NOAA Fisheries issued a final rule to implement Amendment 20 to the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery Management Plan (FMP). This amendment establishes limits on how much quota share or annual cage tags an individual or business can hold or control over the course of a fishing year. Amendment 20 was formally approved on November 10, 2022, and this rule implements all measures in the amendment.
This action establishes:
- Caps on quota share of 35 percent for surfclam and 40 percent for ocean quahog.
- Caps on annual cage tags of 65 percent for surfclam and 70 percent for ocean quahog over the course of the fishing year.
- These caps would be monitored based on the total amount of "potential control" an individual or business has over the course of the fishing year. Potential control refers to any allocation held directly or held by all owners (in the case of businesses) or all immediate family members (in the case of individuals).
- The maximum duration of multi-year specifications actions to match the stock assessment schedule (currently four years for Atlantic surfclam and six years for ocean quahog).
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council developed Amendment 20 and the final measures are unchanged from the proposed rule that was published on August 24, 2022 (87 FR 51955).
This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.