NMFS News Release

Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930

Gulf of Maine Cod Landing Limit Reduced From 200 lb to 30 lb

Date: May 24, 1999

Dear Multispecies Permit Holder:

This letter is to inform you that as of May 28, 1999, the Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod landing limit for vessels fishing under a multispecies day-at-sea (DAS) permit, and not fishing in the cod exemption program*, is reduced from 200 lb/DAS to 30 lb/DAS, or any part of a DAS. For all DAS used on or after May 28, 1999, including DAS under the "running clock" provision, the trip limit will be 30 lb/DAS. For vessels fishing under a multispecies open access permit the daily cod limit is also reduced from 200 lb to 30 lb, not to exceed a maximum of 300 lb for the entire trip.

To help ensure that GOM cod landings remain within the target total allowable catch (TAC) of 1,340 MT established for the 1999 fishing year, the regulations implemented a mechanism to reduce the 200 lb/DAS landing limit to as low as 5 lb/DAS, based on the rate of catch and the risk of exceeding the target TAC. This mechanism is triggered when 30 percent (402 MT) of the target TAC is projected to be harvested. Based on the best available information, 402 MT of GOM cod is projected to be harvested on May 28, 1999. Given the rate at which this trigger amount was reached, I have determined that it is necessary to reduce the landing limit to 30 lb/DAS.

Please Note: vessels that exceed the GOM cod landing limit are required to remain in port until sufficient DAS have passed to equate to the cod landed ("running clock" provision). This is best explained by the following example: If vessel fishes for 10 days and 6 days are fished prior to May 28, 1999, and 4 are fished after May 28, 1999, the vessel is allowed to land 1,320 lbs of GOM cod (6 DAS * 200 lb and 4 DAS * 30 lb). However, if the vessel lands 1,440 lbs of GOM cod, the running clock provision will utilize 4 DAS, accounting for the additional 120 lbs of GOM cod (120 lbs / 30 lbs). Further, vessels are required to come into port no later than 14 DAS after starting a trip and report to NMFS by calling either the cod hail line (978-281-9278) if the cod limit has been exceeded or the DAS call-out number (1-800-260-8204) if the cod limit has not been exceeded.

*Cod exemption: A vessel fishing under a multispecies DAS is exempt from the GOM cod landing limit if the vessel owner receives, and has on board the vessel, a NMFS-issued exemption certificate, obtained by calling 978-281-9278 (enrollment periods must be a minimum of 30 days). When fishing under a multispecies DAS, vessels enrolled in this exemption must fish south of the line connecting the following points:

Latitude Longitude
42°00' N Cape Cod Coastline
42°00' N 69°30' W
42°20' N 69°30' W
42°20' N 67°20' W
U.S.-Canada Maritime Boundary 67°20' W

This notice is authorized by the Administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Region.

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