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No more squid fishing allowed in the Atlantic this August

No more squid fishing this month in the Atlantic Ocean. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce has closed the 2014 Trimester 2 longfin squid fishery effective on Monday, Aug. 11 and lasting through Aug. 31. NFMS announced the closure in the Federal Register of Monday, Aug. 11, 2014.

NMFS figured it needed to make the move to rebuild the stock and prevent the fishery quota from being exceeded. NMFS manages the fishery under the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan. If you have any questions, contact Supervisory Fishery Policy Analyst Peter Christopher at (978) 281-9288, fax (978) 281-9135.

The May through August trimester is allocated 17 percent of the annual quota, or 3,708 mt. The January through April trimester gets 43 percent, or 9,378 mt. The remaining 40 percent, or 8,724 mt, gets allocated to the September to December trimester.

But the species was underharvested during the first trimester this year, so NMFS increased the second trimester allotment to 5,562 mt. But the regulations require NMFS to close the fishery when an estimated 90 percent of the quota has been caught, in this case 5,006 mt. Only “incidental” catch will be allowed.

The only exception to the moratorium goes to boats with a longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit on a “directed Illex squid fishing trip.” That means the vessel contains more than 10,000 lb (4,536 kg) of Illex squid and is in certain designated zones. These boats can take up to 15,000 lb (6,804 kg) of longfin squid.

By law, when it closes a fishery, NMFS is required to put the notice in the Federal Register and to notify the executive directors of the New England. Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic fishery management councils. The data determining that the 90 percent level just came in, so NMFS explained that it lacked time for advance notice or a public comment period.