NMFS News Release

Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930

Summer Flounder Otter Trawl Gear Requirements

Date: February 11, 1998

Dear Summer Flounder Permit Holder:

This letter clarifies otter trawl gear requirements recently changed by an amendment to the summer flounder regulations. The gear regulations now read as follows:

"Otter trawlers whose owners are issued a summer flounder permit and that land or possess 100 or more lb (45.4 or more kg) of summer flounder from May 1 through October 31, or 200 lb or more (90.8 kg or more) of summer flounder from November 1 through April 30, per trip, must fish with nets that have a minimum mesh size of 5.5 inch (14.0 cm) diamond mesh or 6 inch (15.2 cm) square mesh applied throughout the body, extension(s), and codend portion of the net."

This mesh requirement will be effective as of June 3, 1998. Please note that the new gear regulations specifically require minimum mesh size in the body, extension, and codend, but currently exclude the wings. There has been some confusion with regards to the interpretation of the regulation and names of the various portions of an otter trawl. The attached diagram of trawls is intended to illustrate the parts of the net specified in this regulation.

This letter is a summary only of the approved regulations, and the diagram is solely for illustrative purposes. Consequently, this letter has no legal force or effect. To read these regulations in their entirety, you are encouraged to obtain a complete copy of the regulations by calling (978) 281-9278, or by accessing the Northeast Regional Office's website at: http://www.wh.whoi.edu/ro/doc/nero.html.

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