NMFS shifts harbor porpoise closure to Feb/March

PLYMOUTH, MA – At the eleventh hour, the fiercely determined Northeast Seafood Coalition was able to convince the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to shift the timing of its harbor porpoise Coastal Gulf of Maine Consequence Closure from October/ November to February/March, which the coalition argued would be better for both harbor porpoise and gillnet fishermen.

NMFS had denied the coalition’s initial Aug. 10 request to alter the closure. But then, during an impassioned face-to-face meeting on Sept. 21 in Gloucester, NMFS Northeast Regional Administrator John Bullard agreed to have his staff review the request once again after hearing persuasive arguments from Northeast Seafood Coalition leaders and multiple stakeholders.

Five days later, on Sept. 26 during the New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Plymouth, Bullard announced he had decided to go ahead and shift the closure period – for one year only – to February/March.


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