Tag Archives: nefmc

NEFMC votes to set a future target of 100% monitoring coverage on sector based groundfish vessels

The council, deliberating online via webinar on Amendment 23, overwhelmingly approved the motion for its preferred alternative of 100% coverage level for sector vessels in the Northeast Multispecies groundfish fishery. But the motion, crafted through a morning and afternoon of rulemaking on the fly, included a valuable caveat for fishermen: The region’s commercial groundfish harvesters likely won’t have to pay the full costs for the monitoring for the first four years the amendment is in effect or as long as supporting federal funds last. According to the approved measure, the commercial fishing industry will receive federal reimbursements, or money from other federal mechanisms, for 100% of their electronic monitoring costs and 100% of their at-sea monitoring costs in the first four fishing years the amendment is in effect. >click to read< 07:41

NE Groundfish Fishery in Hail Mary mode – Monitor vote could be death knell for fleet

A quick recap: The council has been working on Amendment 23 for more than two years. It seems like 50. The amendment will set future monitoring levels for sector-based groundfish vessels. The council faces four alternatives: Monitors aboard 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% of groundfish trips. The council has chosen 100% coverage as its preferred alternative. That’s not good for the groundfishermen. Once the federal government stops harvesting spare change from between the sofa cushions to keep reimbursing the fleet for at-sea monitoring, the onus for paying falls on the fishermen at a current tune of about $700 per day per vessel. >click to read< Online access to the meeting is available by >clicking this link< 10:24

NEFMC will vote Sept. 30 on changing requirements for groundfish monitoring, fishermen have mixed responses

Commercial fisherman Randy Cushman walks on top of his boat where he measures fish in front of electronic monitoring cameras, pictured to the right. Cushman is among a handful of New England fishermen who use electronic monitoring instead of a traditional human observer to track what they catch and discard.  The New England Fisheries Management Council (NEFMC) is scheduled to vote on changes to its groundfish management plan at a virtual meeting Sept. 30, culminating four years of research. “If we’re going to have accurate stock assessments, we need 100 percent coverage under this management system,” said Cushman. But, the prospect of increased monitoring concerns Terry Alexander, a fisherman who represents Maine on the NEFMC and operates his 62-foot boat out of Massachusetts. >click to read< 10:57

Fishermen, state leaders push back against at-sea monitoring proposal

The New England Fisheries Management Council (NEFMC) is considering Amendment 23 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) that would require groundfishing vessels to implement 100% at-sea monitoring or a blended approach of at-sea monitoring and electronic monitoring. The proposed change seeks to improve catch accountability in the fishery, but fishermen argue this particular proposal is overly burdensome and unnecessary to achieve the stated goal,,, Overall, fishermen across Massachusetts fear this proposed policy would incur overly burdensome costs on an already struggling fleet, accelerating the expiration date of the fishery.” >click to read< 11:52

Family Fishermen Move to Block Industry-Killing At-Sea Monitoring Rule

Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute) today filed a motion for summary judgement on behalf of a group of New Jersey fishermen, asking a D.C. Federal Court to vacate job-killing fisheries regulations called the “Omnibus Amendment.” CoA Institute filed suit in February to challenge the industry-killing rule, which requires certain boats in the Atlantic herring fishery to carry “at-sea monitors” at their own cost. The Omnibus Amendment—designed by the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) and finalized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Commerce—is expected to cost fishermen upwards of $700 a day, leading to a projected 20% drop in returns-to-owner (profit). Not only is this industry already overregulated, but the agencies are forcing this unlawful rule upon fisherman without any statutory authority to do so. >click to read< 15:25

New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Portsmouth, N.H. January 28-30. 2020

The New England Fishery Management Council will be meeting at the Portsmouth Event Center, 100 Deer Street at 22 Portwalk Place, Portsmouth, N.H.  To read the final agenda, >click here< Register for webinar >click here< to listen live. 12:48

Northeast Seafood Coalition questioning the NEFMC fish monitoring regulation process

The New England Fishery Management Council is set to resume action on the contentious groundfish monitoring amendment next week, but the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition is questioning whether the council is rushing its own process and operating with incomplete information. The council, scheduled to meet for three days next week in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, will return Wednesday to the arduous task of completing Amendment 23, which will set monitoring levels for vessels operating within the Northeast multispecies groundfish fishery. >click to read< 13:36

Scallop season is underway

The scallop fishing season got underway in eastern Maine earlier this month and is already making news. In the waters between eastern Penobscot Bay and Cobscook Bay, the season for the handful of licensed scallop divers began Nov. 18 but the draggers couldn’t go to work until Dec. 2. In Cobscook Bay, the season for draggers also began Dec. 2 but divers had to wait until Dec. 5 to brave the chilly, turbulent waters way Downeast. >click to read< 20:14

