Responding to what it described as the overfishing of Gulf of Maine cod and haddock in 2013, NOAA is dropping the hammer on recreational anglers in 2014 by shortening the length of retention seasons for both species and instituting a daily bag limit for haddock.
NOAA said the new interim measures are being instituted because of the substantial recreational overages in 2013 and to “ensure the recreational fishery does not exceed its catch limit again in FY 2014,” NOAA said in an announcement made yesterday.
The new measures exceed the recommendations of the New England Fishery Management Council and its Recreational Advisory Panel.
“We are implementing measures that are more restrictive than either group’s recommendations because we have to ensure that measures have at least a 50 percent chance of reducing catch to the FY 2014 recreational catch limits,” the NOAA statement said. “Neither group’s recommendations would have achieved this level of probability.”
The changes for recreational fishing for Gulf of Maine cod include:
The minimum fish size for possession increases to 21 inches from 19 inches in 2013.
The closed (non-retention) season is extended by two months. In 2014, it is scheduled to run from Sept. 1 to April 14, 2015. Possession of cod in the Gulf of Maine regulated mesh area will be allowed from May 1 to Aug. 30 in 2014 and April 15 to April 30 in 2015.
The daily bag limit will stay at nine cod per day per fisherman during the retention season. Fishermen will be permitted to continue fishing after they reach their daily bag limit but must practice catch-and-release after catching nine cod. They also may fish during the closed seasons but, again, must practice catch-and-release with all landed cod.
The changes for recreational haddock fishing in the Gulf of Maine include:
The closed (non-retention) season increases by four months and now is scheduled to run from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 in 2014 and March 1 to April 30 in 2015. That means that fishermen only will be allowed to retain possession of their catch from May 1 to Aug. 30 in 2014 and Dec. 1, 2014 to Feb. 28, 2015.