NMFS News Release





Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930




Date: April 29, 1999

Dear Permit Holder:

This letter is to inform you of new regulations implementing Framework Adjustment 27 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan.

THE FOLLOWING MEASURES WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE ON MAY 1, 1999:

1) A 200 lb/day-at-sea (DAS) Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod landing limit.

2) A 2000 lb/DAS haddock landing limit, up to 20,000 lbs per trip.

3) A series of GOM Rolling Closure Areas, with the exemptions and transiting provisions described on pages 5 and 6. Rolling Closure Area III is effective on May 1, 1999.

Rolling Closure Area III - Closed May 1 through May 31:

Point Latitude Longitude

GM9 4230' (1)

GM6 4230' 6830'

GM14 4330' 6830'

GM18 4330' (2)

1 Massachusetts shoreline.

2 Maine shoreline.

THE FOLLOWING MEASURES WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE ON JUNE 10, 1999:

4) An increase in the minimum square mesh size to 6 inches in the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank (GOM/GB) and Southern New England (SNE) Regulated Mesh Areas.

5) Elimination of current mesh restrictions requiring 6 inch square mesh in the Stellwagen Bank/Jeffries Ledge (SB/JL) Juvenile Protection Area.

6) A limitation on roller & rockhopper gear to a maximum diameter of 12 inches in a newly established GOM/GB Inshore Restricted Roller Gear Area.

7) A clarification of the method to calculate the weight of fish parts & fillets for purposes of compliance with possession & landing limits.

These measures are described in detail below.

1) 200 LB/DAS GOM COD LANDING LIMIT:

Beginning May 1, 1999, the GOM cod landing limit for vessels fishing under a multispecies DAS north of the cod exemption area(*) is reduced from 400 lb/DAS to 200 lb/DAS, or any part of a DAS. To ensure that landings are kept below the 1,340 mt target total allowable catch (TAC) level, the landing limit may be reduced to between 5 lb/DAS - 100 lb/DAS, when 30 percent of the target TAC (402 mt) is projected to be harvested, depending upon the risk of exceeding the target TAC.

The new trip limit will be applied to any DAS used on or after May 1, 1999, including DAS under the "running clock" provision. However, in order to utilize 1999 DAS for a trip that lands prior to May 1, 1999, a vessel must have sufficient 1998 DAS remaining to account for the balance of April. This is best explained by two examples:

Vessel A has 9 unused DAS left for the 1998 fishing year. The vessel fishes for 6 days, April 21-26, 1998, and is therefore allowed to land 2,400 lbs of GOM cod (6 DAS * 400 lbs). The vessel does not have enough DAS remaining to keep its DAS clock running until May 1st, so it cannot utilize 1999 DAS to account for any landings made from this trip. The maximum GOM cod overage that can be accounted for by the running clock provision is 1,200 lbs (3 DAS * 400 lbs), for a trip total of 3,600 lbs GOM cod.

Vessel B has 25 unused DAS left for the 1998 fishing year. The vessel fishes for 6 days, April 21-26, 1998, and is therefore allowed to land 2,400 lbs of GOM cod (6 DAS * 400 lbs). However, the vessel lands 6,000 lbs of GOM cod. The running clock provision will utilize the remaining 4 DAS in the 1998 fishing year, at 400 lb/DAS, accounting for an additional 1,600 lbs of GOM cod. Starting at 0001 hours on May 1, 1999, the running clock will utilize DAS from the 1999 fishing year, and 10 DAS will be required to account for the remaining overage of 2000 lbs(10*200 lb/DAS). The vessel will end the 1998 fishing year with 15 unused DAS, 10 of which can be carried over to the 1999 fishing year.

(*)Cod exemption: A vessel fishing under a multispecies DAS is exempt from the GOM cod landing limit if there is a valid Cod Limit Exemption Certificate on board the vessel (which can be obtained by calling 978-281-9278), and the vessel is fishing south of the line connecting the points below. The enrollment period for this exemption is a minimum of 30 days.

