Northeast multispecies fishery management plan, Cape Cod spiny dogfish exemption areas : environment assessment, regulatory impact review, initial regulatory flexibility analysis
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Northeast multispecies fishery management plan, Cape Cod spiny dogfish exemption areas : environment assessment, regulatory impact review, initial regulatory flexibility analysis
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  • Alternative Title:
    Cape Cod spiny dogfish exemption areas ; Interim final rule to implement a northeast (NE) multispecies exempted fishery for the spiny dogfish fishery in the waters east and west of Cape Cod, MA, RIN 0648-BC50 ; Draft, Cape Cod spiny dogfish exempted fishery EA ;
  • Description:
    "The Regional Administrator (RA) of the Northeast Region of the National Marine Fisheries Service (RA) has the authority to review and approve exempted fishery requests if data show that they meet the requirements dictated by the Northeast (NE) multispecies fishery regulations (50 CFR 648.80). Representatives from the NE multispecies fleet submitted two separate exempted fishery request to the RA in December 2011, requesting that the RA consider an exempted fishery for spiny dogfish in a portion of the Gulf of Maine (GOM) and Inshore Georges Bank (GB) when fishing with gillnet, longline, and handgear (Figure 1). For an exempted fishery to be approved it must be shown, using the best available data, that the bycatch of regulated multispecies in the proposed fishery will be less than 5% of the total catch. Data from the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program (NEFOP) and at-sea monitors (ASM) were compiled and analyzed with reference to groundfish vessels using gillnet, longline, and handgear in the area requested. Upon initial review of the requested exempted fishery, it was clear that the original request would not meet the requirements for an exempted fishery. However, a large grouping of trips that were below the 5% threshold did emerge just to the east of Cape Cod, MA. Therefore, NMFS developed and considered three options, including No Action. Option 1 would allow fishing in this area from June through December for longline and gillnet gear and June through August for handgear. Option 2 analyzes an exemption for longline, gillnet, and handgear in the area year-round. Data from 2010 and 2011 show that if Option 1 is selected, it is likely that bycatch of regulated species (primarily Atlantic cod, pollock, Atlantic halibut, windowpane flounder, winter flounder, and haddock) would be below the 5% threshold for all trips that would occur under this exemption. On October 19, 2012, NMFS published a proposed rule for this action. During the public comment period, NMFS received a comment that we should consider including the portion of Cape Cod Bay south of 42° N in the exemption area. It was our initial determination that there was not enough data to exempt the area from the requirements of the NE multispecies regulations. Based on this comment, we made an additional data request to the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries (MA DMF). MA DMF was able to provide some supplementary trips in the area from a historical dataset. When the area was expanded to include the portion of Cape Cod Bay west of 70° W and south of 42° 11.5' N, there were a total of 11 trips. Therefore, NMFS developed an additional alternative (Alternative 2) to create an exemption area to target spiny dogfish in this portion Cape Cod Bay. There was not sufficient data in other months of the year in this area to consider a year-round exemption. Further, there were some trips in these months that exceeded the 5% NE multispecies threshold. So a yearround option was not a viable option"--Executive summary (page 2).
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