Fishing Year 2020 Sectors
This page contains summary information about the Northeast multispecies (groundfish) sectors that are operating during fishing year 2020. For more information about sectors, please call the Sustainable Fisheries Division at (978) 281-9315.
Approved Sectors for Fishing Years 2019–2020
Groundfish sectors were approved for a two-year period spanning fishing years 2019 and 2020. Fifteen sectors are operating during the 2020 fishing year. Copies of each sector’s operations plan and contract, approved amendments, and the comprehensive fishing year 2015–2020 Environmental Assessment can be downloaded from the list below:
- Georges Bank Cod Fixed Gear Sector 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Maine Coast Community Sector 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Mooncusser Sector 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Northeast Fishery Sector II 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Northeast Fishery Sector IV 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Northeast Fishery Sector V 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Northeast Fishery Sector VI 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Northeast Fishery Sector VII 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Northeast Fishery Sector VIII 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Northeast Fishery Sector X 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Northeast Fishery Sector XI 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Northeast Fishery Sector XII 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Northeast Fishery Sector XIII 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Sustainable Harvest Sector 1 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Sustainable Harvest Sector 2 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Sustainable Harvest Sector 3 2019–2020 Operations Plan
- Comprehensive 2015–2020 Sector Environmental Assessment
For sector manager contact information, please visit the sector manager contact information page.
Prior to the beginning of each fishing year, the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office publishes guidance to assist sector managers in preparing operations plans, sector contracts, and the required information for the Environmental Assessment. The fishing years 2021–2022 guidance document is available for download below:
Please visit our Previously Approved Sector Operations Plan page to see copies of sector operations plans and contracts from previous fishing years (2010–2018).
Fishing Year 2020 Sector Exemptions
Sector vessels are exempt from certain regulations that apply to common pool vessels. These universal exemptions only apply to Northeast multispecies (groundfish) regulations; they do not apply to requirements of other management plans. For example, the Monkfish Fishery Management Plan requires that sector vessels fishing for monkfish must also use a groundfish day-at-sea when fishing under a monkfish day-at-sea.
All sector vessels are exempt from the following fishing regulations:
- Trip limits on groundfish stocks for which a sector receives an allocation (this does not include Atlantic halibut, ocean pout, windowpane flounder, or Atlantic wolffish);
- Gulf of Maine Cod Protection Closures IV (October) and V (March);
- Groundfish days-at-sea restrictions other than those required to comply with effort controls in other fisheries (dogfish, monkfish, and skate); or
- The minimum codend mesh size restrictions for trawl gear when using a haddock separator trawl or the Ruhle trawl within the Georges Bank Regulated Mesh Area, provided sector vessels use a codend with 6-inch (15.2-cm) minimum mesh.
Sectors may not be granted exemptions from the following management measures:
- Closed areas to protect essential fish habitat;
- Permitting restrictions;
- Gear restrictions designed to minimize habitat impacts; or
- Reporting requirements.
In addition to the universal exemptions listed above, a sector may request additional exemptions in its operations plan. Approved exemptions, as well as additional instructions, are listed in a Letter of Authorization that must be kept on board by all sector vessels. For a list and description of currently approved exemptions, please refer to the Fishing Years 2021-2022 Sector Operations Plan, Contract, and Environmental Assessment guide (PDF, 73 pages). For details on which exemptions are currently granted to specific sectors, please refer to the sectors’ fishing year 2019–2020 operations plans and contracts.
Sectors are required to report catch (landings and discards) to NOAA Fisheries on a weekly basis. Below are the current guidance documents to help sectors prepare all of the required information:
- Fishing Year 2020 Sector Report Guide (Revision 11.0.0)
- Fishing Year 2020 Sector Report Guide Addendum (Revision 11.0.0)
- Fishing Year 2020 Sector Incident Report Guide (Revision 3.0.0)
Sector Information Management Module
Sector managers may access sector related data and report to NOAA Fisheries using the Sector Information Management Module. For additional information on accessing and using the Sector Information Management Module, please see the user guide at the link below.
Annual Catch Entitlements
On an annual basis, approved sectors receive a quota for allocated groundfish stocks in the form of an annual catch entitlement. Because Atlantic halibut, Atlantic wolfish, ocean pout, and windowpane flounder are not allocated to sectors, they do not receive an annual catch entitlement for these stocks. Each sector’s annual catch entitlement is based on the potential sector contribution of its participating vessels, which is calculated using each vessels fishing history. Each year an updated potential sector contribution letter is sent to each permit holder, informing them of the potential sector contribution that is attached to their fishing permit.
All groundfish catch, including landings and discards, by a sector vessel on a sector trip counts against a sector’s annual catch entitlement for that stock. Sector vessels may not discard any legal-sized allocated stock, unless otherwise exempted. At the start of a fishing year, discards are estimated using a sector specific discard rate based upon observer data from the previous fishing year. Once NOAA Fisheries deems that there are sufficient observer or at-sea monitor data available in-season, a sector-specific in-season discard rate is applied to all trips taken by a sector’s vessels for the remainder of the fishing year. If a trip is observed, the discard rate recorded by the observer or at-sea monitor will be used to document discards for that particular trip instead of using the calculated or in-season discard rate.
Because a sector’s effort is restricted by its annual catch entitlement, there are no trip limits for sector vessels with the exception of Atlantic halibut (1 fish per trip).
Sectors are allowed to carry over up to a maximum of 10 percent of their unused annual catch entitlement from one fishing year to the next for most allocated stocks. Any carryover of a given stock used by a sector was not counted against the annual catch limit in the year it was fished. Allowed carryover may be reduced as needed to comply with sector regulations.
For more information on fishing year 2020 annual catch entitlement allocations and usage, please visit the groundfish monitoring page.
Annual Catch Entitlement Transfer Program
Any portion of a sector’s annual catch entitlement may be transferred to another sector at any time during the fishing year. For two weeks following reconciliation, sectors with an annual catch entitlement overage for a stock may transfer-in annual catch entitlement for the stock up to the amount of the overage. Annual catch entitlement transfer requests must be submitted to, and approved by, NOAA Fisheries.
Annual catch entitlement transfers may be completed online by sector managers through the Sector Information Management Module or in writing. A paper request form is available on the Greater Atlantic Region forms and applications page. For a summary of all of the annual catch entitlement transfers that have been completed during the current fishing year, please visit the sector annual catch entitlement transfer summary page.
The regulations require sectors to contract with an approved third-party at-sea monitoring company to provide at-sea monitoring services to the sector. At-sea monitoring data is used to verify area fished and catch (landings and discards), by species and gear type, and monitor sector quota. At-sea monitoring coverage levels are specified by NOAA Fisheries on an annual basis. For more information on the current at-sea monitoring coverage rate, please visit the at-sea monitoring program page.