Get Email Updates

Get Text Alerts

Sign up for recreational and commercial text alerts

Silver Hake (Merluccius bilinearis)

Whiting

Implementing regulations are found at 50 CFR part 648 subpart F

The small-mesh multispecies fishery in the U.S. operates from Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Fishing in the directed small-mesh multispecies fishery is conducted with small-mesh trawl gear with a number of specific requirements to reduce bycatch of larger groundfish species.  The small-mesh multispecies fishery consists of three species:  Silver hake (Merluccius bilinearis), red hake (Urophycis chuss), and offshore hake (Merluccius albidus).  There are two stocks of silver hake (northern and southern), two stocks of red hake (northern and southern), and one stock of offshore hake, which primarily co-occurs with the southern stock of silver hake.  There is little to no separation of silver and offshore hakes in the market, and both are generally sold under the name “whiting.”  The market for small-mesh multispecies is human consumption and as bait.

The small-mesh multispecies fishery is managed primarily through a series of exemptions from the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, which is managed by the New England Fishery Management Council. 

2018-2019 Whiting Bulletins

06/13/2018
2018-2020 Commercial Whiting Fishery Specifications

Click Below for Past Bulletins (Permit Holder Letters):


 Click Below for Past Federal Register Actions & Public Comments:

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

Current Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR)

What are other common names for the small-mesh multispecies fishery? This fishery is most commonly referred to as the whiting fishery, which includes three species: Silver hake, red hake, and offshore hake.  Silver hake is almost always referred to as whiting. Offshore hake, because they are similar in appearance to silver hake, and are not usually distinguished, are also referred to as whiting or black whiting. Red hake is most commonly referred to as ling, but can also be called squirrel or mud hake.

What time of year does the whiting fishery take place? Although the whiting fishery is technically open year-round, because this fishery primarily operates through exemptions from the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, the timing of most targeted fishing is highly dependent upon the seasons of specific exemption areas. There are several seasonal exempted fisheries for small-mesh species in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank, and more general, year-round exemptions in the Southern New England and Mid-Atlantic Regulated Mesh Areas for the whiting fishery. For more information on these exempted fishing areas, see the "Commercial>Areas" and "Commercial>Exempted Fisheries" tabs on this page.

What is the geographic extent of the whiting fishery? This fishery occurs in both New England and Mid-Atlantic waters, and small-mesh gear is used in both northern and southern areas. Silver hake prefer water temperatures between 6 and 18 °C, and adult red hake prefer water temperatures between 5 and 12 °C.

At what depths are small-mesh multispecies found? Water depth varies by species. Silver hake generally occur at depths less than 200 m, but can be found up to 900 m deep. Offshore hake are found primarily along the 200 m depth contour (the deepest extent of NEFSC survey coverage) during spring and autumn. Red hake can be more widely distributed and are found at depths ranging from 11 m to 500 m.

What other species are caught when fishing for whiting? Typically other small mesh species such as herring and squid. Small amounts of other groundfish (NE Multispecies) may be caught as well.

What gear types are authorized and what gear types are primarily used in this fishery? Specialized trawl gear referred to as raised footrope trawls are required when fishing for whiting. This fishery typically uses smaller mesh than standard multispecies vessels (hence the "small-mesh" multispecies fishery). Hakes are not typically targeting in recreational fisheries, but recreational gear can include rod and reel, handline, or spear.

Stock areas for the small-mesh multispecies complex

Who manages this fishery? Whiting/Small-mesh multispecies are managed by the New England Fishery Management Council, with NMFS as the implementing body.

How is the fishery managed? This fishery is primarily managed under a series of exemptions to the NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Specific possession limits, gear restrictions, and other management measures are often determined by the exemption or regulated mesh area being fished.

What is the fishing year for this fishery? May 1 – April 30

What are the different management areas for the whiting fishery?   

The small-mesh multispecies complex is composed of five stocks of three species of hakes (northern silver hake, southern silver hake, northern red hake, southern red hake, and offshore hake). The map to the right depicts the stock areas for the small-mesh multispecies complex.

The fishery is managed primarily through a series of exemptions from the provisions of the NE Multispecies FMP. The fishery is executed largely according to the Regulated Mesh Area (RMA) regulations and specified exempted fisheries. Please see the "Commercial>Areas" and "Commercial>Exempted Fisheries" tabs for more information on RMAs and exempted fisheries.

