New England Fishery Management Council Voluntary Gear Conflict Agreement


New England Fishery Management Council

5 Broadway, Saugus, Massachusetts 01906-1036

TEL (617) 231-0422 FAX (617) 565-8937

Chairman Joseph M. Brancaleone

Executive Director Paul J. Howard

August 25, 1997

Dear Fisherman:

The New England Fishery Management Council is asking you to support and abide by a voluntary agreement hammered out by fishermen this summer to limit gear conflicts north of Georges Bank and along the Hague Line. There are no legal penalties for fishing in the gear conflict closed areas, but if the agreement works you will be able to fish in these areas during the most productive seasons without causing or being subject to gear conflict problems. This agreement applies to all vessels using mobile gear or lobster traps.

The attached chart and tables describe the areas where the industry has agreed not to use lobster traps or trawls to minimize gear conflict. A chart and tables with the loran readings and latitude/longitude are attached. The labels on the chart (A-I) correspond with the area designation (A-I) in Table 1.

If you are interested in plotting these coordinates with your plotter, please contact the Council office for a computer disk of the coordinates. The Council can translate the data into files that are compatible with the following plotters: MapTech, P-Sea Plot, Raytheon, Garmin (*.wpt, *.trk), and Eagle/Lowrance.

At the request of the fishing industry, the New England Fishery Management Council held two meetings with industry members to make recommendations on resolving gear conflicts north of Georges Bank. At the July 1, 1997 meeting in Portsmouth, NH, trawler and lobster fishermen discussed an agreement that would seasonally set aside some areas for each group. The Council drafted this agreement and distributed it to its interested parties to get comment. Industry advisors fine-tuned the agreement at a second gear conflict meeting on July 31, 1997 in Portsmouth, NH.

Although gear conflict in this area has so far been minimal, there are some locations having concentrations of fixed gear where trawlers will be active this fall. Multispecies FMP Amendments 5, 6, and 7 reduced the ability of trawlers to fish in these areas. As a result, lobster fishermen took advantage of the open bottoms to set lobster traps. Two rules will take effect this fall that will make these areas more attractive to trawlers. On September 1, 1997, the haddock possession limit will increase from 1,000 pounds per trip to 10,000 pounds per trip or 1,000 pounds per day-at-sea, whichever is less. Framework 24, an adjustment to the Multispecies FMP, will furthermore move the cod trip limit exemption line north to 4220'N latitude. Both management changes increase the potential for trawling activity north and west of Closed Area II. To head off this potential for gear conflict, the industry is proposing these voluntary rules to allow fishermen to gain access to areas at the most productive times.

These gear losses and conflicts are serious issues, which are addressed by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The Act finds that it is unlawful for any person "to steal or attempt to steal or to negligently and without authorization remove, damage, or tamper with (i) fishing gear owned by another person, which is located in the exclusive economic zone [or special areas], or (ii) fish contained in such fishing gear" [' 307(1)(K), 16 U.S.C. 1857]. It imposes civil penalties "not to exceed $100,000 for each violation" as well as the possibility of permit sanctions and seizure of vessel and catch for these violations.

The Council believes that it is in the best interest of the fishing industry to avoid widespread gear loss through voluntary controls. Should gear conflicts continue in association with the groundfish and lobster fisheries, the Council will consider mandatory measures that will curtail these problems. These measures would be implemented by a framework adjustment under the gear conflict amendments approved in early 1997. Under this new procedure, management measures could become effective in as little as 90 days.

The Council drafted this resolution in an effort to elicit industry cooperation in reducing gear conflicts north of Georges Bank and along the Hague Line. The Council fully supports these efforts and will assist fishermen to obtain cooperation within these areas.


Table 1. Summary of gear conflict resolution areas for Northern Georges Bank.

Area description Area designation Rules Time period
Wright Swell - Franklin Basin
A
No lobster traps March 1 to June 30
Hague Line Boundary Area 1
B
No trawling January 1 to December 31
Lindenkohl Knolls - Shoal
C
No trawling November 1 to February 29
Lindenkohl Knolls - Deep
D
No trawling March 1 to June 30
Sewall Ridge
E
No lobster traps January 1 to May 31
Wreck Bottom to Hat
F
No lobster traps January 1 to December 31
Hague Line Boundary Area 2
G
No trawling October 1 to February 29
Hague Line Boundary Area 3
I
No trawling June 1 to February 29
96's
H
No trawling March 1 to June 30


Figure 1. Chart of gear conflict areas for north of Georges Bank and along the Hague Line. The area labels refer to the area designation in Table 1.


