The following was released by NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Office (GARFO):
NOAA Fisheries has approved Amendment 20 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan. The measures become effective on March 1, 2019.
Specifically, the final rule:
Separates the current longfin/butterfish moratorium permit to create a new butterfish moratorium permit and a separate longfin squid moratorium permit;
Creates a “Tier 1” longfin squid moratorium permit for vessels that landed at least 10,000 lb of longfin squid in any year from 1997-2013;
Creates a “Tier 2” longfin squid moratorium permit with a 5,000 lb possession limit for current moratorium permit holders that have not landed at least 10,000 lb of longfin squid in any year from 1997-2013;
Creates a new Tier 3 longfin squid incidental moratorium permit to enable vessels that landed at least 5,000 lb of longfin squid in any year from 1997-2013 to continue to land 2,500 lb of longfin squid per trip;
Allows individual entities issued multiple longfin squid moratorium permits a one-time opportunity to swap such permits among their vessels; and
Reduces the longfin squid possession limit from 2,500 lb to 250 lb for open access squid/butterfish incidental catch permits year-round and for all longfin squid permits after the Trimester II longfin squid quota is landed.
New longfin squid and butterfish permits will become effective on March 1, 2019 and will be issued by the Regional Administrator as follows:
Butterfish moratorium permits: The Regional Administrator will automatically issue a new butterfish moratorium permit to each vessel currently issued a 2018 longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit as part of the annual permit renewal process in February 2019.
Tiers 1 and 2 longfin squid moratorium permits: The Regional Administrator will automatically issue either a new Tier 1 or Tier 2 longfin squid moratorium permit to qualified vessels as part of the annual permit renewal process in February 2019.
Tier 3 longfin squid moratorium permits: Vessel owners may apply for a new Tier 3 longfin squid moratorium permit by filling out an application available on our forms web page through February 29, 2020. The Regional Administrator will issue a Tier 3 permit to qualified vessels based on their landings history.
To get all the details on these management measures, read the final rule as filed in the Federal Register today, and the permit holder bulletins posted on our website:
Fishermen: Contact Doug Christel, 978-281-9141 Media: Contact Jennifer Goebel, 978-281-9175