Mid-Atlantic 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. In this Exemption Area (EA), a vessel may fish for several specific species (such as spiny dogfish, monkfish, or whiting) and does not need to be on NE multispecies trip as long as it does not possess or land any regulated multispecies (i.e., American plaice, Atlantic cod, Atlantic halibut, haddock, ocean pout, pollock, redfish, white hake, windowpane flounder, winter flounder, witch flounder, and yellowtail flounder). This area also has specific regulations depending upon whether a vessel is using trawl gear or gillnet gear.
The Mid-Atlantic EA is defined as the entire Mid-Atlantic managed area west of the Southern New England (SNE) EA (see map above). Thus, it is bounded on the east by the western boundary of the SNE EA: Which is a line running from the Rhode Island shoreline at 41°18.2′ N. lat. and 71°51.5′ W. long. (Watch Hill, RI), southwesterly through Fishers Island, NY, to Race Point, Fishers Island, NY. From Race Point, Fishers Island, NY; southeasterly to the intersection of the 3-nautical mile line east of Montauk Point; southwesterly along the 3-nautical mile line to the intersection of 72°30′ W. long.; and south along that line to the intersection of the outer boundary of the EEZ.
Trawl fishery: A vessel fishing in this area may use mesh smaller than the required 6.5 inches if participating in the exempted fishery, and thus not fishing on a NE multispecies DAS and not retaining regulated multispecies (listed above). Please check the gear requirements for any other federal fishing permits for the specific fisheries in which you are participating.
Gillnet Fishery: Vessels participating in the Mid-Atlantic gillnet exempted fishery are restricted to using only gillnet gear on each trip, with a minimum mesh size of 5 inches. In addition, vessels are limited to 50 stand-up gillnets.
No NE multispecies (groundfish) may be retained when participating in this exempted fishery. This does not include small-mesh multispecies (red hake and whiting) which are included in this exemption. Check the regulations and requirements of any other fisheries in which you may also be participating for specific possession limits or other restrictions, with the understanding that you will be held to the most restrictive rule.
Vessels participating in the gillnet exempted fishery must also be on a monkfish day-at-sea (DAS). This area exempts the vessel from the NE multispecies DAS requirement, but a monkfish DAS is still required to fish with gillnets.