NMFS News Release

Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930


Date: November 3, 1999

Dear Permit Holder:

This letter is to inform you that, based on an analysis of information obtained through vessel observer reports, 387 metric tons (MT) of the total allowable catch of yellowtail flounder allowed in the Georges Bank Sea Scallop Exemption Program (Exemption Program) has been projected to be caught as of November 2, 1999, and that entry into the Exemption Program is, therefore, prohibited as of midnight November 2, 1999.

Framework Adjustment 11 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and Framework Adjustment 29 to the Northeast Multispecies FMP contains a provision to help ensure that the yellowtail flounder bycatch remains within the 387 MT level established for this fishery. Section 648.58(f)(2) specifies that this mechanism is triggered when the Regional Administrator projects that 387 MT will be caught. This section also stipulates that NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register informing the public of the date of the termination of the Exemption Program. Eligible sea scallop vessels were notified of this action on November 2, 1999, through the VMS e-mail messaging system.

Vessels that have declared and begun an Exemption Program trip prior to midnight November 2, 1999, will be required to complete their trip by midnight, November 12, 1999, or when the vessel harvests 10,000 lb of sea scallop meats, whichever comes first.

Please note that the entire exemption area remains closed to vessels not enrolled in the Exemption Program until midnight, November 12, 1999.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please call 978-281-9278.

This notice is authorized by the Regional Administrator of the

National Marine Fisheries Service

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