April 30, 1999 -- Closure and Trip Limits are Part of Framework 27

NMFS Northeast Region

News

Fishing Restrictions to Protect Gulf of Maine Cod Go into Effect May 1

New closure and cod trip limits begin tomorrow; haddock trip limits also adjusted

Gloucester, Mass. -- A new area closure and new trip limits go into effect tomorrow to give added protection to the overfished groundfish stocks in the Gulf of Maine. The new measures are part of Framework 27, an adjustment to the Multispecies (groundfish) Management Plan developed by the New England Fishery Management Council and approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Additional Framework 27 measures will take effect June 10.

The new closure runs from Salem harbor in Massachusetts up the coast to Biddeford, Maine, and approximately 40 nautical miles offshore. The closure lasts until the end of May and modifies and/or replaces existing closures in the Gulf of Maine. In June the closure area shifts north, covering most Maine inshore waters and an area from Biddeford north to Penobscot Bay and out to the Hague Line.

The new trip limits under Framework 27 reduce allowable cod catch to 200 pounds per day-at-sea. The daily trip limit for haddock is 2,000 pounds per day-at-sea, with a maximum of 20,000 pounds per fishing trip. Framework 27 also authorizes the NMFS Northeast Regional Administrator to adjust trip limits during the fishing season, if necessary.

For Immediate

Release

April 30, 1999

Contact:

George Liles

PH: (508)495-2378

FAX: (508)495-2258

NR99-05

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NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service * One Blackburn Drive * Gloucester, MA * 01930


NMFS Northeast Region

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Framework 27

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"Historically, May has been a month of very high cod landings in the Gulf of Maine," Pat Kurkul, NMFS assistant regional administrator for the Northeast, said. "The new measures are absolutely necessary to avoid potentially irreparable damage to the cod stock in the Gulf of Maine."

"However, there is some good news in that the haddock trip limit under Framework 27 is higher than it would have been under previous regulations," Kurkul said. "This is possible because the haddock stock is rebuilding under a successful management plan."

The Framework 27 measures that go into effect June 10 include an increase in required minimum square mesh size in the Gulf of Maine and Southern New England regulated mesh areas, a limit on roller and rockhopper gear to a maximum diameter of 12 inches in a specified inshore area, and clarification of the method for determining which fish parts and fillets are counted toward possession and landing limits.

Details on the Framework 27 closure and other information about Framework 27 measures is available from NOAA's Northeast Fisheries 24-hour Information Line at 978-281-9278. The first option at that number allows the caller to request a fax of the permit holder letter that outlines the measures in Framework 27, including the coordinates of the closed areas and descriptive maps.

Framework 27 details are also available online at: www.nero.nmfs.gov/ro/doc/nr.htm

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