The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration at the United States Department of Commerce has set final tilefish specifications for the Northeastern United States over the next three years. NMFS announced in the Federal Register of Oct. 29, 2014 that it has set the annual catch and landing limits and quotas for 2015, 2016 and 2017. The limits affect only commercial fisheries. They do not apply to individual recreational fishermen, but they do apply to charter boats that take people on recreational fishing trips. Those that catch tilefish incidentally are not affected either.
The limits apply in the Atlantic from Virginia to the Canadian border. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council manages the fishery. It adopted a fishery management plan in 2001. If you have questions, contact Fishery Policy Analyst Douglas Potts at (978) 281-9341.
The process gives 95 percent of the catch to the Individual Fishing Quota shareholders and the remaining five percent to the incidental fishery. The quotas for 2016 and 2017 will be identical. The council decided not to increase the quota, even if circumstances would allow a slightly bigger catch, because it wants stability. Also, the plan does not include a research set-aside. But the council reserves the right to change its mind about these matters.
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