Rebuilding Plan for the Southern Red Hake Fishery
This rule establishes a 10-year rebuilding plan for the overfished southern red hake stock as proposed by the New England Fishery Management Council in Framework Adjustment 62 to the Small-Mesh Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. Under this rebuilding program, catch limits will be established by reducing the acceptable biological catch (ABC) to 75-percent of the fishing mortality rate at maximum sustainable yield (FMSY) for the duration of the rebuilding period or until the stock reaches its biomass target, whichever happens first. Previously, the ABC has been set at 90-percent or higher of FMSY. In addition, the rebuilding plan decreases the year-round possession limit from 5,000 lb to a dual 1,000/600-lb possession limit based on the selectivity of gear-type or mesh size used. The 600-lb possession limit applies to standard small-mesh trawls (less than 5.5 inches square or diamond mesh), which are less selective, while the 1,000-lb possession limit applies to large-mesh trawls and other more selective gear types including raised footrope trawls, large mesh belly panel trawls, and rope separator trawls.