Massachusetts Seeks Comment on Cod and Haddock Limits
The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) must decide between continuing to allow a 1-cod limit in state waters and keeping the haddock fishery open to anglers during the month of May – and they need to hear from you before they make this important decision.
Background: DMF adopted a 1-cod limit for private anglers in the state waters portion of the Gulf of Maine (GOM) in 2015, after the catch of GOM cod by all recreational anglers was prohibited in federal waters. (DMF did not support the federal closure as it prohibited private citizens from accessing a public resource while continuing to allow a commercial fishery to access the same resource.) Recently, The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) voted to recommend that if the Commonwealth of Massachusetts continues to allow private recreational anglers to retain one GOM cod per trip, there must be additional constraints on haddock. Specifically, the Council recommended closing the haddock fishery in May for private recreational anglers, and lowering the haddock possession limit from 12 fish to 10 fish for the for-hire fleet (while keeping their season open in May).
Accordingly, DMF is seeking public comment on how to address the recent Council recommendation. Of specific interest is whether to: (1) eliminate the existing state-waters private anglers 1-fish allowance for GOM cod and retain status quo regulations for GOM haddock, or (2) maintain our private angler allowance for cod and require additional constraints on GOM haddock. Per the Council’s recommendation, the latter option would result in a 2-fish reduction in the for-hire bag GOM haddock limit (from 12-fish to 10-fish) and a May GOM haddock closure for private anglers. See the chart below for full details.
Instructions for Written Comments
Written public comment only will be accepted until 5PM on Friday, February 23, 2018.
Please address all comments to Director Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org