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NOAA's Intent on Groundfish Carryover in 2013

Statement on 2013 Groundfish Fishery Quota Carryover

from John K. Bullard

Northeast Region Administrator

NOAA Fisheries

February 14, 2013


Today, as I promised the fishing industry I would do, I am announcing our intent to allow carryover of unused 2012 quota into the 2013 fishing year.  Current fishery management regulations allow up to 10 percent of unused quota to be carried forward.  This provides fishermen with some flexibility on when they fish -- so they can avoid bad weather and take advantage of times of year when fish are available and prices are highest. 

For all allocated groundfish stocks, except Gulf of Maine cod, where the stock remains in poor condition and there is a high risk of exceeding overfishing limits, we intend to continue to allow fishermen to carryover up to their full 10 percent unused quota in 2013.  For Gulf of Maine cod we intend to allow just under 2 percent carryover in 2013 to avoid a risk of exceeding the overfishing limit.  

Carryover has become an issue due to the expected precipitous drop in catch limits in 2013.  As a result, we want to renew our commitment, as part of a national effort to review the relationship between carryover and annual catch limits. We plan to work with the New England Fishery Management Council to develop measures to factor in carryover explicitly when setting future catch limits.

By allowing carryover we further promote safety at sea and help to mitigate some of the economic impact on the fishing industry of anticipated significant catch limit cuts while still continuing to protect fish stocks.  Even with the carryover added to the 2013 quota, we still have sufficient buffers in place to ensure that catches stay below overfishing limits.

We hope that this news makes it clear that NOAA Fisheries remains committed to protecting fish, fishermen and the support businesses that have been integral to many of our coastal communities for centuries.

In collaboration with the council, we will continue to look for flexibility in federal laws, employ innovative technologies and fishing methods and adopt new management measures to fully harvest available healthy groundfish and other fish stocks.  Here are some of the other things we are working on to help fishermen in 2013: