Handgear A Permit Information
This summary provides a broad overview of the restrictions and requirements that apply to Handgear A 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 A permit?
A Handgear A (Category HA) permit is a limited access Northeast multispecies permit that allows vessels to target groundfish using handgear.
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?
- For more information about the closures that apply to Handgear A vessels, please see the Northeast Multispecies Closed Area Regulations page.
What are the reporting requirements?
- Vessels fishing in a single broad stock area (e.g., Gulf of Maine, Inshore Georges Bank) on a trip must declare the trip through the Interactive Voice Response system or through a vessel monitoring system unit.
- Vessels fishing in more than one broad stock area on a trip need to declare their trip through a vessel monitoring system unit. Vessels that declare their intent to fish inside and outside of the Gulf of Maine on the same trip are required to submit daily vessel monitoring system catch reports.
- Vessels participating in a sector are required to use a vessel monitoring system. Sectors may request an exemption from vessel monitoring system reporting requirements for participating Handgear A vessels fishing in a single broad stock area during a trip; however, a vessel monitoring system is still required for trips in more than one broad stock area.
- You 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 the Tuesday following the reporting week (Sunday through Saturday). If a trip starts in one week and offloads in the next, then that trip may be reported during the week that the catch was offloaded.
- Operators may 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 trip limits for Handgear A vessels?
Handgear A 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. Handgear A vessels that are enrolled in a sector are not subject to the common pool possession limits for Gulf of Maine or Georges Bank cod.
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 reduced below 300 pounds per day at sea, then the corresponding Handgear A cod trip limit will be reduced to equal the reduced days-at-sea limit. For example, if the Gulf of Maine cod trip limit for common pool days-at-sea vessels was reduced to 50 pounds per trip, the Gulf of Maine cod trip limit for Handgear A vessels would also be reduced to 50 pounds per trip.