Southern New England Monkfish Gillnet Exemption Area
Exempted fisheries allow vessels to fish for specific species without being subject to certain northeast (NE) multispecies regulations, including days-at-sea (DAS), provided the bycatch of regulated species is minimal. This is an exemption area for vessels in the monkfish fishery using gillnet gear in Southern New England (SNE).
In this specified gillnet portion of the SNE EA, a vessel using gillnet gear can fish for, possess, and land monkfish on a monkfish-only DAS without also being required to use a NE multispecies DAS or to be on a NE multispecies non-DAS sector trip.
This exemption area is defined by a line running from the Massachusetts shoreline at 41°35' N. latitude and 70°00' W. longitude south to its intersection with the outer boundary of the EEZ, southwesterly along the outer boundary of the EEZ, and bounded on the west by the western boundary of the SNE EA at 72°30′ W. longitude.
Vessels fishing under this exemption are restricted to using only gillnet gear with a minimum mesh size of 10 inches (diamond) throughout the net.
Vessels fishing under this exemption may not fish for, possess, or land any species of fish other than the following:
- Monkfish within applicable permit possession limits;
- Spiny dogfish within applicable possession limits;
- Skates1; and
- Incidentally caught species allowed in the SNE Regulated Mesh Area2.
1 Skates may only be landed under this exemption if at least one of the following conditions are met:
- The vessel is called into the monkfish DAS program and complies with the skate wing possession limit restrictions;
- The vessel has a Letter of Authorization on board to fish for skates as bait only; or
- The vessel possesses and/or lands skates or skate parts in an amount not to exceed 10 percent by weight of all other species on board. For more information on the skate fishery, see the group species page.
2Incidental species allowed for retention when fishing for the exempted species above include: Conger eels; sea robins; black sea bass; red hake; tautog (blackfish); blowfish; cunner; John Dory; mullet; bluefish; tilefish; longhorn sculpin; fourspot flounder; alewife; hickory shad; American shad; blueback herring; sea raven; Atlantic croaker; spot; swordfish; and American lobster – up to 10%, by weight, of all other species on board up to 100 lobsters per day for trips of 24 hours or less; or 200 lobsters for trips longer than 24 hours, whichever is less.
Note: Unless fishing exclusively in state waters, to land and possess monkfish, vessels are required to obtain a federal monkfish permit and adhere to any applicable monkfish regulations.