The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) has decided to continue this pilot program, as its success last winter helped the offshore winter fluke fishery fill the annual quota and reduce fluke discards.  Beginning on December 18, 2011 MarineFisheries will reauthorize the Winter Fluke Fishery Pilot Program.  To capitalize on the remaining 2011 annual commercial fluke quota and increase access to the 2012 Period I commercial fluke allocation, authorized pilot program participants will be permitted to land 2,000 lbs of fluke per week until 25% of the overall 2012 quota is caught.  Any vessel not authorized to participate in the fishery will continue to be subject to the existing 300 lb. daily trip limit through December 31 and the 500 lb. daily trip limit effective February 1, as established at 322 CMR 6.22.

For reporting purposes, a week is considered Sunday through Saturday.  The special authorization for a 2,000 lb. weekly landing limit will be enforced through dealer records and Vessel Trip Reports (VTR’s).  Any authorized vessel that intends on landing in multiple states within the same week will still be subject to the 2,000 lb. weekly trip limit, if the vessel lands in Massachusetts.

To obtain a letter of authorization (LOA) to participate in this pilot program, please send, fax or e-mail a request to MarineFisheries, at the contact information below.  Requests must include your vessel name, vessel length, vessel documentation number, commercial fishing permit number, and the name and port of the wholesale dealer that you intend on offloading at and selling your product to.  Please note the wholesale dealer you identify must report their fluke transactions daily through the SAFIS database.      

Jared Silva
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
251 Causeway Street, Suite 400
Boston, MA 02114
Fax: 617-626-1509