Gulf of Maine Grate Raised Footrope Trawl Whiting Fishery Exemption Area
Exempted fisheries allow vessels to fish for specific species without being subject to certain northeast (NE) multispecies regulations, including days-at-sea, provided the bycatch of regulated species is minimal. This is one of the small-mesh exemption areas for the whiting fishery in the Gulf of Maine (GOM).
This exemption area (as seen above) is defined by the Maine coastline, and straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated below:
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All nets must have a minimum mesh size of 2.5-inch square or diamond mesh applied to the first 100 meshes (200 bars in the case of square mesh) for vessels greater than 60 feet in length, and 50 meshes (100 bars in the case of square mesh) for vessels less than or equal to 60 feet in length, counted from the terminus of the net. Trawl vessels are required to use raised footrope trawl gear equipped with an excluder grate (see below) in this exemption area. A description of the raised footrope trawl can be found in the 'Commercial Fishing' section of either red hake or silver hake species pages.
The excluder grate required for this area must be:
- Secured forward of the codend;
- Constructed of rigid or semi-rigid parallel bars spaced not more than 1.97 inches apart;
- Capable of effectively excluding all fish and other objects too large to fit between the bars from entering the codend; and
- Paired with an outlet hole forward of the grate towards the mouth of the net whose aftermost edge is at least as wide as the grate at the point of the attachment.
- Red Hake: 3,000 lb
- Whiting (Silver hake and offshore hake combined): 7,500 lb
Note: Possession limits may be reduced to 2,000 lb for whiting and 400 lb for red hake if the in-season possession limit triggers are reached.
Additional Incidental Species Allowed
While fishing in this exemption area, vessels may not fish for, possess on board, or land any species of fish other than small-mesh multispecies (hakes) and the following species as incidental catch:
- Atlantic herring;
- Atlantic mackerel;
- Alewife; and