Cod Trip Limit Exemption Area

Point Latitude Longitude

Point 1 4200' N Cape Cod Coastline

Point 2 4200' N 6930' W

Point 3 4220' N 6930' W

Point 4 4220' N 6720' W

Point 5 U.S.-Canada 6720' W

Maritime Boundary

2) 2000 LB/DAS HADDOCK LANDING LIMIT, WITH 20,000 LB/TRIP CAP:

Beginning May 1, 1999, the haddock landing limit is 2,000 lb/DAS, or any part of a DAS, up to a maximum of 20,000 lb/trip. To ensure that landings are kept below the 5600 mt haddock target TAC level, when the Regional Administrator projects that 75 percent of the target TAC (4,200 mt) will be harvested, the trip limit may be reduced either to a 1,000 lb per trip possession limit or to a landing limit restriction of 1000 lb/DAS with a 10,000 lb maximum per trip, depending upon the risk of exceeding the target TAC. Beginning October 1, 1999, if the Regional Administrator projects that less than 75 percent of the target TAC will be harvested by April 30, 2000, the haddock trip limit may be increased to an amount that the Regional Administrator projects will be sufficient to allow landings of at least 75 percent of the target TAC (4219 mt).

Changes to the GOM cod and haddock trip limits will be published in the Federal Register and notices will be sent to permit holders.

3) GULF OF MAINE (G0M) ROLLING CLOSURE AREAS, EXEMPTIONS AND TRANSITING PROVISIONS:

Beginning May 1, 1999, the current GOM Inshore Closure Areas are replaced with closures of larger size and longer duration, which are referred to as GOM Rolling Closure Areas. In addition, the Cashes Ledge Closure Area is reconfigured and will be closed for a longer period of time, and the multispecies Northeast Closure Area is removed. The current Western GOM Area Closure remains in effect, as do all previously existing closures to gillnet gear for marine mammal protection (Massachusetts Bay, Mid-coast, & Northeast Closure Areas, and the Cape Cod Bay Critical Habitat Closure Area). Charts are attached showing the new GOM Rolling Closure Areas. The area coordinates are as follows:

Rolling Closure Area I - Closed March 1 through March 31:

Point Latitude Longitude

GM1 4200' (1)

GM2 4200' (2)

GM3 4200' (3)

GM5 4200' 6830'

GM6 4230' 6830'

GM9 4230' (1)

1 Massachusetts shoreline.

2 Cape Cod shoreline on Cape Cod Bay.

3 Cape Cod shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean.



Rolling Closure Area II - Closed April 1 through April 30:

Point Latitude Longitude

GM1 4200' (1)

GM2 4200' (2)

GM3 4200' (3)

GM5 4200' 6830'

GM13 4300' 6830'

GM10 4300' (4)

1 Massachusetts shoreline.

2 Cape Cod shoreline on Cape Cod Bay.

3 Cape Cod shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean.

4 New Hampshire shoreline.



Rolling Closure Area III - Closed May 1 through May 31:

See coordinates on Page 1



Rolling Closure Area IV - Closed June 1 through June 30:

Point Latitude Longitude

GM10 4300' (1)

GM11 4300' 7000'

GM17 4330' 7000'

GM19 4330' 6732' or (2)

GM20 4400' 6721' or (2)

GM21 4400' 6900'

GM22 (3) 6900'

1 New Hampshire shoreline.

2 U.S. - Canada maritime boundary.

3 Maine shoreline.



Rolling Closure Area V - Closed Oct. 1 through Nov. 30:

Point Latitude Longitude

GM1 4200' (1)

GM2 4200' (2)

GM3 4200' (3)

GM4 4200' 7000'

GM8 4230' 7000'

GM9 4230' (1)

1 Massachusetts shoreline.

2 Cape Cod shoreline on Cape Cod Bay.

3 Cape Cod shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean.



Cashes Ledge Closure Area - Closed July 1 - October 31:

Point Latitude Longitude

CL1 4307' 6902'

CL2 4249.5' 6846'

CL3 4246.5' 6850.5'

CL4 4243.5' 6858.5'

CL5 4242.5' 6917.5'

CL6 4249.5' 6926'

CL1 4307' 6902'



Western GOM Area Closure - This area remains closed year- round. It retains the same coordinates as the 1998 fishing year:

Point Latitude Longitude

WGM1 4215' 7015'

WGM2 4215' 6955'

WGM3 4315' 6955'

WGM4 4315' 7015'

WGM1 4215' 7015'



Exemptions: The following vessels are exempt from the GOM Rolling Closure Areas:

In addition, the following vessels are exempt from the GOM Rolling Closure Areas and the Cashes Ledge Closure Area (note: this exemption does not apply to the Western GOM Area Closure:

The GOM Rolling Closure Areas override some exempted fisheries areas, meaning that these exempted fisheries may not be prosecuted during the closure periods. The exempted fisheries which are affected by the GOM Rolling Closures include Small Mesh Area 2 and the GOM/GB Monkfish and Dogfish Gillnet Exemptions. The times and coordinates for exempted fisheries are unchanged.

