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Atlantic butterfish quota reduced, effective immediately

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The butterfish trip limit has been reduced, effective immediately, for fishing in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced on Tuesday, March 18 that it is changing the upper limit to 5,000 lb (2.27 mt) for longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit holders.

“Vessels issued a Federal longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit and using greater than 3-inch (76-mm) mesh may not fish for, catch, possess or land more than 5,000 lb (2.27 mt) of butterfish per trip or calendar day” through the end of 2014,” NMFS announced.

The limit will not change for those using smaller meshes, though.

NMFS explains that it is taking the action to prevent overfishing and not exceeding the permissible limit for domestic annual harvest of 2,570 mt.

NMFS' administrator for the Greater Atlantic Region has determined that 47 percent of the quota has been reached, which triggers the need for the new rule. The administrator based the conclusion on dealer reports and other information.

If need be, NMFS can reduce the take at a later date for those using smaller meshes.

You can read NMFS' announcement at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-03-18/html/2014-05920.htm.

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