1987Amendment 1 (FR Notice) decreased the area for the whiting exempted fishery, and made several other changes to the NE multispecies fishery.

1991Amendment 4 (FR Notice) incorporated silver hake and red hake into the NE Multispecies FMP, and established the Cultivator Shoals Experimental Whiting Fishery. 

1994Framework Adjustment 6 (FR Notice) aimed to reduce catch of juvenile whiting in Cultivator Shoals by increasing the minimum mesh size from 2.5” to 3” for that area.

1995Framework Adjustment 9 (FR Notice) established Small-Mesh Areas 1 and 2 and their seasons. 

1996Amendment 7 (FR Notice) established additional bycatch species in Cultivator Shoals Exemption Area, as well as many other catch limits and management measures within the NE Multispecies FMP.

2000Amendment 12 (FR Notice) established essential fish habitat (EFH) designations, differential possession limits based on mesh size, a transfer-at-sea provision, year 4 default measures, and included offshore hake into the NE Multispecies FMP.

2000 – Framework Adjustment 32 (FR Notice) modified the whiting mesh size/possession limit enrollment program and allowed the use of a net strengthener.

2000Framework Adjustment 35 (FR Notice) established the Cape Cod Bay Raised Footrope Trawl area and season.

2002 – Modifications to Amendment 12 delayed year 4 default measures.

2002 – Modification to Framework 35 modified boundaries and season of Cape Cod Bay Raised Footrope Trawl Area, added another area East of Cape Cod, and adjusted area seasons.

2003 – Framework Adjustment 37 (FR Notice) eliminated the year 4 default measures, adjusted area seasons, possession limits and species allowed for retention, and clarified the transfer-at-sea provisions.  

2003 – Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FR Notice) established new small-mesh multispecies control date of March 25, 2003.

2003 – Framework Adjustment 38 (FR Notice) established Inshore GOM Whiting Exemption Area, required grate raised footrope trawl, and adjusted area possession limits, species for retention, and seasons.

2006 – Amendment 14 scoping measures (FR Notice) included for consideration included:  Limited entry for commercial vessels, hard total allowable catch (TAC), dedicated access privileges, and recreational measures.

2006 – Advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (FR Notice) reaffirmed March 25, 2003, control date.

2012Secretarial Amendment (FR Notice) to establish annual catch limits and accountability measures for the small-mesh multispecies fishery.

2013 – Amendment 19 (FR Notice) modified management measures in the small-mesh multispecies fishery; including the accountability measures, the year-round possession limits, and total allowable landings process.

2018 – Amendment 22 is currently under development.

What are the primary markets for the whiting fishery? There is little to no separation of silver and offshore species in the market, and both are generally sold under the name “whiting.” Whiting are sold filleted, whole, and smoked. Red hake, which is a larger fish than whiting, is usually sold filleted. Hakes are sold for both human consumption and as bait.

What are the recent landings and value of the commercial fishery? In 2015, the average price of red hake was $0.50/lb, with the fishery landing 1.04 million pounds worth $515 thousand.

Also in 2015, the average price of whiting (silver hake including offshore hake) was $0.74/lb, with the fishery landing 14.23 million pounds worth $10.49 million.

What are the top whiting landing ports (2010)? The top five ports according to quantity of small-mesh multispecies landed are: Gloucester, MA; Provincetown, MA; Point Judith, RI; Montauk, NY; and New Bedford, MA. 

Northeast Fisheries Science Center Stock Assessments – click here.

Stock Northern Red Hake Southern Red Hake Northern Silver Hake Southern Silver Hake Offshore Hake
Overfishing? No Yes No No N/A
Overfishing Definition Overfishing occurs when the ratio between catch and spring survey biomass exceeds the overfishing threshold (derived from AIM analyses from 1980-2009) Overfishing occurs when F (derived from the latest three years of survey data) > F0.1 N/A
Overfished? No Yes No No N/A
Overfished Definition The stock is overfished when B (the 3-year moving average of the spring survey weight per tow) < ½ BMSY Proxy (defined as the average observed from 1980 – 2010) The stock is overfished when B (the 3-year moving average of the fall survey weight per tow) < ½ BMSY Proxy N/A
Rebuilding Program No rebuilding plan is in place No rebuilding plan is in place No rebuilding plan is in place No rebuilding plan is in place No rebuilding plan is in place
Overfishing Threshold 0.163 kt/kg 3.038 kt/kg 2.78 kt/kg 34.17 kt/kg  -
Fishing Mortality Rate (F) (2014-2016) 0.09 kt/kg 4.03 kt/kg 0.15 kt/kg 2.95 kt/kg N/A
Biomass Threshold 1.27 kg/tow 0.51 kg/tow 3.21 kg/tow 0.83 kg/tow N/A
Biomass 5.13 kg/tow (2015-2017) 0.38 kg/tow (2015-2017) 19.92 kg/tow (2014-2016) 1.05 kg/tow (2014-2016)  -

