Surfclam and Ocean Quahog

Original FMP (1977)

  • Established management of surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries through September 1979
  • Established quarterly quotas for surfclams
  • Established annual quotas for ocean quahogs
  • Established effort limitation, permit, and logbook provisions
  • Instituted a moratorium on entry into the surfclam fishery for one year to allow time for the development of an alternative limited entry system such as a "stock certificate" program

Amendment 1 (1979)

  • Extended management authority through December 31, 1979
  • Maintained the moratorium

Amendment 2 (1979)

  • Extended the FMP through the end of 1981
  • Divided the surfclam portion of the management unit into the New England and Mid-Atlantic Area
  • Introduced a "bad weather make up day"
  • Maintained the moratorium in the Mid-Atlantic Area

Amendment 3 (1981)

  • Extended the FMP indefinitely
  • Imposed a 5.5" surfclam minimum size limit in the Mid-Atlantic Area
  • Expanded the surfclam fishing week in the Mid-Atlantic Area to Sunday - Thursday from Monday – Thursday
  • Established a framework basis for quota setting
  • Proposed a permit limitation system to replace the moratorium which was disapproved by NMFS
  • NMFS extended the moratorium  

Amendment 4 (1984)

  • Provided that any unharvested portion of a bimonthly allocation be added to the immediately following bimonthly allocation rather than being prorated over all remaining bimonthly periods and that trip and weekly limits be by vessel classes based on relative fishing power
  • Amendment 4 was implemented on an emergency basis for 180 days beginning 1 July 1984
  • NMFS subsequently determined that the document was not structurally complete for review

Amendment 5 (1985)

  • Allowed for revision of the surfclam minimum size limit provision
  • Extended the size limit throughout the entire fishery
  • Instituted a requirement that cages be tagged

Amendment 6 (1986)

  • Divided the New England Area into the Nantucket Shoals and Georges Bank Areas, the dividing line being 69° N Longitude
  • Combined the provisions of Amendment 4 with the Mid-Atlantic Council's Amendment 6 into one document
  • Replaced the bimonthly quotas with quarterly quotas
  • Eliminate the weekly landing limits for the Nantucket Shoals Area
  • Clarified the quota adjustment provisions for the Nantucket Shoals and Georges Bank Areas
  • Established one landing per trip provision

Amendment 7 (1987)

  • Changed the quota distribution on Georges Bank to equal quarterly quotas
  • Revised the roll over provisions

Amendment 8 (1988)

  • Replaced the regulated fishing time system in the surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries with an individual transferable quota (ITQ) system

Amendment 9 (1996)

  • Revised the overfishing definitions for surfclams and ocean quahogs in response to a scientific review by NMFS

Amendment 10 (1998)

  • Provided management measures for the small artisanal fishery for ocean quahogs (mahogany clams) off the northeast coast of Maine

Amendment 11 (1998)

  • Achieved consistency among Mid-Atlantic and New England FMPs on vessel replacement and upgrade provisions, permit history transfer and splitting and renewal regulations for fishing vessels issued Northeast Limited Access Federal Fishery permits

Amendment 12 (1998)

  • Brought the FMP into compliance with the new and revised National Standards and other requirements of the 1996 Sustainable Fisheries Act
  • Established a framework adjustment process
  • Implemented an Operator Permit requirement for fishermen that did not already have them for other fisheries
  • The Regional Administrator partially approved Amendment 12 with the exceptions of the proposed surfclam overfishing definition and the fishing gear impacts to EFH section. 

Amendment 13 (2003)

  • Appendices
  • Addressed various disapproved sections of Amendment 12 

Amendment 14 (2007)

  • Standardized bycatch reporting methodology

Framework 1 (2007)

  • Addressed issues related to Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) and enforcement

Amendment 16 (2011)

  • Established Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) and Accountability Measures (AMs)

Amendment 15 (2015)

  • Final Rule
  • Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology

Amendment 18 (2015)

  • Final Rule
  • Eliminated the requirement for vessel owners to submit "did not fish" reports for the months or weeks when their vessel was not fishing
  • Removed some of the restrictions for upgrading vessels listed on Federal fishing permits

Amendment 17 (2016)

  • Establishes a cost recovery program for the individual transferable quota (ITQ) fishery, as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. 
  • Contains provisions to remove the optimum yield ranges from the management plan and to change how biological reference points are incorporated into the plan.