CLF says nothing short of an end to directed fishing – Another cut in cod fishing not enough for environmentalists

Fishing regulators are proposing another cutback to the catch limits for Atlantic cod, but some environmentalists say the move isn’t significant enough to slow the loss of the species. Atlantic cod fishing was once one of the biggest marine industries in New England, but the fishery has deteriorated after years of overfishing and environmental changes. Fishermen caught less than 2 million pounds of the fish in 2017, decades after routinely catching more than 100 million pounds annually in the early 1980s. It was the worst year for the fishery in its history. >click to read< 10:31

Coast Guard Report: Catch misreported on 350 fishing trips by Northeast multispecies groundfishery vessels

In its 21-page report, the Coast Guard said the analysis by its Boston-based First District enforcement staff identified more than 350 vessel trips during the period of 2011 to 2015 in the Northeast multispecies groundfishery “where there appears to be evidence of misreporting.” The analysis placed a particular focus on potential misreporting by vessels fishing in seasonal fisheries or fishing the same stock in more than one stock area. The goal of the misreporting, according to the report, is to keep fishing without exceeding catch limits and annual catch entitlements. >click to read< 07:10

NEFMC Groundfish Catch Share Program Review Public Meeting Jul. 26, 2019

The evaluation period for this review is focused strictly on fishing years 2010 to 2015, spanning from May 1, 2010 through April 30, 2016. This period covers the first six years of the catch share program under Amendment 16 to the FMP. Information prior to program implementation also will be included for fishing years 2007 to 2009, covering May 1, 2007 through April 30, 2010.,,,The meeting, which will run from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., will be held in Portsmouth, NH – July 26 at Portsmouth High School, 50 Andrew Jarvis Drive >click to read<20:08

New England Joins Mid-Atlantic to Require eVTRs for Vessels with Federal Commercial Permits for Council-Managed Species

The New England Fishery Management Council is taking steps to bring all commercial fishermen who hold federal permits for Council-managed species into the digital age by requiring vessel trip reports (VTRs) to be submitted electronically instead of on paper. These electronic reports are known as eVTRs, and this proposed action will apply to all of the Council’s fishery management plans. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) has been working since December of 2018 on a Commercial eVTR Omnibus Framework Actionthat would apply to all vessels with federal commercial permits for MAFMC-managed species, which include,,, >click to read< 17:41

Groundfish Catch Share Program Review: Public Meetings Scheduled for July/August in Ports From Maine to New York

The New England Fishery Management Council is conducting a review of the groundfish sector system, which is a catch share program under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The public is encouraged to provide comments during an upcoming series of port meetings or in writing until August 19, 2019. The review focuses on the first six years of the catch share program under Amendment 16 to the FMP, covering fishing years 2010 to 2015, which span from May 1, 2010 through April 30, 2016. Information prior to the program’s implementation also will be included for fishing years 2007 to 2009. This period covers May 1, 2007 through April 30, 2010. The Council contracted with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) to conduct the port meetings. All nine meetings, which extend from Maine to New York, will run from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Here are the dates and locations. >click to read< 16:25

Herring cuts another headache for lobstermen

Maine lobstermen are catching it coming and going, but the “it” ain’t lobsters. Last month, the lobster industry found itself confronted with a demand from federal fisheries regulators that it reduce the risk it posed to endangered right whales by 60 percent and began the arduous task of figuring out how to remove half the vertical buoy lines attached to lobster traps from the water. Though it came as no surprise, earlier this month the New England Fishery Management Council announced that the already scant amount of herring allowed to be caught off the coast of New England would be further reduced in 2020 and 2021. >click to read<11:34

NEFMC Initiates Monkfish-Skate Specifications; Approve Monkfish RSA Priorities; Discuss Skate Limited Access

The New England Fishery Management Council covered several issues related to monkfish and skates during its mid-June meeting in So. Portland, Maine. The Monkfish and Skate Plan Development Teams (PDTs) will work on specifications and related measures over the summer and report back to their respective committees and advisory panels.,,, Monkfish Research Set-Aside Program The Council approved the following research priorities for the upcoming 2020-2021 RSA request for proposals. These are ranked in order of preference. Monkfish RSA Priorities for 2020-2021 >click to read<16:45

N.E. Fishery Management Council Hosts Offshore Wind Session; Discusses EBFM, Commercial eVTRs, and Research Set-Aside Program Review

