NOAA Fisheries Announces New Habitat Management Measures for New England Fisheries
April 3, 2018

NOAA Fisheries has approved measures of the New England Fishery Management Council’s Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2. This amendment updates the Essential Fish Habitat designations required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act with the latest scientific information, and minimizes the effect of fishing on that habitat while balancing the economic needs of the fishing industry.
The approved measures include:
• Revisions to the essential fish habitat designations for all New England Fishery Management Council-managed species and life stages;
• New Habitat Areas of Particular Concern to highlight especially important habitat areas;
• Revisions to the spatial management system within the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and the southern New England area to better align with scientific advice on how and where to protect essential fish habitat while balancing the economic needs of the fishing industry;
• Establishment of two Dedicated Habitat Research Areas, seasonal spawning protection measures, and a system for reviewing and updating the proposed measures.
The approved measures are effective on April 9, 2018.

Two important notes:
Closed Area I North will remain closed until April 15 to protect spawning. This closure applies to all fishing vessels, except vessels in transit, vessels fishing with exempted gears, vessels fishing in the mid-water trawl exempted fishery, charter and party vessels, private recreational vessels, and scallop dredges.
The Spring Massachusetts Bay Spawning Closure will be closed April 15-30. This closure applies to all vessels, except vessels without a federal northeast multispecies permit fishing exclusively in state waters, vessels fishing with exempted gears or in the mid-water trawl purse seine exempted fishery, scallop vessels on a day-at-sea, scallop vessels in the dredge exemption area, transiting vessels, and charter/party and private recreational vessels.
For more information, read the permit holder bulletin. Also, see the map of the final approved habitat areas below. The dashed lines show the boundaries of the existing closed areas and habitat closures.
Habitat Omnibus Amendment 2 Map
Fishing Industry: Moira Kelly, Regional Office, 978-281-9218 or David Stevenson, Regional Office, 978-281-9118.
Media: Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, 978-281-9175




February 28, 2018

NOAA Fisheries Announces Squid, Butterfish Quotas for 2018

NOAA Fisheries announces squid and butterfish quotas for the 2018 fishing year and projected squid and butterfish quotas for the 2019 and 2020 fishing years. We will maintain the mackerel quota previously set for 2018.
Based on the status of these stocks, we are reducing the 2018 commercial butterfish quota by 41 percent compared to 2017, and increasing longfin squid quota by 2 percent. Annual quotas for Illex squid remain at current levels, in effect since 2012.
A March 2017 butterfish assessment update indicated that recent low recruitment may soon reduce biomass below target levels. Assuming average recruitment in future years, butterfish quotas would increase in 2019 and 2020. As new information becomes available, we may revise these projected quotas.
Read the final rule filed today in the Federal Register and the bulletin sent to permit holders.
Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, at 978-281-9175.



February 14, 2018

NOAA Fisheries Announces Adjustments to the Atlantic Herring Management Area Annual Catch Limits
for Fishing Year 2018

NOAA Fisheries announces adjustments to the 2018 annual catch limits (ACLs) for the Atlantic herring fishery to account for carryover of unharvested catch from fishing year 2016.
Catch information for fishing year 2016 shows that sub-ACLs Areas 1A, 2, and 3 were under harvested and that the overall 2016 stock-wide ACL was not exceeded. Therefore, we are increasing the Area 1A, 2, and 3 2018 sub-ACLs to include the carryover of unharvested catch from the 2016 fishing year.
The stock-wide ACL is not increased by this action and is less than the sum of all four sub-ACLs.
The 2016 Area 1B sub-ACL was exceeded. Therefore, we are deducting this overage from the 2018 Area 1B sub-ACL.
For more details, please read the rule as filed in the Federal Register, and our permit holder bulletin.
Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, at 978-281-9175





February 2, 2018

GARFO Releases 2017 Year in Review Report

The Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office is proud to announce the release of our third annual Year in Review report.
In 2017, we continued to work toward our goals of sustainable use of living marine resources, conservation of the habitats upon which these resources depend, and the protection of endangered species and marine mammals.
In this report, we highlight some significant advances in conservation, such as finalizing the deep sea coral protection zones in the Mid-Atlantic, multiple successful projects to help fish get beyond barriers in rivers to spawn, and the designation of Atlantic sturgeon critical habitat. We helped save hundreds of sea turtles that had been trapped in the Gulf of Maine when water temperatures dropped, and we made good progress this year developing a system for storing fishery dependent data in a single database, which will greatly streamline the analysis of fish catches.
None of these accomplishments is ours alone. One of the keys to GARFO’s success is the dedication and commitment of our many partners. Indeed, one of the accomplishments of which we are most proud is our continued efforts to improve collaboration with our partner institutions.
We hope you will enjoy reading this short summary of GARFO’s highlights for the fiscal year 2017.
The report is available as a pdf on our website.
If you would like a printed copy, please contact Allison Ferreira at or 978-281-9103.


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