PORTLAND, ME – At its Jun. 20-22 meeting here, the New England Fishery Management Council tackled a slew of Atlantic sea scallop issues that included a comprehensive review of the limited access general category individual fishing quota (LAGC IFQ) program, approving research set-aside projects for 2018-2019, and recommending industry-requested scallop dredge exemption area expansions.
The second year of overage and early shutdown in the Northern Gulf of Maine Management Area harvest weighed heavily in two regulatory actions as the council chose a range of alternatives for draft Framework Adjustment 29 (FW29) and discussed setting a control date for LAGC (B), Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) permits, and LAGC (C), incidental permits.
The council initiated FW29 at its April meeting to begin the process of setting specifications for 2018-2019 and to address 2017 scallop fishery priorities set by the council last December.
FW29 will also address flatfish accountability measures (AMs) for Georges Bank yellowtail flounder (YTF), Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic YTF, and Northern windowpane. Gear modifications and possibly seasonal closures may be part of the mix of AMs.
But the top of the list was evaluating the NGOM total allowable catch (TAC), set at 70,000 lbs while the stock was recovering. An unknown biomass and high landings in 2016 led to concerns about how …
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