NMFS News Release

Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930

Additional Georges Bank Sea Scallop Exemption Program Trips Authorized

Date: October 5, 1999

Dear (Vessel Owner Name):

Your vessel has been identified as a full or part-time limited access sea scallop vessel that declared into and began a fishing trip under the Georges Bank Sea Scallop Exemption Program (Exemption Program) prior to September 1, 1999. Regulations at 50 CFR 648.58(f)(1) give me the authority to adjust the sea scallop possession limit, and/or allocate one or more trips for vessels that meet the criteria specified above, depending on the amount of sea scallops and yellowtail flounder that have been caught by vessels fishing in the Exemption Program prior to September 1, 1999.

I am pleased to inform you that, based on the most recent Exemption Program monitoring information regarding the sea scallop total allowable catch (TAC) and yellowtail bycatch TAC, I have determined that increasing the number of trips into the Georges Bank Sea Scallop Exemption Area is justified. Therefore, your vessel has been allocated an additional three Exemption Program trips of up to 10,000 lbs of meats each, provided you have enough scallop days-at-sea (DAS) remaining (10 DAS/trip). These trips must be taken prior to December 31, 1999, and are in addition to the three trips that your vessel was originally allocated at the start of the Exemption Program.

All Exemption Program rules, as specified in 50 CFR 648.58, apply to the additional allocation of trips. As a reminder, the ability to take all three additional trips is contingent upon a continued low yellowtail flounder bycatch. The regulations require termination of the Georges Bank Sea Scallop Exemption Program when 387 metric tons of yellowtail flounder has been projected to be caught.

Vessels that have an Occasional limited access sea scallop permit do not qualify for the additional allocation of trips despite whether or not they declared and began an Exemption Program trip before September 1, 1999.

This notice is authorized by the Regional Administrator of the

National Marine Fisheries Service

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