For Immediate Release - July 19, 2013

DMF temporarily exempts fixed gear fishermen from certain gear requirements in the area of upcoming north shore sonar survey

The Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) is working to minimize disruption and gear conflicts that could be caused by an upcoming sonar survey of the proposed path for a submarine transmission cable using a 110-foot research vessel, Sea Lion V, in the north shore area.  To assist the industry in avoiding conflicts with the survey, MarineFisheries will collect and publish on its web site information from Tetra Tech on the location of the survey path and timely updates on arrival and departure of the ship as well as other relevant information.  Moreover the agency  has taken an action to exempt lobstermen and gillnetters from certain fixed gear marking and  gear length regulations within 1 mile of the survey track. 

This survey is beginning on Wednesday July 24th, 2013 and will start in the northern segment – between the NH/MA state waters boundary and the state/federal waters boundary NE of Halibut Point, Rockport, MA.  Marking of the corridor with high flyers will begin over the weekend of July 20th.  The intended path of the survey is approximately 55 miles long from southern N.H. around Cape Ann and coming ashore at Lynn and/or Revere. The corridor that Tetra Tech seeks to keep free of vertical buoy lines would be less than 1,000 feet wide. The vessel will be collecting geophysical data using an array of sensors — some of which are towed behind the vessel. These sensors include multi-beam sonar, side scan sonar/sub-bottom profiler and a magnetometer.

MarineFisheries is working to advise the survey company (Tetra Tech) about ways to minimize disruption to fishing in the area and avoid conflicts with fixed gear.  DMF will post updates on the survey on its web site .

Because fishing gear can remain in the area as long as the 1,000 ft. wide corridor remains free of buoy lines, some fishermen may opt to modify their gear instead of removing it.  To accommodate this activity, DMF  has allowed lobstermen and gillnetters to fish modified lobster trawls and gillnets in the area of the survey. Letters of authorization (LOA) were mailed on Friday, July 19 to all commercial lobstermen and gillnetters who reported fishing in the area.  Any fishermen who seeks a letter but did not receive one should contact DMF to obtain one.

The 55-mile route route has been segmented into smaller sections and the “active” portion will be flagged with ‘high flyer’ buoys to provide a visual aid to mariners.  Each high flyer will bear a large, neon orange, mesh flag and all the buoys and tide balls have the letters  ‘TT’ on them. 

The vessel’s daily position as well as expected position for the next day will be updated daily on this website as well as broadcasted over VHF channel 16 and updated via Facebook (www.facebook.com/SlvMarineSurvey) and Twitter (@SLVMarineSurvey).

For additional information on the setting of fixed gear in the area and state regulations, contact Marine Fisheries in Boston at 617 626-1520. Questions about the survey should be directed to Tetra Tech at 617-443-7500 (Please reference “Marine Survey”) or send an email to marinesurvey@tetratech.com