NOAA allows groundfish quota carryover
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday announced it will allow carryover of unused 2012 quota into the 2013 fishing season.
Current fishery management regulations allow up to 10 percent of unused quota to be carried forward. This provides fishermen with some flexibility on when they fish — so they can avoid bad weather and take advantage of times of year when fish are available and prices are highest.
For all allocated groundfish stocks, except Gulf of Maine cod, where the stock remains in poor condition and there is a high risk of exceeding overfishing limits, fishermen will be allowed to carryover up to their full 10 percent unused quota in 2013. For Gulf of Maine cod just under 2 percent carryover will be allowed in 2013 to avoid a risk of exceeding the overfishing limit.
“Carryover has become an issue due to the expected precipitous drop in catch limits in 2013. As a result, we want to renew our commitment, as part of a national effort to review the relationship between carryover and annual catch limits. We plan to work with the New England Fishery Management Council to develop measures to factor in carryover explicitly when setting future catch limits,” said John Bullard, NOAA Northeast regional administrator.
“By allowing carryover we further promote safety at sea and help to mitigate some of the economic impact on the fishing industry of anticipated significant catch limit cuts while still continuing to protect fish stocks. Even with the carryover added to the 2013 quota, we still have sufficient buffers in place to ensure that catches stay below overfishing limits. We hope that this news makes it clear that NOAA Fisheries remains committed to protecting fish, fishermen and the support businesses that have been integral to many of our coastal communities for centuries.”
In addition, NOAA said — in collaboration with the council — it will continue to look for flexibility in federal laws, employ innovative technologies and fishing methods and adopt new management measures to fully harvest available healthy groundfish and other fish stocks.