Dear Vessel Owner/Operator:
This is to inform you that the National Marine Fisheries Service has approved the New England Fishery Management Council's and similar industry requests to establish an exempted trawl fishery for monkfish in Southern New England (SNE). The Regional Administrator has determined that the approved exempted fishery for monkfish meets the exemption requirements of the Northeast multispecies regulations. (Other requests for monkfish fishery exemptions did not meet the requirements based on the Environmental Assessment.)
SNE Monkfish Fishery Exemption Area.
1. The SNE Monkfish Fishery Exemption Area is defined as the area bounded on the north by a line extending eastward along 40 10' N. lat., and bounded on the west by the eastern boundary of the Mid-Atlantic Regulated Mesh Area
2. A trawl vessel may fish in the SNE Monkfish Fishery Exemption Area when not under a NE multispecies day-at-sea (DAS) providing such vessel does not fish for, possess on board, or land any species of fish other than monkfish, except that such vessels may retain and land the exempted species and bycatch species, and amounts specified, for the SNE Regulated Mesh Area (see footnote 1.). Vessels fishing under this exemption may not possess regulated species unless fishing under the NE Multispecies DAS program.
3. All trawl nets must comply with a minimum mesh size of 8 inches (20.3 cm) square or diamond mesh applied throughout the codend for at least 45 continuous meshes forward of the terminus of the net. All nets with a mesh size smaller than the minimum mesh size specified must be stowed at all times in accordance with one of the methods described under 648.23(b) of the regulations governing Northeast Fisheries.
4. When transiting to and from the SNE Monkfish Fishery Exemption Area all nets must be stowed when north of 4010' N. latitude in accordance with one of the methods described under 648.23(b)of the regulations governing Northeast Fisheries.
Cultivator Shoal Additional Bycatch Species
I have also approved the industry's request for additional bycatch in the Cultivator Shoal Whiting Fishery. Vessels enrolled in the Cultivator Shoal Whiting Fishery may retain, in addition to the currently allowed bycatch species, unlimited amounts of butterfish and mackerel and may retain red hake and dogfish, each in amounts not to exceed 10 percent, by weight, of all other species on board.
For more information, please call (508)281-9278.
SNE bycatch species: 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.
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