Other stock status information: The 2010 stock assessment concluded that information was not available to determine stock status for offshore hake because fishery data were insufficient and the survey data were not considered to reflect stock trends. Thus, there are no reference points for offshore hake and the overfished and overfishing status of offshore hake is unknown.

Most Recent Environmental Impact Statement: 2000 (Amendment 12)

Most Recent Biological Opinion: 2013  

Most Recent Stock Assessment: 2011 (SAW 51), 2017 (Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation [SAFE] report)

Next Stock Assessment: Scheduled for 2019

Quota Monitoring - click here

2018 Small-Mesh Multispecies Specifications (May 1-April 30)

Stock Northern Red Hake Southern Red Hake Northern Silver Hake Southern Whiting*
Overfishing Limit (OFL) 840 mt 1,150 mt 58,350 mt 31,180 mt
Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) 721 mt 1,060 mt 31,030 mt 19,395 mt
Annual Catch Limit (ACL) 685 mt 1,007 mt 29,475 mt 18,425 mt
Total Allowable Landings (TAL) 274 mt 305 mt 26,604 mt 14,465 mt

*Note: Southern Whiting = Southern Silver Hake + Offshore Hake. There is not enough scientific information to produce catch limits for offshore hake, which are most often landed mixed with southern silver hake. Therefore, the southern silver hake ABC is increased by 4 percent to account for offshore hake.

Research Set-Aside: Not applicable.

How often do the quotas change for this fishery? Quotas, catch limits, and other fishery management measures are reviewed annually and must be updated at least every three years.

What if specifications are not in place at the start of the fishing year? Existing specifications roll over.

Are there in-season adjustments (changes mid-fishing year) in this fishery? Yes, possession limit adjustments may be made in-season. See the accountability measures section below for details.

Accountability Measures:

In-season: If 90 percent of a silver/offshore hake or southern red hake TAL (or 37.9 percent of the northern red hake TAL) is projected to be reached or exceeded, the possession limit of that stock shall be reduced to the incidental level for the remainder of the fishing year. The incidental level for red hake stocks is 400 lb per trip, and the incidental level for silver hake stocks is 2,000 lb per trip.

Post-season: If a small-mesh multispecies ACL was exceeded in a given fishing year, the in-season accountability measure adjustment trigger for that stock will be reduced in subsequent fishing years by 1 percent for each 1 percent by which the ACL was exceeded.
For example: If the in season adjustment trigger is 90 percent, and an ACL is exceeded by 5 percent, the adjustment trigger for the stock whose ACL was exceeded would be reduced to 85 percent for subsequent fishing years.

Permit categories: Vessels fishing for whiting/small-mesh multispecies in an exemption program must possess either an open access (Category K) or limited access (Categories A-F) NE multispecies permit.

If the vessel has a limited access NE multispecies permit, fishing for whiting may be done while the vessel is not fishing under a day-at-sea (DAS) and while declared "out of the fishery" (DOF), if the vessel is required to operate a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS).

Number of permits in the fishery: In 2017, there were 1,560 Northeast multispecies permits (categories A-F and/or K) issued that were capable of participating in the whiting fishery. Of these, there were 768 Category K (open access small-mesh) permits, specifically, that were issued in 2017. However, because of the nature of the small-mesh multispecies fishery, it is likely that the number of active participants fishing for whiting in 2017 was significantly lower.

Control Date: November 28, 2012.

Commercial Operator Permit: Operator cards are required for any operator of a charter/party boat or a commercial vessel (including carrier and processor vessels) issued a vessel permit from the Greater Atlantic Region and fishing for or in possession of fish.

