Get Email Updates

Skate Bait Fishery LOA

The skate bait fishery (landing whole skates for use as bait) is managed under a letter of authorization (LOA) program that also exempts the owner from lower possession limits of the skate wing fishery. Any Federal skate permit holder may request an LOA from our NMFS Permits Office at (978) 282-8438 or online here.

Vessels participating in the skate bait LOA program must meet the following requirements and conditions to qualify and remain eligible for the LOA:

The LOA only exempts the vessel from the lower skate wing possession limits. As noted above, the skate bait LOA does not exempt the participating vessel from DAS requirements of the NE multispecies, monkfish, or scallop fisheries. Therefore, unless a skate bait vessel is fishing in one of the skate exemption areas in Southern New England (SNE) or the Mid-Atlantic, it must still fish on a NE multispecies, monkfish, or scallop DAS.

The Skate Bait TAL is divided into three seasons to help maintain a supply of bait throughout the fishing year. The first two seasons have a possession limit of 25,000 lb, and the possession limit in Season 3 is 12,000 lb (See table below).  

Skate Bait Fishery Seasons and Limits

Season Percentage of Skate Bait TAL Possession Limit (lb) Trigger for Inseason Adjustment Incidental Possession Limit (lb)
1 May 1 - July 31 30.8 25,000 90% of seasonal TAL 8,000
2 August 1 - October 31 37.1 90% of seasonal TAL
3 November 1 - April 30 Remainder of Skate Bait TAL 12,000 80% of seasonal TAL

When 90 percent of the seasonal quota is landed in either Season 1 or 2, or when 80 percent of the annual Skate Bait TAL is landed, the skate bait possession limit will be reduced to the incidental limit of 8,000 lb. If 100 percent of the Skate Bait TAL is landed, the skate bait fishery will be closed, and active LOAs will be voided.

Can I transfer skate bait at sea?

Yes. A vessel issued a Federal skate permit may transfer skates at sea, provided:

SNE Skate Bait Trawl Exempted Fishery

The SNE Skate Bait Trawl Exemption Area is specific to the skate bait fishery (not available to the wing fishery), and requires the skate bait LOA to participate.

Area: The SNE Skate Bait Trawl Exemption Area is defined by the straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

N. Latitude W. Longitude
Southeastern MA 71°00'
41°00' 71°00'
41°00' 72°05'
Southern CT 72°05'

Season: July 1 through October 31.

Gear: Legal NE multispecies trawl gear must be used (6.5-inch mesh codend or larger).

Possession Limits: A vessel fishing in this exemption area may possess and land up to 25,000 lb of skates of less than 23 inches total length. Vessels fishing in the exemption area must have a Federal skate permit and a valid Skate Bait LOA from the Regional Administrator with an exemption from the skate wing possession limits.

Groundfish may not be retained on these trips. If you would like to retain groundfish in addition to skate bait, you must declare into the groundfish fishery at the beginning of the trip.

Skate Bait Exemption Area