Table 2. Wright Swell & Franklin Basin

Closed to lobster traps from March 1 to June 30.

9960W 9960X Latitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Longitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Point ID
12900 25229 42 25.867 67 37.760 Wright Pt34
12925 25229 42 25.016 67 42.393 Wright Pt35
12950 25241 42 26.489 67 49.869 Wright Pt26
12950 25280 42 33.531 67 58.640 Wright Pt33
13050 25280 42 29.455 68 15.012 Wright Pt36
13100 25152 42 03.273 67 55.199 Wright Pt37
12914 25160 42 09.465 67 20.000 Wright Pt38
12852 25200 42 21.043 67 20.151 Wright Pt39
12900 25200 42 19.632 67 29.738 Wright Pt19
12900 25229 42 25.867 67 37.760 Wright Pt34a


Table 3. Hague Line Boundary Area 1

Closed to trawling from January 1 to December 31.

9960W 9960X Latitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Longitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Point ID
12681 25397 43 04.805 67 40.029 HL Pt8
12693 25403 43 05.131 67 43.261 HL Pt9
12752 25375 42 57.886 67 46.581 HL Pt10
12800 25373 42 55.266 67 53.769 HL Pt 11
12830 25365 42 52.602 67 56.840 HL Pt1
12830 25327 42 46.543 67 48.837 HL Pt12
12809 25299 42 42.646 67 38.864 HL Pt 3
12825 25281 42 38.730 67 37.309 HL Pt14
12837 25280 42 38.066 67 39.193 HL Pt15
12837 25260 42 34.293 67 34.184 HL Pt16
12850 25235 42 28.814 67 29.963 HL Pt17
12900 25235 42 27.082 67 39.321 HL Pt18
12900 25200 42 19.632 67 29.738 HL Pt19
12848 25200 42 21.160 67 19.339 HL Pt20
12829 25240 42 30.581 67 27.350 HL Pt21
12772 25350 42 52.948 67 44.352 HL Pt22
12681 25397 43 04.805 67 40.029 HL Pt23
12820 25289 42 40.395 67 38.380 HL Pt 4


Table 4. Lindenkohl Knolls - Shoal

Closed to trawling from November 1 to February 28.

9960W 9960X Latitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Longitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Point ID
12900 25270 42 33.753 67 47.875 Knolls Pt24
12950 25267 42 31.264 67 55.819 Knolls Pt25
12950 25241 42 26.489 67 49.869 Knolls Pt26
12900 25246 42 29.251 67 42.106 Knolls Pt27
12900 25248 42 29.638 67 42.603 Knolls Pt28
12873 25254 42 31.788 67 39.214 Knolls Pt29
12861 25262 42 33.769 67 39.046 Knolls Pt30
12900 25260 42 31.913 67 45.519 Knolls Pt31
12900 25270 42 33.753 67 47.875 Knolls - Pt32


Table 5. Lindenkohl Knolls - Deep

Closed to trawling from March 1 to June 30.

9960W 9960X Latitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Longitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Point ID
12900 25270 42 33.753 67 47.875 Knolls Pt24
12950 25267 42 31.264 67 55.819 Knolls Pt25
12950 25280 42 33.531 67 58.640 Knolls Pt32
12900 25280 42 35.545 67 50.167 Knolls Pt33
12900 25270 42 33.753 67 47.875 Knolls Pt34


Table 6. Sewall Ridge

Closed to lobster traps from January 1 to May 31.

9960W 9960X Latitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Longitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Point ID
12830 25365 42 52.602 67 56.840 Sewall Ridge - Pt 1
12830 25327 42 46.543 67 48.837 Sewall Ridge - Pt 2
12809 25299 42 42.646 67 38.864 Sewall Ridge - Pt 3
12820 25289 42 40.395 67 38.380 Sewall Ridge - Pt 4
12859 25287 42 38.445 67 44.711 Sewall Ridge - Pt 5
12920 25320 42 41.422 68 02.011 Sewall Ridge - Pt 6
12830 25365 42 52.602 67 56.840 Sewall Ridge - Pt 7


Table 7. Wreck Bottom to Hat

Closed to lobster traps from January 1 to December 31.

