The Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries), with the approval of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission, is taking two separate actions to liberalize the commercial scup fishing limits. For the period of October 11 through October 31, MarineFisheries has eliminated the closed fishing days on Fridays and Saturdays and raising the daily trip limits to 2,500 pounds for all gear types. This will improve the probability of landing the state’s 1.98 million pound May – October commercial quota. Additionally, MarineFisheries is establishing an 8,000 pound daily trip limit for the November 1 – December 31 federally managed Winter II period.
The scup fishery management plan (FMP) allocates the annual scup quota among three distinct temporal periods: Winter I (January – April); Summer (May – October); and Winter II (November – December). The Winter I period is allocated 45.11% of the overall quota and is managed on a coast-wide basis by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The summer period is allocated 38.95%, which is managed on a state-to-state basis with each state receiving their own state specific quota share based on historic landings. Lastly, the Winter II Period is allocated 15.94% of the overall quota and is managed on a coast-wide basis by NMFS.
For 2013, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was allocated a 1.98 million pounds quota for its summer fishery. Despite this spring’s liberalizations to the state’s commercial scup fishing regulations, approximately 750,000 pounds of scup remain on this quota. With scup still available in state waters and the adjacent federal waters, MarineFisheries and the MFAC are taking this opportunity to further liberalize the commercial scup limits for this period. This will be accomplished by increasing trip limits to 2,500 pounds for all gear types and eliminating Friday and Saturday as no fishing days. This action should provide our state’s fishermen with more opportunity to harvest the remaining scup quota.
For the 2013 federally managed Winter II fishery, MarineFisheries and the MFAC are increasing trip limits to 8,000 pounds for the period of November 1 – December 31 to compliment the federal landing limit. This will allow Massachusetts permitted vessels to possess and land scup in Massachusetts in accordance with the established federal limit. The Winter I fishery had an underage of 3.2 million pounds. This underage was rolled over into the Winter II quota. According to the scup FMP, if the Winter I rollover exceeds 2 million pounds the Winter II trip limit may be set as high as 8,000 pounds. On August 7, 2013 to set the federal Winter II possession and landing limit at 8,000 pounds.
MarineFisheries will be accepting comments on only the adjustments to the October scup limits through Wednesday, October 30, 2013. Please e-mail all public comments to email@example.com or send to the attention of Jared Silva at 251 Causeway Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02114.
More information can be found on the agency’s website (www.mass.gov/marinefisheries) or by contacting the agency by phone (617-626-1520). The legal notice for the Director’s declaration can be found here .