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Gulf of Maine habitat, spawning, research areas

DANVERS, MA – The New England Fishery Management Council’s habitat alternatives for the Gulf of Maine cover three distinct subregions – Eastern, Central, and Western – and include three options each for spawning area closures and Dedicated Habitat Research Areas (DHRAs).

Here are the habitat management alternatives:

•  Eastern Gulf of Maine – The council has proposed three alternatives for this region with Alternative 2 being “preferred.”  The preferred alternative would designate two new year-round management areas – a “Machias Habitat Management Area” and a “Large Eastern Maine Habitat Management Area.”

special-report-shUnder this alternative, the council is proposing one preferred option that would completely restrict the use of mobile bottom-tending gear in one or both of the management areas.  Its second preferred option is to restrict “all gears capable of catching groundfish” in addition to mobile bottom-tending gear.  Lobster traps would not be impacted by the restrictions.

•  Central Gulf of Maine – The council has proposed four alternatives for this region with Alternative 4 being “preferred.”  This alternative, when coupled with the council’s preferred gear option, calls for a prohibition on the use of mobile bottom-tending gear in modified versions of the current Jeffreys Bank and Cashes Ledge habitat closure areas and the establishment of a new habitat management area on Ammen Rock, which, under this preferred alternative, would be closed to all fishing gear and activities except lobster trapping.  And,

•  Western Gulf of Maine (WGOM) – The council has proposed eight alternatives here with Alternatives 1, 7a, and 8 being preferred.  In combination, these alternatives would retain the existing WGOM Habitat Closure Area and WGOM Closed Area as they are – so “no action” – but include an exemption for shrimp trawling in the northwestern portion of the WGOM Habitat Closure Area and define the current 12″ maximum diameter Inshore Roller Gear Restricted Area as a “habitat management measure.”

The combined preferred habitat alternatives for the Gulf of Maine can be seen on the accompanying chart (this page).

CFN_5_14coverRead the rest and much, much more in the May issue of Commercial Fisheries News.

Read online immediately and download for future reference.

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