Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is authorizing an experimental fishery to allow a “strike-net” fishery for spiny dogfish through October to capitalize on remaining quota and to allow a continuation of current fishing practices. Current regulations prohibit fishing for groundfish during the 2-month (October-November) groundfish closure in Upper Cape Cod Bay and Mass. Bay. An existing exemption allows longlining for dogfish during the time/area closure. This experimental fishery will allow 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 (and possibly November) “rolling closures” 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.
The Division may place at-sea observers aboard participating vessels. Consequently, vessels must be up to date with all required safety equipment, including but not limited to: immersion suits/PFDs, throwable floatation device, life rafts (where required), first aid material, distress signals, fire extinguishing equipment, and radio. If regulatory discards become problematic, permits may be further conditioned to: (1) restrict fishing from certain areas, (2) modify fishing gear, or (3) end access.
For more information about this experimental fishery or to enroll, please send DMF by fax or email a request to participate with the following information:
- Your name
- DMF Permit ID
- Vessel name, length, and registration (or documentation number)
- Port you intend to fish from