Commercial Dealer/Processor Permit: Whiting/small-mesh multispecies may only be sold to persons possessing a valid Federal NE multispecies dealer permit.

How to obtain a Federal fishing permit: Anyone with a valid vessel operator’s permit can obtain a Federal open access Multispecies (small mesh) (NE Multispecies Category K) permit by submitting a permit application and supporting documentation to the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office Permit Division. More information can be found here.

Recreational anglers will need to obtain a general recreational fishing license either through your state or through NMFS to fish recreationally for marine species.  More information can be found here. General information on all recreational fishing in our region can be found here.

Possession Limits and Fish Size Requirements

Possession Limits: The small-mesh multispecies fishery is managed as five stocks of three species of hakes: Northern silver hake, southern silver hake, northern red hake, southern red hake, and offshore hake. Silver hake and offshore hake are often grouped together and collectively referred to as "whiting.” Possession limits in this fishery can vary depending upon the stock, mesh size of the gear being used, and the exemption area being fished.

The table below shows the general possession limits for the fishery by target stock and mesh size.
Please note: These limits may differ within specific exemption areas.

Small-Mesh Multispecies Possession Limits by Stock and Mesh Size

Stock Mesh Size
<2.5 inches ≥2.5 inches, but <3 inches ≥3 inches
Northern Red Hake 3,000 lb 3,000 lb 3,000 lb
Northern Whiting 3,500 lb 7,500 lb 30,000 lb
Southern Red Hake 5,000 lb 5,000 lb 5,000 lb
Southern Whiting 3,500 lb 7,500 lb 40,000 lb

Please see the ‘Exempted Fisheries’ tab in the 'Commercial' section for trip limits within specific exemption areas.   

Fish Size Limits: There are no size limits for the small-mesh multispecies complex (all hake species, all stocks).

Minimum fish size: None

Maximum fish size: None

Gear Requirements

For the most part, the gear requirements for this fishery are determined by the exemption or regulated mesh area being fished. Please see the 'Areas' and ‘Exempted Fisheries’ tabs for more information on these specific gear requirements.

Raised Footrope Trawl

There are some standardized requirements for the raised footrope trawl that are required for four of the northern exempted fisheries (Raised Footrope Trawl Exempted Whiting Fishery (GOM and/or adjacent to Cape Cod) and Small-Mesh Areas 1 and 2). The trawl gear must be configured in such a way that, when towed, the footrope is not in contact with the ocean bottom. Vessels are presumed to be fishing in such a manner if their trawl gear is designed as specified below:

Headrope

  • Floats with a minimum diameter of 8 inches; must be attached along the entire length of the headrope with a maximum spacing of 4 feet between each float.

Ground Gear

  • Must be all bare wire; not larger than 1/2 inch in diameter for the top leg, not larger than 5/8 inch in diameter for the bottom leg, and not larger than 3/4 inch in diameter for the ground cables.
  • Top legs must be equal with bottom legs, with no extensions.
  • Total length of the ground cables must not be greater than 40 fathoms from the doors to the wing ends.

Footrope

  • Must be longer than the headrope (but not more than 20 feet longer than the headrope), and must be rigged so that it does not contact the bottom while fishing.

Drop Chains

  • Must be used with or without a chain sweep.
  • Must be 42 inches in length or greater.
  • The maximum size drop chain stock when used with a sweep is 5/16 inch; or 3/8-inch stock when no sweep is used.
  • Only bare chain may be used; cookies or additional weights on the drop chains are prohibited.
  • Must be hung from the center of the footrope and each corner (the quarter, or the junction of the bottom wing to the belly at the footrope).
  • Must be hung at 8-foot intervals along the footrope from the corners to the wing ends.

Sweep Specifications and Optional Sweepless Trawl
The raised footrope trawl may be used with or without a chain sweep.  The sweep, if used, must be rigged in the following manner:

  • The sweep must be bare chain, the same length as the footrope.  (Note: The required drop chains at the wing ends of the footrope effectively make the sweep 7 feet longer than the footrope.)
  • The maximum size of the sweep is 5/16-inch stock chain.
  • The sweep must be attached to the ends of the drop chains.
  • The center of the sweep must be attached to the drop chain from the center of the footrope.
  • The attachment points of each drop chain on the sweep and the footrope must be the same distance from the center drop chain attachments.
  • The ends of the sweep must be attached to the drop chains at the end of the footrope.