Council Hosts Offshore Wind Special Session; The Council reaffirmed its commitment to stay engaged in tracking ongoing offshore wind developments and will continue to provide comments during appropriate opportunities along the way. All presentations and documents are available – Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management (EBFM), Commercial Electronic Vessel Trip Reporting (eVTR), ResearchSet-Aside (RSA) Program Review, lots of links! >Click to read the various details of these issues.<13:18

NEFMC Public Hearing Sessions for Limiting Entry to Federal For-Hire Groundfish Fishery

The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) has scheduled a series of public listening sessions throughout New England. The purpose of the sessions is to have preliminary public discussions on the possibility of developing an amendment to the Northeast Multispecies Groundfish FMP to establish a limited access program for the party and charter boat fishery. >click to read dates, time, and place< 15:55

CoA Institute Highlights Deficiencies in Proposed Rule to Shift Burdensome Costs of At-Sea Monitoring to Commercial Fishermen

The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), in coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), seeks to approve and implement a controversial set of regulatory amendments that would create a new industry-funding requirement for at-sea monitoring in the Atlantic herring fishery and, moreover, create a standardized process for introducing similar requirements in other New England fisheries. Under the so-called Omnibus Amendment, the fishing industry would be forced to bear the burdensome cost of allowing third-party monitors to ride their boats in line with the NEFMC’s supplemental monitoring goals. This would unfairly and unlawfully restrict economic opportunity in the fishing industry. >click to read<14:29

NEFMC Approves Atlantic Herring Amendment 8; Asks NMFS to Set 2019 Catch Limits

On September 25 during its meeting in Plymouth, MA, the New England Fishery Management Council approved Amendment 8 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan. The Council also asked the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS, NOAA Fisheries) to develop an in-season action to set 2019 specifications for the herring fishery.   ABC Control Rule: The acceptable biological catch (ABC) control rule is a formula that will be used to set annual catch limits. The Council considered close to a dozen alternatives that would allow different levels of fishing mortality depending on the estimated level of herring biomass in the ecosystem.,,  Potential Localized Depletion and User Conflicts –Buffer Zone, Stock Status and 2019 Catch Limits,,, >click to read<21:34

2018-2019 Monkfish Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program

Three new cooperative research projects announced today will improve understanding of monkfish biology and how to reduce catch of skates in monkfish gillnet gear. The projects are possible because of an innovative program established by the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils, and managed by NOAA Fisheries in the region. Under it, monkfish fishing days are set-aside each year and revenue generated from the sale of those days are used to pay for research projects. Award recipients for the 2018-2019 Monkfish Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program include the Coonamessett Farm Foundation, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, and the University of New England. >click to read<10:08

NEFMC Discusses Offshore Wind, Clam Dredge FW, Skates, Groundfish, Herring, IFM, and More at Mid-April Meeting

The New England Fishery Management Council met April 17-19 in Mystic, CT and discussed a wide range of issues that touched on everything from industry-funded monitoring to offshore wind, Clam Dredge Framework, Skate Wing Fishery, Northeast Multispecies -Groundfish, Atlantic Herring –River Herring/Shad, The New England Council paid tribute to two retiring Council members –Mark Alexander of Connecticut, left, who served on the Council for 10 years, and Mark Gibson of Rhode Island, >click to read<15:16

NEFMC: Scallops, Council Approves Framework 29 – Whiting, Approves 2018-2020 Specifics; to Send Amendment 22 to Public Hearing

The Council took two actions today related to small-mesh multispecies, which include two stocks of silver hake and offshore hake –collectively known as “whiting” –and two stocks of red hake. click here to read the notice 16:37
The Council today approved a sweeping package of measures for Framework Adjustment 29 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan. The framework includes specifications for the 2018 scallop fishing year, which begins April 1, as well as default specifications for 2019. It also includes actions related to Closed Area 1 carryover pounds, the Northern Gulf of Maine Management Area, and flatfish accountability measures, among others. click here to read the notice

How To Play The Game

Sam Parisi writes – To me this whole fishing industry is a big game. I remember a song by Paul Anka, in part it says love’s a game a game you just can’t win. Over the years fisherman have attended many meetings held by NOAA and the NEFMC and results are always the same in spite of what fisherman say. It seems the council has already decided what they intend to do any way. I was ready to go to yesterdays meeting, but wanted to know what it was about so if I spoke, I know what I was talking about. click here to read the rest 00:10

