multispecies permit and that fish under the multispecies DAS program with gillnet gear, with the exception of vessels in the Small Vessel permit category (30 feet and less), must select either a Day or Trip gillnet category designation. Vessels electing to fish under a gillnet category designation must have on board written confirmation issued by the Regional Administrator, indicating the vessel's category.

Q: What is the difference between a Day gillnet vessel and a Trip gillnet vessel?

A: Day gillnet vessels fishing with gillnet gear under a multispecies DAS may leave gillnet gear in the water between multispecies DAS trips but are subject to: a net limitation of 80 roundfish nets or 160 flatfish nets; a net tagging requirement; a method of counting DAS, whereby gillnet trips greater than 3 hours but less than or equal to 15 hours, are counted as a 15-hour trip; and a requirement that vessels declare and take a total of 120 days out of the multispecies gillnet fishery in a minimum of 7-day blocks of time and that 21 days of this time be taken between June 1 and September 30 of each fishing year. Trip gillnet vessels fishing with gillnet gear under a multispecies DAS are required to remove all gillnet gear from the water before calling-out of the multispecies DAS program and are not subject to the other measures applicable to Day gillnet vessels.

Q: Can I switch between these two gillnet category designations during the fishing year?

A: No.

Q: In the summer I fish as a Trip gillnet vessel and in the winter I fish as a Day gillnet vessel. Since I cannot switch between these two categories during the fishing year, what do I do?

A: If your tagged gillnet gear remains in the water between multispecies DAS trips at any time during the fishing year, you must select the Day gillnet category.

Q: How do I select a Day or Trip gillnet category designation?

A: Enclosed in this package is a separate letter specific to gillnet vessels that includes a gillnet category designation and tag program application form with instructions. To select a Day or Trip gillnet category, you must complete the form, sign it, and submit it to NMFS.

Q: Do I have to select a gillnet designation before the start of the fishing year?

A: Yes, you must select a gillnet category designation before May 1, 1997.

The following table outlines the requirements for Trip and Day gillnet category vessels when fishing under a multispecies DAS with gillnet gear:

GILLNET CATEGORY DESIGNATIONS
Trip Gillnet Vessel
Day Gillnet Vessel
Gillnet gear must be removed from water before calling out of a DAS Gillnet gear may continue to fish between DAS trips
-
Vessels may not fish more than 80 roundfish nets or 160 flatfish nets
-
All gillnet gear must be tagged
-
A total of 120 days must be taken out of the multispecies gillnet fishery in minimum blocks of 7 days, and 21 days must be taken between June 1-September 30 of each fishing year
-
A trips greater than 3 hours but less than 15 hours is counted as a 15-hour trip
-
Gillnet gear must be removed from water prior to fishing in an exempted fishery

Day gillnet category measures

Q: As a Day gillnet vessel, does the 20-day spawning block required during March through May each calender year count towards the 120 days out of the multispecies gillnet fishery?

A: Yes.

Q: How do I declare these 120 days out?

A: By calling the DAS call-in number, 1-800-260-8204 or 508-281-9335, and reporting how many days the vessel will not be fishing in the multispecies gillnet fishery. Vessels must declare and take a minimum of 7 consecutive days out of the gillnet fishery each time that they declare out.

Q: As part of the 120 day declaration out of the gillnet fishery, I am required to take 21 days out between June 1 and September 30 of each fishing year. Do I have to declare and take all 21 days out at the same time?

A: No, but you must take a minimum of 7 days out of the fishery each time.

Q: Do I have to tie up to the dock when declared-out of the gillnet fishery?

A: No. When declared out of the gillnet fishery, you may fish for regulated species under a multispecies DAS provided that gear other than gillnet gear is used, or you may fish in one of the exempted fisheries allowed.

Q: Do I have to remove my gillnet gear from the water before I call-out and end a multispecies DAS?

A: As a Day gillnet vessel, you may leave your gillnet gear in the water between multispecies DAS trips. However, prior to fishing in an exempted fishery or under a DAS with gear other than gillnets, you must remove all gillnet gear from the water before calling-out of the multispecies DAS program.