Administrative Information

Vessels fishing in the Cultivator Shoal, Raised Footrope Trawl, or Southern New England Exemption areas, and are transiting through the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank Regulated Mesh Area (RMA), with nets with mesh smaller than the minimum mesh size, and small mesh exempted species aboard, must obtain the GOM/GB RMA Transiting Letter of Authorization (LOA) by contacting the Greater Atlantic Region Permit Office at (978) 281-9370. 

Vessels fishing for whiting with small-mesh in the Raised Footrope Trawl Whiting Exempted Fishery Areas must carry an LOA issued by the Regional Administrator, valid for a minimum of 7 days. Participating vessels may withdraw from the program no earlier than 7 days from the date of enrollment. LOAs and withdrawals may be obtained from the Greater Atlantic Region Permit Office at (978) 281-9370.

Note: Vessels participating in the Raised Footrope Trawl Whiting Fishery may participate in other small-mesh exemption areas provided they adhere to the more restrictive gear, possession, and other requirements for the entire participation period specified in the LOA.

Regulated, Closed, and Access Areas

There are no closed areas specific to the small-mesh multispecies/whiting fishery; however, because the fishery operates primarily through exemptions from the Northeast Multispecies fishery, there are only specified areas where fishing for whiting may occur (typically exemption areas). See map below for areas where whiting are able to be fished in the region.

Small-Mesh Multispecies/Whiting Exemption Areas

Several specific areas within the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank Regulated Mesh Areas (RMAs) have established fishery exemptions for whiting, and whiting may be harvested throughout the entire Southern New England and Mid-Atlantic RMAs, under specific requirements.

List of Small-Mesh Multispecies/Whiting Exemption Areas:

Vessels may fish for whiting with small-mesh trawls only within the above designated exempted fishery areas, and provided they comply with the additional requirements and conditions specified in the regulations. See the 'Exempted Fisheries' tab for more information on each area and their specific requirements.

Note: Vessels fishing in the Raised Footrope Trawl Whiting Exempted Fishery are not held to the overlapping portion of the Gulf of Maine Rolling Closure Area V during October and November while participating in the Raised Footrope Trawl Exempted Whiting Fishery provided the vessel adheres to all the requirements of the exempted fishery.

Administrative Information

Vessels fishing for whiting with small-mesh in the Raised Footrope Trawl Whiting Exempted Fishery Areas must carry an LOA issued by the Regional Administrator, valid for a minimum of 7 days. Participating vessels may withdraw from the program no earlier than 7 days from the date of enrollment. LOAs and withdrawals may be obtained from the Greater Atlantic Region Permit Office at (978) 281-9370.

Note: Vessels participating in the Raised Footrope Trawl Whiting Fishery may participate in other small-mesh exemption areas provided they adhere to the more restrictive gear, possession, and other requirements for the entire participation period specified in the LOA.

Days-At-Sea (DAS) Requirements

The whiting fishery is not managed by a DAS system. Please see the "Quotas" and "Commercial>Limits / Sizes" tabs on this webpage for more information on effort control in the whiting fishery.

Exempted Fisheries

What is an Exempted Fishery?

Exempted fisheries allow fishing vessels to fish for specific species without being subject to certain northeast (NE) multispecies regulations, including days-at-sea (DAS), provided the bycatch of regulated species is minimal. To be approved and implemented, exemption programs must have demonstrated that incidental catch of NE multispecies is less than 5 percent of the total catch, by weight, and that the exemption will not jeopardize fishing mortality objectives.

How to Request Fishery Exemptions

An exempted fishery may be added, deleted, or modified pursuant to the procedure described below:

  1. Applicants must submit a written request to the Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930-2298. The request should describe the area in which the fishery would operate, the period in which it would operate, the gear it would use, the approximate number of vessels likely to participate, and the species it would target, retain, and land.
  2. Those proposing that a fishery should be exempt should describe the fishery and present all information possible that helps determine that the fishery meets the bycatch standard. The Regional Administrator will investigate NMFS data sources, but proposals for exemptions should be complete and clear to facilitate the process. State agencies and universities, for example, may have additional data available and applicants may contact them for assistance.
  3. When a request for an exempted fishery is submitted, the request and any accompanying data are reviewed by the Regional Administrator to determine whether such a fishery would meet the exemption qualifying criteria.  The Regional Administrator will also consult with the New England Fishery Management Council on any exemptions requested. This process may take several months to complete.

