NOAA Fisheries Sets 2019 Management Measures for Northeast Groundfish

We are approving Framework 58 and implementing new catch limits for seven groundfish stocks for the 2019 fishing year (May 1, 2019 – April 30, 2020), including the three stocks managed jointly with Canada. These revised catch limits are based upon the results of stock assessments conducted in 2018.

In 2019, commercial groundfish quotas increase for four stocks from 2018: Georges Bank cod (+15%), Georges Bank haddock (+20%), Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder (+31%), and Acadian redfish (+2%); and decrease for three stocks: Gulf of Maine haddock (-5%), Georges Bank yellowtail flounder (-50%), and American plaice (-7%).

Framework 58 also:

Exempts vessels fishing exclusively in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area (i.e., in international waters) from the domestic groundfish fishery minimum fish sizes to allow them to better compete in the international frozen fish market.

Extends the temporary change to the scallop accountability measure implementation policy for Georges Bank yellowtail flounder to provide the scallop fishery with flexibility to adjust to current catch conditions while still providing an incentive to avoid yellowtail flounder.

Revises or creates rebuilding plans for five stocks: Georges Bank winter flounder, Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder, witch flounder, northern windowpane flounder, and ocean pout.

In this rule, we are also announcing:

Reductions to the 2019 commercial quota for Gulf of Maine cod by 29.2 mt because the quota was exceeded in 2017.

A permanent extension of the annual deadline to submit applications to lease groundfish days-at-sea between vessels from March 1 to April 30 (the end of the fishing year); and

Changes to the regulations to clarify that vessels must report catch by statistical area when submitting catch reports through their vessel monitoring system.

Read the final rule as filed today in the Federal Register and the permit holder bulletin available on our website.

Fishermen: Contact Mark Grant, Regional Office, 978-281-9145

Media: Contact Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, 978-281-9175