Q: How are gillnet DAS counted for Day gillnet vessels?

A: Each trip that is greater than or equal to 3 hours but less than or equal to 15 hours counts as a minimum of 15 hours. Time less than 3 hours or greater than 15 hours is counted as actual time.

Q: When do the gillnet tagging requirements start?

A: On June 1, 1997.

Q: How many tags can I obtain and how do I purchase tags?

A: Vessels are allowed up to 160 tags and must purchase them through the NMFS Regional Office. A separate letter specific to gillnet vessels that includes a gillnet category designation and tag program application form with instructions is enclosed with this package. For an additional copy of this package of gillnet information, please call #508-218-9278.

Q: How do I tag my nets?

A: Roundfish gillnets must have two tags per net, with one tag secured to each bridle of every net within a string of nets. Flatfish gillnets must have one tag per net, with one tag secured to every other bridle of every net within a string of nets. Nets may not exceed 300 feet (50 fathoms) in length.

Q: What is the difference between a roundfish net and a flatfish net?

A: A flatfish gillnet is a gillnet that is either constructed with no floats on the float line, or a net that is constructed with floats on the float line and that has tie-down twine between the float line and the lead line not more than 48 inches in length and spaced not more than 15 feet apart. A roundfish gillnet is a gillnet that is constructed with floats on the float line and that has no tie-down twine between the float line and the lead line.

Q: Can I fish with both roundfish and flatfish tagged nets at the same time?

A: Yes.

Q: Can I fish for species other than multispecies when I am fishing with gillnet gear under a multispecies DAS?

A: Yes you may; however, all gillnet gear must be tagged when fishing under a multispecies DAS.

Q: If I just want to set my tagged nets do I have to call-in a multispecies DAS before I leave the dock?

A: Yes. Anytime you set gillnet gear with the intent of fishing for regulated multispecies, or with the intent of fishing in a non-exempted fishery, you must call-in a multispecies DAS and have all of your nets tagged before you leave the dock.

Q: What do I do if I lose some of my tags?

A: Vessel owners or operators are required to report lost, destroyed, or missing tags as soon as possible by letter or fax (508-281-9135) to the Regional Administrator. The vessel operator is accountable for all tags and must produce for inspection all issued tags (or a confirmation letter issued by the Regional Administrator indicating missing tag numbers) upon request by an authorized officer.

Q: Can I replace my missing tags?

A: Yes. You may request replacement tags by letter or fax (508-281-9135) to the Regional Administrator, provided that you also submit a check for the cost of the replacement tags. For both missing and replacement tag order forms, you may use the missing tag/replacement report form included in this package. You cannot fish with a net which has lost a tag until a replacement tag has been secured to the net.

Trip gillnet category measures

Q: As a Trip gillnet vessel fishing with gillnet gear under a multispecies DAS, do I have to retrieve all gillnet gear before calling-out of the multispecies DAS fishery?

A: Yes.

Q: How are DAS counted for Trip gillnet vessels?

A: DAS are counted as actual time.

Q: Am I subject to any other restrictions?

A: Aside from retrieving all gillnet gear prior to calling-out of the multispecies DAS program, you must have on board written confirmation issued by the Regional Administrator indicating that the vessel is a Trip gillnet vessel, and, of course, you must abide by all other applicable multispecies regulations.

COD TRIP LIMIT

Q: What is the cod trip limit?

A: The cod trip limit, which applies to vessels fishing north of 4200' N. latitude (but not to vessels fishing south of 4200' N. latitude provided they have been issued a cod trip limit exemption), allows vessels to land up to 1,000 pounds of cod per day (or any part of a day) for each of the first four days of a trip, and up to 1,500 pounds per day (or any part of a day) for each day in excess of 4 consecutive days.

Q: What does "part of a day" mean?

