NMFS News Release

Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930

Amendment 9 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan Approved

Date: October 15, 1999

Dear Permit Holder

This letter announces that on October 15, 1999, NMFS published regulations to implement Amendment 9 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Amendment 9 was partially approved on April 7, 1999. A summary of these new regulations, which go into effect November 15, 1999, follows:

Atlantic Halibut Fishery

Amendment 9 incorporates Atlantic halibut into the Multispecies fishery management unit. Effective November 15, 1999, a commercial vessel must have a multispecies permit in order to retain halibut. If you already hold a current multispecies permit, that permit is adequate for this purpose. Vessel owners who do not have a multispecies permit must obtain an open access multispecies permit - either a non-regulated species, handgear, or charter/party permit, to retain halibut. Recreational vessels need not obtain a permit, but may not sell their catch. The following are the new restrictions for halibut:

Minimum fish size (Commercial and recreational): 36 inches

Possession limit (Commercial and recreational): One fish/vessel

Vessel Monitoring System (Multispecies permit holders)

The requirement that holders of individual days-at-sea category permits obtain and operate a vessel monitoring system has been postponed. This requirement was originally intended to begin on May 01, 1999: Approval of Amendment 9 postpones this requirement. Thus, the call-in provision remains the required method for monitoring days-at-sea.

Winter Flounder Minimum Fish Size

The proposed increase in the fish size for this species, to 13 inches from its current 12 inches, has been disapproved after a review by NMFS. Thus, the fish size for federal permit holders remains 12 inches, unless your state of landing has specified a more restrictive size limit.

Brush-Sweep Trawl Gear (Multispecies permit holders)

Use of brush-sweep trawl gear is prohibited. This gear type means trawl gear consisting of alternating roller discs and bristle brushes that are strung along cables, chains, or footropes, and aligned together to form the sweep of the trawl net, designed to allow the trawl sweep to maintain contact with the ocean floor, or any modification to trawl gear that is substantially similar in design or effect.

This letter is only a summary 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, at: http://www.nero.nmfs.gov/ro/doc/nero.html

This notice is authorized by the Regional Administrator of the

National Marine Fisheries Service

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