NMFS News Release
Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930
Summer Flounder Amendment 10
Date: December 3, 1997
Dear Summer Flounder Vessel and Dealer Permit Holder:
This letter is to inform you that the National Marine Fisheries
Service (NMFS) has partially approved Amendment 10 (amendment) to
the Fishery Management Plan for the Summer Flounder, Scup and
Black Sea Bass Fisheries (FMP). The effective date of Amendment
10 is January 1, 1998, except that the minimum mesh regulation
becomes effective on June 3, 1998 to allow time for vessels to
obtain net construction materials, and the baseline date against
which vessel specification changes shall be measured is January
- Effective June 3, 1998, Amendment 10 implements a minimum mesh
size for otter trawl vessels possessing 100 lb (45.4 kg) or more
of summer flounder between May 1 and October 31, or 200 lb (90.8
kg) or more of summer flounder between November 1 and April 30,
of 5.5-inch (14.0-cm) diamond, or 6.0-inch (15.2-cm) square,
inside measure, applied throughout the body, extension(s) and
codend of the net. Under the old regulations, the minimum mesh
size applied to the codend only.
The following regulations become effective on January 1, 1998:
- The moratorium on the entry of additional commercial vessels into
the summer flounder fishery in the exclusive economic zone is
- Voluntary vessel replacement with vessel upgrade is allowed.
Amendment 10 permits a vessel with a moratorium permit to be
replaced by another vessel and have its permit transferred to the
new vessel without having to leave the fishery involuntarily
(e.g., sink or burn), as was required under the old regulations.
A vessel's horsepower may be increased not more than 20 percent
through replacement only once. A vessel's length, gross
registered tons (GRT), and net tons (NT) may be increased not
more than 10 percent through replacement only once. If any of
these specifications (length, GRT, NT) is increased, any increase
in the other two must be performed at the same time. This type
of increase may be done separately from a horsepower increase.
The baseline against which vessel specification changes shall be
measured is January 2, 1998.
- The requirement that a vessel must land summer flounder during a
52 week period in order to retain its moratorium permit is
- Federally permitted party and charter vessels possessing valid
state permits authorizing filleting at sea may possess fillets
smaller than the recreational minimum fish size for whole fish,
if all state requirements are met.
- The transfer of summer flounder at sea is prohibited. Amendment
10 prohibits vessels issued a summer flounder moratorium permit
from transferring or attempting to transfer any summer flounder
from one vessel to another vessel. Transfer means to begin to
remove, to remove, to pass over the rail, or to otherwise take
away fish from any vessel and move them to another vessel.
NMFS has disapproved as inconsistent with national standard 7 of
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the
provision that would grant de minimis status to states that
harvest less than 0.1 percent of the overall annual quota.
During the development of Amendment 10, the Council also
considered alternatives to the current state-by-state commercial
quota allocation system. After receiving public comments, the
Council voted to maintain the existing commercial quota
allocation system because it allows states the most flexibility
to manage their quotas through the implementation of state
subquotas and trip limits.
This letter is only a summary of the major measures of the
amendment, and has no legal force or effect. There are other
measures contained in the amendment which may not be mentioned.
To read the requirements in their entirety, you are urged to
obtain a complete copy of the regulations by calling (508)281-9315, or by accessing the NMFS Northeast Regional Office Homepage
NERO Home Page