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2021-23 Small-Mesh Multispecies Fishery Specifications

January 31, 2022

NOAA Fisheries announces final 2021 and projected 2022-2023 specifications for the small-mesh multispecies fishery.

NOAA Fisheries announces 2021 and projected 2022-2023 specifications for the small-mesh multispecies fishery, based on the New England Fishery Management Council’s recommendations and the 2020 stock assessment. A summary of the final catch limits for all species are provided below.

Small-Mesh Multispecies Specifications for Fishing Years 2021-2023, in metric tons.

Stock

Overfishing Limit

Acceptable Biological Catch

Annual Catch Limit

Total Allowable Landings

Northern Red Hake

Unknown

3,452

3,278

1,405

Northern Silver Hake

39,930

20,410

19,387

17,457

Southern Red Hake

Unknown

1,505

1,429

422

Southern Whiting*

72,160

40,990

38,941

28,742

*Southern whiting includes both southern silver hake and offshore hake.

These final specifications increase annual quotas for southern whiting and both red hake stocks and decrease the quota for northern silver hake. The specifications for fishing years 2022 and 2023 are projected to be the same as the 2021 limits. Although the quota for southern red hake is increasing while this stock enters a rebuilding period, this Acceptable Biological Catch is still only 75-percent of what was initially recommended by the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee, in accordance with the Council’s rebuilding plan for the stock and Framework Adjustment 62. This calculated adjustment is intended to decrease regulatory discards and allow continued operation of the fishery while still enhancing the rebuilding potential for southern red hake.

This action also includes revised management measures to reduce regulatory discards. The possession limit for whiting (silver hake and offshore hake) on trips using gear with less than 3-inch mesh is increasing to 15,000 lb, and the in-season adjustment trigger for northern red hake is being restored to 90 percent of the annual quota.

Last updated by Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office on January 31, 2022