Cape fishermen push for action on habitat protection

Part of managing fisheries is identifying and protecting that habitat. But the ocean is a big place and a difficult environment to do analysis. Politically, it’s also fractious terrain as fishermen worry about the balance between conservation and being shut out of traditional and productive fishing grounds. And so, it took 14 years for the New England Fishery Management to craft regulations protecting fish habitat, passing Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 in June of 2015. But after over two years of review by the council and the National Marine Fisheries Service, it still hasn’t been implemented,,, click here to read the story 11:19

Coral plan threatens fishing grounds

 The NEFMC is working with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to preserve deep-sea corals from the Canadian border to Virginia. Area lobstermen could lose valuable fishing grounds if a federal proposal to close four areas of Gulf of Maine waters comes to fruition. The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) has drafted a plan that would close a span of 161 square miles offshore to commercial fishing in an effort to conserve deep-sea coral there. Two of those areas, Mount Desert Rock in Lobster Management Zone B and Outer Schoodic Ridge in Lobster Management Zone A, are preferred fishing grounds for local fishermen when lobster head further offshore in the winter. The other proposed offshore closure areas lie in Jordan Basin and Lindenkohl Knoll to the south.  Read the story here 09:34

Warming waters have fish on the move. Regulators need to act now! Captain Sam Novello, Gulf of Maine Fisherman

T0 NOAA & NEFMC – Because of our warming ocean temperatures fish & squid stocks are moving into north for cooler waters to survive. In the near future , these stocks will be moving into the  waters and these stocks will be more abundant there than in the southern  waters. Most Gulf of Maine fishermen have very little quota of these stocks and most have no quota at all!  Our  regulators and the NEFMC should be addressing the issue now. Today in the Gulf of Maine, most of fishermen and boats are now out of commercial  fishing. At one time there was 2500 fishing  permits in the fishing  industry. Today I believe there about 200 active permits left. Most  of these permits are  small family day boats who are struggling to stay in business fishing. It would  be  a devastating disaster to our natural fishing resources and having Gulf of Maine fishermen dump these fish because of  lack of quota. Regulators and Management should consider using incidental catch limits on new stocks. Example- 2000 lbs, per trip. All Gulf of Maine communities and  fishermen would  benefit by using  incidental  catch limits in Gulf of Maine waters!  Captain Sam Novello, Gulf of Maine Fisherman 15:01

Gloucester Fisheries Commission opposes limited access to the historically open-access whiting fishery

manatthewheelA mere two days after the NEFMC received its first look at the proposals being generated by its whiting advisory panel and whiting committee, Gloucester commission members raised concerns over the impact the proposals could have on the city’s whiting fleet — particularly the small boats. “We should not allow any other species to go under limited access,” said commission member Angela Sanfilippo, also the president of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association. “This is a healthy stock and I am totally against limited access.” Sanfilippo’s views were echoed by member Joe Orlando and Chairman Mark Ring. The three proposals to potentially limit access to the fishery are contained in currently being developed by the council. The council’s whiting committee hopes to furnish a more finished product at the council’s next meeting in late January. The city fisheries commission, however, wasn’t waiting around for the council staff’s final analysis. It voted 6-0 to oppose any attempts to limit access to Ipswich Bay for the local whiting fleet. Read the story here 08:49

NEFMC Press Release: Council Approves 2017 US/Canada TACs; hears FW 56 progress

us-canadian-tacsNEFMC approves the 2017 total allowable catch for three groundfish stocks on Georges Bank. The agreement sets the shared TAC at 730 metric tons.The U.S. will be allowed to take 146 metric tons and Canada will get the rest.  Read the rest here 17:31

“Corrupt” goings on? Fishery council decision endangers scallop stock

PewOutdoor writer Bill Biswanger received a letter from Jason Colby, who is a charter-boat captain and sits on the board of directors for non-commercial fishermen here in Massachusetts about the nasty — he calls it “corrupt” — goings-on in the scallop fishery. He told me how Eddie Welch, a shellfish advisor, had written to him about the problem down on the Cape and wanted to share this with me and the readers. Here are excerpts from his letter: “A recent controversial decision to open select scallop grounds off the coast of New England to certain select fishing groups undermines sustainable scallop management, and threatens the future health of one of the region’s most valuable resources. Read the rest here 08:48

Fishermen Plan Demonstration during NEFMC Meeting in Plymouth Wednesday, 2 to 4 p.m.

The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance is the group spearheading Wednesday’s demonstration, which is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. outside the fisheries council meeting at the Radisson hotel on Water Street in Plymouth. Stephen Welch, who lives in Hanover and fishes out of Scituate and Hyannis, plans to be at Wednesday’s demonstration. “I used to have two boats and eight employees. Now I have one boat and one employee,” said Welch, a member of Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, a fishermen-led organization. Read the rest here 07:52