NOAA Fisheries has announced proposed measures that would loosen controls in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank on monkfish, which is seen as a lucrative alternative to groundfish and is often caught by Gloucester groundfishermen and other New England grondfishermen.
The proposed “temporary emergency action “ would suspend existing monkfish possession limits for vessels issued both a groundfishing permit and carrying a days at sea monkfishing permit. The proposed action, published in the Federal Register, would last at least 180 days, but could be extended if the total allowable landings are not surpassed.
The expansion of the total allowable size of the landings in monkfish from the waters east of New England to the transboundary line in Georges Bank that separates Canadian from American waters is 271 tons. With 2013 total landings allowed in the area set at 5,854 metric tons, the liberalization would represent a 4.6 percent increase.
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