April 19, 2017 — The following was released by the New England Fishery Management Council:
The New England Fishery Management Council today approved a wide range of alternatives for further analysis in Whiting Amendment 22, which is being developed to potentially limit access to the small-mesh multispecies fishery. Five stocks are part of this fishery. The first three – northern silver hake, southern silver hake, and offshore hake – are collectively referred to as “whiting,” and the other two stocks are northern red hake and southern red hake.
The amendment contains three major components:
- Limited access qualification criteria (see table at right);
- Possession limits by permit type;
- Permit “characteristics and conditions” that could apply if limited access is adopted.
The public will have several opportunities to comment on the alternatives. At its June or September meeting – depending on how long it takes to complete the necessary analyses – the Council will select “preferred alternatives” from the analyzed range. Then, the amendment will go out to public hearing in the summer or fall. The Council is not expected to take final action on Amendment 22 until fall or early winter.