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Fishermen gain monkfish relief in north – even on groundfish days

GLOUCESTER, MA – Vessels with Category C and D monkfish permits now will be able to land unlimited amounts of monkfish from the Northern Fishery Management Area for the rest of the 2013 fishing year while working under a monkfish or groundfish day-at-sea.

Peter K. Prybot/CFN photo

The landing-limit suspension became effective Oct. 28 after the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) extended a previous emergency action related to monkfish and significantly modified it.

The first action, which was in place from May 1 through Oct. 27, suspended monkfish limits for Category C and D boats fishing in the north under a monkfish day-at-sea.  But it provided no relief for fishermen catching monkfish on a groundfish day, where the monkfish limit remained capped at 25% of the total weight of fish on board, not to exceed 300 pounds of tail weight per day.  Groundfish sector boats still have to use a day-at-sea to land monkfish above incidental catch limits, which are very low.

As everyone well knows, the 2013 annual catch limits (ACLs) for many groundfish stocks were substantially reduced – in some cases to levels that clearly could not sustain the fleet.



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