Small-Mesh Multispecies Fishery Exemptions

The small-mesh multispecies fishery is primarily managed under a series of fishery exemptions to the NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). As a result, the majority of the fishery (specific possession limits, gear restrictions, and other management measures) is determined by the exemption or regulated mesh area being fished.

Within the Gulf of Maine (GOM) and Georges Bank (GB) Regulated Mesh Areas (RMAs) there are five specific exempted fishing areas for small-mesh multispecies/whiting (see map at the bottom of the page), and whiting may be harvested throughout the entire Southern New England (SNE) and Mid-Atlantic (MA) RMAs, under specific requirements.

More specific details for each area can be found on the linked pages within the table below. A Letter of Authorization (LOA) is required to participate in some of these exempted fishing areas.  LOAs can be obtained from our Permits Office at (978) 282-8438 or here.

Small-Mesh Multispecies/Whiting Exemption Areas

Area Name Season LOA Required?
GOM Grate Raised Footrope Trawl Whiting Fishery Exemption Area July 1 - November 30 No
Cultivator Shoal Whiting Fishery Exemption Area June 15 - October 31 Yes
Small-Mesh Areas 1 & 2 SMA 1: July 15 - November 15
SMA 2: January 1 - June 30
No
Raised Footrope Trawl Exempted Whiting Fishery Areas (Cape Cod) September 1 - November 20 / December 31 Yes
SNE Exemption Area Year round No
Mid-Atlantic Exemption Area Year round No

Note: Whiting (combined silver hake and offshore hake) are also allowed as bycatch in the Northern Shrimp Fishery up to an amount equal to the weight of shrimp on board, not to exceed 3,500 pounds. Whiting on board a vessel subject to this possession limit must be separated from other species of fish and stored so as to be readily available for inspection.

GOM / GB Small-Mesh Multispecies (Whiting) Exemption Areas

Protected Resource and Marine Mammal Regulations

It is illegal to harvest or possess protected species unless otherwise specified under the regulations implementing the Endangered Species Act or Marine Mammal Protection Act.  Please see links below for more information or contact NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office Protected Resources Division at (978) 281-9328.

Protected Fish Species

Marine Mammals

  • Reporting injured or dead marine mammal caught in fishing gear

Sea Turtles

Trawl Gear

Marine Mammals

Sea Turtles

Weir/Seine Gear

Marine Mammals

Sea Turtles

Hakes/whiting are not typically targeted recreationally, but are legal to possess. There are currently no recreational possession, size, or gear restrictions for hakes/whiting caught in Federal waters. There are also no specific areas designated for a whiting recreational fishery.

General information on all recreational fisheries in our region can be found here.

Recreational anglers will need to get a general recreational fishing license either through your state or through NMFS to fish recreationally for marine species.  More information can be found here.

Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Requirements: There are no specific VMS requirements for vessels fishing in an exempted fishery for small-mesh multispecies. However, if the vessel has VMS requirements because of other permits held by the vessel, the vessel must declare DOF on their VMS unit when fishing for small-mesh multispecies within an exempted fishery. In some cases, another appropriate VMS code may be used, depending on the other permits and other species that may be landed on that trip or within the exempted fishery. For more information about VMS in the small-mesh multispecies fishery or assistance with your VMS codes, call our Office of Law Enforcement VMS team at (978) 281–9149, or visit the VMS website, here.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System Requirements: There are no IVR requirements for the small-mesh multispecies fishery.

Observer Requirements: There are no observer requirements for the small-mesh multispecies fishery; however, all federally permitted vessels are obligated to carry an observer if randomly selected by the National Observer Program.

Catch Reporting and Vessel Trip Reports (VTR): VTRs must be maintained on board the vessel and submitted to NMFS for all fishing trips, for regardless of species retained. Instructions for completing the VTR can be found here. VTRs must be submitted monthly by Tuesday of the week after the fishing trip ends. Copies of VTRs must be retained on board the vessel for 1 year after the date of the last entry on the log and otherwise retained for 3 years after the date of the last entry on the log.

Reporting is not required for the recreational fishery, but the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) is a system of voluntary coordinated data collection programs designed to estimate recreational catch and effort.