No breaks for the groundfish industry: NMFS institutes crippling cuts for 2013

 GLOUCESTER, MA – The menacing threat that had filled industry members with worry and dread for many months became all too real by the May 1 start of the 2013 groundfish fishing year.

The day before, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a flurry of notices announcing final rules and allocations that delivered the very worst news – a 77% quota cut for Gulf of Maine cod and steep reductions for eight other stocks.

And, in one of the biggest blows of all, NMFS disapproved the New England Fishery Management Council’s request for a 1,150-metric-ton (mt) total allowable catch (TAC) for Georges Bank yellowtail flounder. Instead, the agency took emergency action to implement the 500-mt TAC recommended by the US/ Canada Transboundary Management Guidance Committee.

 We need to send a strong message to people that this is going to be a huge problem and it needs to be fixed relatively fast. —Terry Alexander

Another imminent crisis: Gulf of Maine haddock  MYSTIC, CT – Striving to ward off yet another impending catastrophe, the New England Fishery Management Council has asked the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to take emergency action to “attribute up to 10% of the Georges Bank haddock quota to the Gulf of Maine haddock quota” and visa versa, recognizing that fish from both stocks swim back and forth across what some call an “arbitrary” 42°20′ boundary line.


White hake assessment leads to quota increase  MYSTIC, CT – The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has taken emergency action to implement a 13% increase in the 2013 acceptable biological catch (ABC) for white hake.

 New minimum fish sizes to take effect July 1  GLOUCESTER, MA – Groundfish fishermen soon will be working under a new set of smaller minimum fish sizes intended to turn “discards into landings.”

Read the rest and much, much more in the June issue of Commercial Fisheries News. Read online immediately and download for future reference.