A description and explanation of monkfish days-at-sea (DAS), and how they are implemented in fisheries management.
Annual DAS Allocations
Each fishing year, limited access monkfish vessels are allocated 35 Monkfish DAS for use in the Northern Fishery Management Area (NFMA) and 37 Monkfish DAS for use in the Southern Fishery Management Area (SFMA). These allocations are reduced by 0.4 DAS in each area; the reduction is put towards the Monkfish Research Set-Aside program. Also, no limited access monkfish vessel may use more than 46 of the annually allocated DAS in a given fishing year.
Each permit holder may also carry-over up to four unused monkfish DAS from the previous year, which can be applied to either area (Northern Fishery Management Area [NFMA] or SFMA). However, DAS that are not usable because they are tied to a Northeast (NE) multispecies DAS may not be carried over.
For example, if you have 31 unused monkfish DAS and have a NE multispecies DAS allocation of 35 DAS, and you leased out 10 of your NE multispecies DAS to another vessel; you would forfeit 6 of your monkfish DAS (10 - (35 NE multispecies DAS - 31 monkfish DAS) = 6). If you then fished the remainder of your NE multispecies DAS and used all of your monkfish DAS except 6, you could not carry over your 6 remaining monkfish DAS into the next fishing year.
Monkfish DAS charging rates
All monkfish DAS trips using gillnet gear under 15 hours will be rounded up to 15 hours. For example, if you take a trip using gillnet gear that lasts 10 hours, you will be charged 15 hours. Trips over 15 hours will be charged actual time. All trips using trawl gear are charged actual time.
DAS adjustment for trip limit overage provision
A limited access monkfish vessel may land up to one additional day’s trip limit worth of monkfish than would otherwise be allowed based on the vessel’s actual monkfish DAS usage for that trip. The vessel must declare the extra fish via Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) prior to crossing the demarcation line upon returning to port, or via the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) line 1 hour prior to landing, to land the additional day’s worth of monkfish. To account for the trip limit overage, the monkfish DAS charge will be rounded to the next 24-hr period plus 1 minute.
Example: If you have two days’ (trip limits') worth of monkfish on board and you have declared into the monkfish DAS program for 15 hours, once you declare or call in this overage provision, you would be permitted to land 2 days’ worth of monkfish. Your DAS charge for the trip would be adjusted from 15 hours to 24 hours and 1 minute. Also, after using the DAS adjustment provision, you may go right back out to start a new trip, even if the additional time has not passed for which your previous trip was charged.
DAS Measures Applicable to Monkfish Permit Holders That Also Hold a NE Multispecies Permit:
The monkfish and NE multispecies DAS interactions can be complicated, but are summarized below. Please call us at (978) 281-9315 if you have any questions.
- A monkfish-permitted vessel that also holds a NE multispecies or limited access scallop permit must also use either a NE multispecies DAS or scallop DAS whenever using a monkfish DAS.
- If a vessel's initial allocation of NE multispecies DAS is less than its monkfish DAS allocation, it will receive an allocation of monkfish-only DAS equal to the difference. These monkfish-only DAS are treated separately, and can be used at any time during the fishing year in an exempted fishery. Please see the "Exempted Fishing" tab on the Monkfish Species Page for more information.
- A vessel with monkfish-only DAS may choose to lease in NE multispecies Category A DAS, but these leased DAS will then be tied to the monkfish DAS; so that those DAS will no longer be considered monkfish-only DAS.
- If a vessel leases out NE multispecies Category A DAS, the vessel forfeits monkfish DAS equal to the difference between the number of remaining NE multispecies DAS and the number of unused monkfish DAS.
Information for Monkfish Permit Holders That are Also in the NE Multispecies Common Pool:
NE multispecies DAS are charged in 24-hour increments. So if a vessel fishes for 15 hours, it will be charged for 24 hours of NE multispecies DAS balance and 15 hours of monkfish DAS balance. Because of this, common pool vessels may run out of NE multispecies DAS faster than monkfish DAS. These remaining monkfish DAS do not become monkfish-only DAS, and are unusable. Because these days are tied together, such vessels must lease in NE multispecies DAS to use these leftover monkfish DAS.
Information for Monkfish Permit Holders That are Also in a NE Multispecies Sector:
Although sector vessels are exempt from the requirement to use a NE multispecies DAS to land allocated groundfish stocks, they must still use a NE multispecies A DAS when using a monkfish DAS. NE multispecies DAS will be charged actual time based on the time fishing, regardless of the monkfish DAS charge. Other interactions for monkfish permit holders in a sector include:
- Catch (landings and discards) of allocated NE multispecies stocks while on a monkfish DAS and a NE multispecies A DAS will count against the sector's ACEs. This means that sectors must have ACE available for all stocks in the area a sector vessel may be fishing on a monkfish DAS.
- Sector vessels fishing on a monkfish DAS and a NE multispecies A DAS (i.e., not in an exempted fishery) are required to participate in the at-sea monitoring program, because all catch of allocated groundfish stocks on that trip (including discards) counts against the sector's ACE.
- Sector vessels fishing only in the NFMA can change declarations from a NE multispecies Category A DAS or sector trip declaration that does not charge a DAS, to the corresponding monkfish DAS declaration during the course of the trip (see "Monkfish Option" below).
To have the flexibility to land monkfish caught in excess of the incidental limit when fishing on a NE multispecies A DAS or sector trip, a vessel must first declare the ‘monkfish option’ on the vessel’s VMS unit before leaving port, and can only fish in the NFMA. If this has been done, the vessel can change the trip declaration from a NE multispecies A DAS or sector trip to a Monkfish DAS declaration before crossing the demarcation line on its return to port if the incidental limit has been exceeded. When this is initiated, both NE multispecies A DAS and Monkfish DAS are charged in conjunction for the course of the trip, although the VMS declaration will show Monkfish DAS. For assistance with your VMS codes, call our Office of Law Enforcement VMS team at (978) 281–9149, or visit the VMS page.