A: Part of a day is considered to be any time within the first 24-hour period of a fishing trip, and for trips in excess of 24-hours, any time within each subsequent 24-hour period following the first complete 24-hour period after the vessel called-in to the multispecies DAS program.

Q: If I am away from the dock for 50 hours (2 full days and 2 hours), how much cod am I allowed to land before calling-out of the DAS program?

A: You are allowed 3,000 pounds; 1,000 pounds for each full day and 1,000 pounds for the last 2 hours (since 2 hours constitutes part of a day).

Q: After landing 3,000 pounds of cod on this 50 hour trip and calling-out of the multispecies DAS program, can I go right back out under a multispecies DAS trip?

A: Yes, you may immediately start a new DAS trip; however, since you used "part of a day" to justify an additional 1,000 pounds of cod for your last trip, you cannot call-out of the DAS program on this new trip with additional cod on board until at least 72 hours (3 days) have transpired from the start of your last trip, i.e., 22 hours after the end of your last trip.

Q: Under this example, if I do start a new DAS trip immediately, can I continue to harvest cod?

A: Yes. However, since part of a day was utilized to justify an additional 1,000 pounds of cod on your last trip, you may not count that same day in justifying your cod harvest on this second trip. For example: a vessel call's-in to the multispecies DAS program at 2:00 AM on Monday and offloads 2,000 pounds on Tuesday at 3:00 AM and calls-out of the DAS program. The vessel then calls-in a multispecies DAS trip at 5:00 AM on this same Tuesday and harvests 3,000 pounds of cod on this second trip. In this example, the vessel may not call-out of the DAS program until Friday at 2:01 AM (2 days plus 1 minute since 2:00 AM on Wednesday).

Q: Do I have to offload my fish when I enter port?

A: No. However, if upon entering port you offload codfish and return fishing, all while under the same multispecies DAS trip, you must report the hail weight of cod on board and the amount of cod to be offloaded to the Regional Administrator by calling 508-281-9278.

The following table offers examples of cod landing allowances when fishing under a multispecies DAS north of 4200' N. latitude and explains the requirements of the vessel:

COD LANDING ALLOWANCES
DAS

EQUALS
HAIL

WEIGHT

LBS
OVER
LIMIT
OFFLOADS
REPORT HAIL
WEIGHT

508-281-9278

CALL-OUT
OF DAS
COMMENT
48 HRS

(2 DAYS)
2,000
No
Yes
No
Yes
-
50 HRS

(2 DAYS,
2 HRS)
3,000
No
Yes
No
Yes
May not land next DAS trip until 72 hrs + 1 min has passed (from beginning of this trip)
50 HRS

(2 DAYS,
2 HRS)
3,000
No
No
Yes
No
Must report hail weight if not offloading
96 HRS +
1 minute

(4 DAYS,
1 MIN)
5,500
No
Yes
No
Yes
May not land next DAS trip until 120 hrs + 1 min has passed

Q: If under a 50 hour trip I catch 3500 pounds of cod, do I have to discard 500 pounds?

A: No. You may retain cod in excess of the cod landing limit but you cannot call-out of the DAS program until your total DAS correspond to the total allowable weight of cod off-loaded per trip and, upon entering port, you report your hail weight of cod to the Regional Administrator by calling 508-281-9278.

Q: Is there a tolerance for the difference between my reported hail weight and my actual weight reported on the dealer's weighout slip?

A: No. You are responsible for ensuring that your hail weight of cod is accurate.

Q: So if I possess 3500 pounds of cod, when do I call-out of the DAS program?

A: Not until at least 72 hours and 1 minute (3 days and 1 minute) has passed since the vessel called-in to the DAS program.

