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Gear Marking for Northeast Lobster/Jonah Crab Trap Pots

Changes to gear marking requirements for both state and federal waters for Northeast lobster and Jonah crab trap/pot gear are required in the 2021 modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan.

The tables below show the new gear marking requirements for lobster and Jonah crab trap/pot gear in the Northeast. Requirements for all other management areas and other fisheries under the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan remain the same. These requirements represent the minimum markings. Additional markings are allowed. 

Requirements are based on the permittee's principal port.

For questions related to state water gear marking requirements, please contact your state agency.

“Surface system” means any combination of buoys and highfliers connected to each other on the surface. If you do not have a surface system, but just a single buoy, you still need a 3-foot SOLID mark in your state color or BLACK for vessels with only LMA3 permits, in the top 2 fathoms of your line. 

“Body of the buoy line” means that portion of the buoy line that connects the trap or groundline to a surface buoy or surface system. Marks in the body of the buoy line are not required to be solid.

Maine

State Waters Federal Waters (May 1, 2022)

One 3-foot SOLID PURPLE mark in the top 2 fathoms of the line with the surface buoys and highfliers; and

One 12-inch PURPLE mark in top 50% of buoy line and in the bottom 50% of buoy line.

For rules in Maine Exempt Waters and any updates to gear marking in state waters, contact Maine DMR. 

One 3-foot SOLID PURPLE color mark within 6 inches of one 12-inch GREEN mark in the top 2 fathoms of the surface buoy or polyball OR in the top 2 fathoms of the line with surface buoys and highfliers; and

One 12-inch PURPLE mark within 6 inches of one 12-inch GREEN at the top, middle, and bottom of the body of the buoy line.

Solid purple and green marks close to surface buoy system
Example of surface system marks for federal waters by Maine-permitted fishermen.

 

New Hampshire

State Waters Federal Waters (May 1, 2022)

One 3-foot SOLID YELLOW mark in the top 2 fathoms of the line with the surface buoys and highfliers; and

One 12-inch YELLOW mark in top 50% of buoy line and in the bottom 50% of buoy line below the surface.

One 3-foot SOLID YELLOW color mark within 6 inches of one 12-inch GREEN mark in the top 2 fathoms of the surface buoy or polyball OR in the top 2 fathoms of the line with surface buoys and highfliers; and

One 12-inch YELLOW mark within 6 inches of a 12-inch GREEN mark at the top, middle, and bottom of the buoy line below the surface.

 

Massachusetts

State Waters (Feb 1, 2022)

Federal Waters (May 1, 2022)

One 3-foot SOLID RED mark in the top 2 fathoms of the line with the surface buoys and highfliers; and

A minimum of two RED marks measuring at least 2 feet in length in the top 50% of the buoy line and two RED marks measuring at least 2 feet in length in the bottom 50% of buoy line below the surface.

Additional marks may be required, as there can be no length of buoy line greater than 60 feet without a RED mark measuring at least 2 feet in length.

*If the buoy line is RED or RED/WHITE (Candy Cane), WHITE marks must be substituted for RED marks.

One 3-foot SOLID RED mark within 6 inches of a 12-inch SOLID GREEN* mark in the top 2 fathoms of the surface buoy or polyball OR in the top 2 fathoms of the line with surface buoys and highfliers; and

One 12-inch RED mark (can be longer) and within 6 inches of one 12-inch GREEN mark at the top, middle, and bottom of the buoy line below the surface. RED and GREEN marks should be no more than 6 inches apart.

If you have line marked at every 60 feet as required by the state, there must be a GREEN mark next to all RED state marks.

*State regulations require SOLID GREEN marks in the surface system.

Solid red and green marks in surface system near buoy.
Example of surface system marks for federal waters by Massachusetts-permitted fishermen.

Rhode Island

State Waters Federal Waters (May 1, 2022)

One 3-foot SOLID SILVER/GRAY mark in the top 2 fathoms of the line with the surface buoys and highfliers; and

One 12-inch SILVER/GRAY mark in top 50% of buoy line and in the bottom 50% of buoy line.

One 3-foot SOLID SILVER/GRAY color mark within 6 inches of one 12-inch GREEN mark in the top 2 fathoms of the surface buoy or polyball OR in the top 2 fathoms of the line with surface buoys and highfliers; and

One 12-inch SILVER/GRAY mark within 6 inches of one 12-inch GREEN mark at the top, middle, and bottom of the buoy line below the surface system.

 

LMA 3

Federal Waters (May 1, 2022)

One 3-foot SOLID BLACK color mark within 6 inches of one 12-inch GREEN mark in the top 2 fathoms of the surface buoy or polyball OR in the top 2 fathoms of the line with surface buoys and highfliers; and

One 12-inch BLACK mark within 6 inches of one 12-inch GREEN mark at the top, middle, and bottom of the buoy line below the surface.

 

How To Mark Your Gear

SOLID 3-FOOT SURFACE MARK

The solid 3-foot state color or LMA 3 mark may be applied with dye, paint, tape, heat-shrink tubing, insertion of a colored rope or braided sleeve, or the line may be marked as approved in writing by the Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator. 

12-INCH FEDERAL GREEN MARKS

The GREEN federal marks in the surface system and in the body of the buoy line may be solid, but are not required to be (except for Massachusetts-permitted vessels, where the surface system federal green marks are required to be SOLID under state regulations). Solid green rope may not be substituted for federal marks.

12-INCH STATE/LMA 3 COLOR MARKS

A solid colored rope may be used for state-specific gear marks, including the solid surface mark. Rope with a distinctive state-specific colored strand throughout or candycane rope with state colors also may be used instead of the state specific gear marks in the lower buoy line. 

MAKING 12-INCH MARKS

In the body of the buoy line, the federal and state 12-inch marks (where state-specific colored rope is not used for the state marks and where the marks are not required to be solid) may be added using dye, paint, tape, heat-shrink tubing, zip ties; spliced in insertion of a colored rope or braided sleeve, or other material, or a thin line may be woven into or through the line; or the line may be marked as approved in writing by the Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator.