For Immediate Release - December 14, 2012

Notice of Public Hearings on January 17, 2013: State Waters Flounder and Monkfish, Recreational Groundfish and Declaring Lobster Management Areas

Under the provisions of M.G.L. c. 30A and pursuant to the authority found at M.G.L. c. 130 § 17A and 21, the Division of Marine Fisheries and the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission have scheduled a public hearing and public comment period to accept comment on regulations to amend 322 CMR 6.00 and 7.00.  The Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission will vote to approve these proposed regulations at their February 7, 2013 business meeting.  The proposed regulations will:

  1. Codify as a permanent regulation recently enacted emergency action [322 CMR 6.03] pertaining to winter flounder harvest to comply with the interstate fishery management plan:
    1. Raise the commercial Gulf of Maine winter flounder trip limit from 250 to 500 lbs.; and
    2. Eliminate the two month (September and October) recreational closed season.
  2. Proposal to amend multispecies groundfish possession limits (322 CMR 6.03) to compliment federal regulations:
    1. to create a whole monkfish to monkfish tail weight ratio (2.91:1)  and in accordance with this change increase the monkfish tail possession limit from 470 to 536 lbs.;
    2. require that monkfish livers are not possessed or landed in excess of 25% the whole weight or 10% the tail weight of the possessed monkfish [322 CMR 6.03];
    3. prohibit the recreational possession and landing of ocean pout and windowpane flounder.
  3. Clarify the commercial permit requirement for all lobster permit holders regardless of gear type to  declare the lobster management area(s) they intend to fish in a calendar year as part of the annual permit application or renewal.  Any permit holder having their permit endorsed for more than one Lobster Management Area will be required to abide by the most restrictive rules of those areas [322 CMR 6.02, 6.31 and 7.01].

Public Hearing Schedule

Thursday, January 17, 2013 at the MarineFisheries Annisquam River Station, 30 Emerson Avenue Gloucester, MA 01930.  From 10:00 – 11:00 AM.

Public comments will be accepted until 5PM on Tuesday, January 15, 2013.  Please e-mail all public comments to jared.silva@state.ma.us or send to 251 Causeway Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02114.

For further information or to obtain a copy of the full regulations please contact Jared Silva by phone (617-626-1534) or through e-mail (jared.silva@state.ma.us), or visit our website (www.mass.gov/marinefisheries).