NMFS News Release





Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930




Continuation of Sink Gillnet Experiment

Date: September 4, 1997

Dear Gillnet Vessel Owner/Operator:

This is to inform you that the National Marine Fisheries Service has approved a continuation of the 1996 experimental fishery allowing the use of gillnets equipped with pingers (acoustic deterrent devices) during the September 15 through October 31 period in the Mid-coast Closure Area. Framework Adjustment 19 to the Multispecies FMP allows fishing in the Mid-coast Closure Area with sink gillnets equipped with pingers during the November 1 through December 31 period of each fishing year. However, sink gillnet gear can only be deployed in the Mid-coast Closure Area during the September 15 through October 31 period by vessels authorized to participate in the experimental fishery.

Mid-coast Closure Area

Point Latitude Longitude
MC1 4230'N Massachusetts shoreline
MC2 4230'N 7015'W
MC3 4240'N 7015'W
MC4 4240'N 7000'W
MC5 4300'N 7000'W
MC6 4300'N 6930'W
MC7 4315'N 6930'W
MC8 4315'N 6900'W
MC9 Maine shoreline 6900'W

Vessels participating in the experimental fishery will be permitted to fish in the closure area provided they use NMFS-approved pingers, take observers when requested, obtain an authorization that must be carried aboard the vessel, and comply with the terms and conditions specified in the enclosed application. For further information, please call (508) 281-9138 or (508) 281-9328.


EXPERIMENTAL FISHERY FOR SINK GILLNET VESSELS

An experimental fishery for sink gillnet vessels will be permitted in the Gulf of Maine Mid-coast Closure Area during the period indicated below. To participate in this fishery, vessels must comply with the conditions and requirements of the experimental fishery (See reverse) and provide the following information:

Vessel Name/Permit Number:

Pinger Make & Model:

Name (printed):

Address:

Signature and Date:

Telephone Number:

Closure Area and Period: Mid-coast Closure Area (September 15 through October 31, 1997)

Send your signed written request with the above information to: (You may use this sheet if you wish.)

Permit Office
National Marine Fisheries Service
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930-2298
Attn.: Esther Young

Once your signed written request, with the information above, is received and approved, a letter of authorization to participate in the experimental fishery will be mailed to you. Please note that the Regional Administrator may cancel the experimental fishery at any time and/or may revoke an individual vessel's authorization to participate if the requirements and conditions of this experimental fishery are violated.

For further information about this experimental fishery, please call (508) 281-9138 or (508) 281-9328.


Vessels may apply for an experimental fishery permit that authorizes vessel participation in the experimental fishery in the Mid-coast Closure Area as described in the permit holder letter, and as indicated by you on the reverse page, or otherwise in writing, during the period indicated under the conditions specified below:

Requirements and Conditions of this Program:

1. Vessels enrolled in this experimental fishery must use an acoustic deterrent device (pinger) that meets the acoustical standards that were used in the 1994 Fall pinger experiment with reference to sound characteristics. That is, when immersed in water, the pinger must broadcast a 10 (plus / minus) 2 kHz sound at 132 (plus / minus) 4 dB re 1 micropascal at 1 meter. This sound must last 300 milliseconds and repeat every 4 seconds.

2. The pingers must be deployed such that a working pinger is located at the end of each string of nets and at the bridle of every net within a string of nets.

3. Pingers must be maintained to assure that they remain operational and functioning during the course of the experimental fishery.

4. Participation period is from September 15 through October 31, 1997.

5. The experimental fishery permit is valid only with a Federal Northeast Multispecies Permit and a valid Marine Mammal Authorization. Those documents and the experimental fishery permit must be carried aboard the vessel.

6. A NMFS-approved observer must be taken when requested.

7. Authorized officers must be allowed to board the vessel at sea or at dockside for the purpose of checking placement of or testing pingers. Vessels must haul nets if requested.

8. Participants must complete the Fishing Vessel Trip Reports and Marine Mammal Mortality/Injury Reporting Form(s) and submit them as specified on the Experimental Fishing Permit.

9. Failure to comply with any or all of the above provisions, or the provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act or the Marine Mammal Protection Act, automatically voids this experimental fishery permit and subjects the violator to fines and/or penalties.

10. The Regional Administrator may, at his discretion, change the conditions stipulated for participation in this experimental fishery, or cancel the experimental fishery at any time.



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