9960W 9960X Latitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Longitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Point ID
12681 25397 43 04.805 67 40.029 WBhat Pt8
12693 25403 43 05.131 67 43.261 WBhat Pt9
12725 25388 43 01.228 67 45.082 WBhat Pt40
12825 25425 43 01.664 68 07.669 WBhat Pt41
12825 25520 43 14.297 68 24.110 WBhat Pt42
12700 25540 43 23.909 68 11.064 WBhat Pt43
12700 25500 43 18.641 68 03.782 WBhat Pt44
12593 25453 43 17.844 67 38.573 WBhat Pt45
12622 25438 43 14.078 67 39.771 WBhat Pt45b
12615 25430 43 13.241 67 36.897 WBhat Pt46
12681 25397 43 04.805 67 40.029 WBhat Pt8a


Table 8. Hague Line Boundary Area 2

Closed to trawling from October 1 to February 28

9960W 9960X Latitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Longitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Point ID
12622 25438 43 14.078 67 39.771 HLBAN Pt45
12615 25430 43 13.241 67 36.897 HLBAN Pt46
12165 25638 44 09.063 67 17.330 HLBAN Pt47
12170 25646 44 09.782 67 20.042 HLBAN Pt48
12622 25438 43 14.078 67 39.771 HLBAN Pt45a


Table 9. 96's

Closed to trawling from March 1 to June 30

9960W 9960X Latitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Longitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Point ID
12670 25450 43 13.307 67 49.659 96s Pt49
12670 25480 43 17.554 67 55.697 96s Pt50
12780 25480 43 11.580 68 11.244 96s Pt51
12780 25450 43 07.497 68 05.792 96s Pt52
12670 25450 43 13.307 67 49.659 96s Pt49a


Table 10. Hague Line Boundary Area 3

Closed to trawling from June 1 to February 29

9960W 9960X Latitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Longitude

(DD MM.MMM)

Point ID
12421 25536 43 39.407 67 31.023 HLBA3 Pt1
12412 25530 43 39.093 67 28.287 HLBA3 Pt2
12498 25490 43 28.457 67 32.218 HLBA3 Pt3
12508 25496 43 28.759 67 35.098 HLBA3 Pt4
12421 25536 43 39.407 67 31.023 HLBA3 Pt1a


Table 11. Areas with seasons closed to trawling.

Hague Line Boundary Area 1

Lindenkohl Knolls - Shallow

Lindenkohl Knolls - Deep

Hague Line Boundary Area 2

96's

Hague Line Boundary Area 3

Jan 1 - Dec 31 Nov 1 - Feb 29 Mar 1 - Jun 30 Oct 1 - Feb 29 Mar 1 - Jun 30 Jun 1- Feb 29
9960W 9960X 9960W 9960X 9960W 9960X 9960W 9960X 9960W 9960X 9960W 9960X
12681 25397 12900 25270 12900 25270 12622 25438 12670 25450 12421 25536
12693 25403 12950 25267 12950 25267 12615 25430 12670 25480 12412 25530
12752 25375 12950 25241 12950 25280 12165 25638 12780 25480 12498 25490
12800 25373 12900 25246 12900 25280 12170 25646 12780 25450 12508 25496
12830 25365 12900 25248 12900 25270 12622 25438 12670 25450 12421 25536
12830 25327 12873 25254
12809 25299 12861 25262
12825 25281 12900 25260
12837 25280 12900 25270
12837 25260
12850 25235
12900 25235
12900 25200
12848 25200
12829 25240
12772 25350
12681 25397
12820 25289


Table 12. Areas with seasons closed to lobster traps.

Wright Swell - Franklin Basin Sewall Ridge Wreck Bottom to Hat
Mar 1 - Jun 30 Jan 1 to May 31 Jan 1 to Dec 31
9960W 9960X 9960W 9960X 9960W 9960X
12900 25229 12830 25365 12681 25397
12925 25229 12830 25327 12693 25403
12950 25241 12809 25299 12725 25388
12950 25280 12820 25289 12825 25425
13050 25280 12859 25287 12825 25520
13100 25152 12920 25320 12700 25540
12914 25160 12830 25365 12700 25500
12852 25200 12593 25453
12900 25200 12622 25438
12900 25229 12615 25430
12681 25397

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