Transiting: A vessel may transit the GOM Rolling Closure Areas provided its gear is stowed properly according to the regulations. In addition to the current gear stowage provisions, Framework

Adjustment 27 implements a new gear stowage option for trawl vessels transiting the GOM Rolling Closure Areas only (i.e. not Cashes Ledge Closure, Western GOM Closed Area, Closed Area I, Closed Area II, or Nantucket Lightship Closed Area). This new stowage provision is as follows:

On-reel stowage for vessels transiting the GOM Rolling Closure Areas.

(i) The net is on a reel, and its entire surface is covered with canvas or other similar material that is securely bound;

(ii) The towing wires are detached from the doors; and

(iii) No containment rope, codend tripping device, or other mechanism to close off the codend is attached to the codend.

4) INCREASE IN MINIMUM SQUARE MESH SIZE TO 6 INCHES IN THE GOM/GB AND SNE REGULATED MESH AREAS

Beginning June 10, 1999, the minimum mesh size for any trawl net, sink gillnet, Scottish seine, midwater trawl or purse seine on a vessel, or used by a vessel, fishing under a DAS in the NE multispecies DAS program in the GOM/GB and SNE Regulated Mesh Areas is 6 inch diamond mesh or 6.5 inch square mesh throughout the entire net, or any combination thereof. Copies of a map depicting these regulated mesh areas is available from the Regional Administrator, upon request.

This mesh restriction does not apply to vessels that have not been issued a multispecies permit and that are fishing only in state waters. In the GOM/GB Regulated Mesh Area, the mesh restriction does not apply to pieces of nets less than 3 ft. X 3 ft.

Provided that vessels adhere to all applicable regulations, the following fisheries remain exempt from these mesh requirements: the Northern Shrimp Fishery & Scallop Dredge Fishery within the Small Mesh Northern Shrimp Fishery Exemption Area, the Cultivator Shoal Whiting Fishery Exemption Area, Small Mesh Area 1/Small Mesh Area 2 Exemption Areas, the Nantucket Shoal Dogfish Exemption Area, the Mid-Water Trawl & Purse Seine Exemption, the SNE Mussel & Sea Urchin Dredge Exemption Area, and the SNE Little Tunny Exemption Area. Also, vessels may fish with or possess nets of mesh smaller than the minimum size when fishing for SNE exempted species and SNE bycatch species, in accordance with all applicable regulations.

5) Elimination of current mesh restrictions requiring 6 inch square mesh in the Stellwagen Bank/Jeffries Ledge (SB/JL) Juvenile Protection Area.

Beginning June 10, 1999, the requirement to use a 6 inch square mesh codend for vessels fishing in the SB/JL Juvenile Protection Area is removed. Vessels may only use, or possess, 6 inch diamond or 6 inch square mesh nets, as described above.

6) Limitation on roller & rockhopper gear to a maximum diameter of 12 inches in a newly established GOM/GB Inshore Restricted Roller Gear Area.

Beginning June 10, 1999, for all trawl vessels fishing in the newly established GOM/GB Inshore Restricted Roller Gear Area, the diameter of any part of the trawl footrope, including discs, rollers or rockhoppers, may not exceed 12 inches.

The GOM/GB Inshore Restricted Roller Gear Area is defined by a straight line connecting the following points in the order stated:

Inshore Restricted Roller Gear Area

Point Latitude Longitude

GM1 4200' (1)

GM2 4200' (2)

GM3 4200' (3)

GM23 4200' 6950'

GM24 4300' 6950'

GM11 4300' 7000'

GM17 4330' 7000

GM18 4330' (4)

1 Massachusetts shoreline.

2 Cape Cod shoreline on Cape Cod Bay.

3 Cape Cod shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean.

4 Maine shoreline.

7) Calculation of the weight of fish parts & fillets for purposes of possession & landing limits.

Possession limits are based upon the weight of whole, whole-gutted, or gilled fish. Beginning June 10, 1999, for purposes of determining possessions limits, the weight of fillets and parts of fish, other than whole gutted or gilled fish, will be multiplied by three.

This letter is a summary only of the approved regulations. To read these regulations in their entirety, you are encouraged to obtain a complete copy by calling 978-281-9278, or via our website: http://www.wh.whoi.edu/ro/doc/nero.html.


Rolling Closure Area I
March 1 - March 31


Rolling Closure Area II
April 1 - April 30


Rolling Closure Area III
May 1 - May 31


Rolling Closure Area IV
June 1 - June 30


Rolling Closure Area V
October 1 - November 30


Cashes Ledge Closure Area
July 1 - October 31


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