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Monkfish Fishery Management Plan Measures in Effect on May 1, 2023

April 17, 2023

We are working to publish a proposed rule for Framework Adjustment 13 to the Monkfish Fishery Management Plan. Framework 13 is not expected to be in place for the start of Fishing Year 2023; this bulletin provides information for May 1, 2023.

Framework 13 was jointly developed by the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils as part of the annual Framework Adjustment process, and proposes quotas for fishing years 2023 (starting on May 1, 2023, and extending through April 30, 2024) through 2025, changes to the annual Days-at-Sea (DAS) allocation to limited access monkfish vessels, and an increase in the minimum mesh size for gillnet vessels (to be effective for fishing year 2026, on May 1, 2026).

Anticipated Delay in the Framework 13 Final Rule

Framework 13 was developed pursuant to annual framework adjustment procedures described in the regulations for the Monkfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), and was intended by the Councils and NOAA Fisheries to be implemented in time for the start of fishing year 2023 on May 1, 2023. However, the Council process was delayed in order to provide time for the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee to re-evaluate its ABC recommendations for 2023 through 2025, which were originally made in October 2022 and revised in January 2023. As a result of this delay, we anticipate that the Final Rule for Framework 13, if approved, would be published and effective after the start date of fishing year 2023. Given this, no specifications will be in place for the monkfish fishery at the start of the fishing year as current specifications expire on May 1, 2023. However, current trip limits and DAS allocations will remain in effect, as they are defined in the regulations for the monkfish FMP.

Monkfish vessels will be able to continue to fish under current trip limits and initial DAS allocations in the new fishing year, until these measures are replaced by Framework 13, if approved

The proposed DAS allocation in Framework 13 differs from the DAS allocation that will be effective on May 1, 2023. Vessels should track their DAS usage in FishOnline to ensure that they do not use an amount of DAS which exceed 35 DAS in the Northern Fishery Management Area, 37 DAS in the Southern Fishery Management Area, and the overall limit of 46 allocated DAS (not counting RSA or carryover DAS) in the fishing year.

This delay is not expected to impact any other aspect of monkfish vessel operations, the only other regulatory change proposed by Framework 13 is the increase in minimum mesh size for gillnet vessels planned to be implemented in fishing year 2026.

What happens next? 

Once the proposed rule for Framework 13 is published, the comment period will be available online and open for 15 days. NOAA Fisheries will work to publish a Final Rule to implement Framework 13 as soon as possible after May 1 to avoid unnecessary negative impacts and confusion associated with continued delay.

Again, monkfish vessels may continue to fish in fishing year 2023 under the trip limits, DAS allocations, and other measures currently in place.


This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996