The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is extending through November the experimental fishery allowing a “short-soak” gillnet fishery for spiny dogfish to capitalize on remaining quota and allow a continuation of current fishing practices. All permit holders who applied for and received authorization for October will receive a new authorization letter for fishing through November 30.
Current regulations prohibit fishing for groundfish during the two-month (October-November) groundfish closure in Upper Cape Cod Bay and Massachusetts Bay. An existing exemption allows longlining for dogfish during the time/area closure. This experimental fishery allows the use of sink gillnets set for short soaks (a few hours). If successful, this activity could be added as a regulatory exemption in the future.
Eligible fishermen and vessels are those whose state permits already have a gillnet endorsement and are up to date with their trip-level reporting of landings. This experimental fishery will be conducted in the October-November “rolling closure” as defined in 322 CMR 8.12(2). Participation conditions and monitoring requirements will be established by a Letter of Authorization (LOA) issued by the Director to the permit holder. Nets fished in the special access area may not be left overnight and vessels must remain within 1 mile of their nets at all times in the area.