The following table offers examples of cod landing overages when fishing under a multispecies DAS north of 4200' N. latitude and explains the requirements of the vessel:

COD LANDING OVERAGES
DAS
EQUALS
HAIL

WEIGHT

LBS
OVER

LIMIT
OFFLOADS
REPORT HAIL

WEIGHT

508-281-9278
CALL-OUT

OF DAS
COMMENT
48 HRS

(2 DAYS)
4,000
Yes
No
Yes
No
May not call-out of DAS program until 72 hrs + 1 min has passed
96 HRS

(4 DAYS)

6,000
Yes
No
Yes
No
May not call-out of DAS program until 120 hrs + 1 min has passed
100 HRS

(4 DAYS,

4 HRS)
5,600
Yes
No
Yes
No
May not call-out of DAS program until 120 hrs + 1 min has passed
120 HRS

(5 DAYS)
8,500
Yes
No
Yes
No
May not call-out of DAS program until 144 hrs + 1 min has passed

Q: Do I have to tie-up to the dock until my DAS justify my cod landings?

A: No, you may continue to fish until you call-out of the DAS program.

Q: As a Day gillnet vessel fishing with gillnet gear under a multispecies DAS, does the cod trip limit of 1,000 pounds per day pertain to 15 hours or 24 hours?

A: 24 hours.

Q: Since, as a Day gillnet vessel I must tag my gillnet gear when fishing under a multispecies DAS, does the cod trip limit apply to me?

A: Yes.

Q: When fishing north of 4200' N. latitude, do I have to separate my cod fish from my other fish?

A: Yes. Cod on board a vessel subject to this landing limit must be separated from other species of fish and stored so as to be readily available for inspection.

Q: If I fish my entire multispecies DAS trip south of 4200' N. latitude, am I exempt from the cod limit?

A: Yes. However, the vessel may not fish for or harvest fish while under a multispecies DAS south of 4200' N. latitude for at least a 30-day consecutive period when fishing under this exemption, and must have on board a cod trip limit exemption issued by the Regional Administrator.

Q: I generally fish both north and south of 4200' N. latitude during the same trip, can I continue to do this?

A: Not if you are fishing under the cod trip limit exemption while fishing under a multispecies DAS trip. If you are not fishing under the cod trip limit exemption, you may fish in both areas if you comply with the cod trip limit.

Q: If I get a cod trip limit exemption to fish in the cod exemption area south of 4200' N. latitude for the minimum 30 day required period of time, can I fish in an exempted fishery outside the DAS program north of the 4200' line during this time?

A: Yes.

Q: How do I receive an exemption certificate?

A: By calling 508-281-9278 or by writing to the National Marine Fisheries Service, 1 Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930-2298.

Q: If my homeport is north of 4200' N. latitude and I want to fish in the exemption area for cod south of 4200', may I freely transit the area north of 4200' and land unlimited amounts of cod?

A: Yes, if you hold a valid exemption certificate and stow your gear according to the regulations, provided none of the fish on board the vessel has been caught north of 4200' N. latitude.

HADDOCK TRIP LIMIT

Q: When the haddock trip limit increases to 1,000 pounds per day or "part of a day" (up to a maximum trip limit of 10,000 pounds per trip) on September 1, 1997, do the same rules apply as that of the cod trip limit?

A: Not all the rules. Similar to the cod landing limit, vessels may utilize a part of a day for an additional 1,000 pounds of haddock. However, unlike cod, vessels may not retain or land haddock in excess of the haddock landing limit.

Q: Does the haddock trip limit of 1,000 pounds per day apply to all vessels or just to vessels fishing north of 4200' N. latitude?

A: With the exception of Small Vessel category vessels, the haddock trip limit applies to all Federal limited access multispecies permitted vessel, regardless of area fished.

Q: What happens when 1,150 metric tons (MT) of the 1,608 MT target TAC for haddock is caught?

A: Once the Regional Administrator projects that 1,150 MT will be harvested, NMFS will publish a notice in the Federal Register specifying the date on which the landing limit will revert to a 1,000 pound possession limit per trip.

Q: If my fishing trip starts on or before August 31 and ends on or after September 1, how much haddock am I allowed to land?

A: You are allowed 1,000 pounds for the portion of the trip prior to September 1, and 1,000 pounds for each day in September, up to a maximum of 10,000 pounds per trip.



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