Handgear B Permit Information
This summary provides a broad overview of the restrictions and requirements that apply to Handgear B permits. The regulations summarized here may be found at 50 CFR Part 648. Please contact the Sustainable Fisheries Division at (978) 281-9315 for more information.
What is a Handgear B permit?
A Handgear B (Category HB) permit is an open access Northeast multispecies permit that allows vessels to target groundfish using handgear. Handgear B permits typically have smaller catch limits than Handgear A permits.
What are the gear requirements?
You can only have handgear (rod and reel, tub trawl) on board the vessel. You must haul all gear by hand, and you are not allowed to use automatic jigging machines, electric reels, hydraulics, or any other power source. Vessels fishing with tub trawl gear are limited to an absolute maximum of 250 hooks; all hooks fished on tub trawls must be circle hooks at least 12/0 minimum size.
What closures apply to this permit?
- Handgear B vessels are required to take a mandatory spawning block out of the fishery and may not fish for, possess, or land regulated multispecies from March 1 through March 20 of each year.
- For more information about the closures that apply to Handgear B vessels, please see the Northeast Multispecies Closed Area Regulations page.
What are the reporting requirements?
- Handgear B vessels must submit a vessel trip report for all trips, even if it is not a groundfish trip (e.g., lobster).
- Vessel trip reports must be postmarked or received by midnight on the Tuesday following the reporting week (Sunday through Saturday). If a trip starts in one week and offloads in the next, then that trip should be reported during the week that the catch was offloaded.
- Operators may choose to submit vessel trip reports electronically using approved electronic vessel trip report software.
- For more information about trip reporting, or to see a list of approved software, please visit the Vessel Trip Reporting in the Greater Atlantic Region page.
What are the cod possession limits?
The Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank cod trip limits are set annually, and mid-year adjustments can be made; we will notify you of any trip limit adjustments. For current groundfish possession limits, please see the Common Pool page.
How will the cod possession limits be adjusted?
If the Gulf of Maine or Georges Bank cod limit for common pool days‐at‐sea vessels is increased or reduced, the corresponding Handgear B cod trip limit will be adjusted proportionally and rounded to the nearest 25 pounds. For example, if the Gulf of Maine cod trip limit for common pool days-at-sea vessels was reduced by 50 percent, then the Handgear B Gulf of Maine cod trip limit of 75 pounds would also be reduced by 50 percent (equals 37.5 pounds), then rounded up to a new 50 pound trip limit.
What are the possession limits for other species (e.g., haddock, pollock)?
Handgear B vessels may not retain more than the daily possession limit for other regulated multispecies, regardless of trip length. For example, if the Gulf of Maine haddock possession limit for common pool days-at-sea vessels was 50 pounds per day at sea (up to 100 pounds per trip), a Handgear B vessel could retain up to 50 pounds of Gulf of Maine haddock per trip.