13- 188 C.M.R. ch. 41, § 30 - Commercial Menhaden Fishery Management Program

1. State Allocation Fishery
A. Notice

The state allocation fishery is open until such time as the Department has landings information that the quota assigned to Maine by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has been reached or could be exceeded. At that time, the Department will notify commercial menhaden license holders by public notice in a newspaper circulated in the area affected, and on the Department's publicly accessible website, of the closing date for the state allocation fishery. It is unlawful to fish for menhaden after the closing date of the state allocation fishery, unless the Department has opened the episodic event fishery, or the incidental catch and small scale fishery.

The Commissioner may extend or reopen the State Allocation Fishery at any time with notice to commercial menhaden license holders, should a quota increase or quota transfer of menhaden be received via allocation adjustments of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden.

Whenever landings of menhaden are occurring at a rate that the Commissioner is concerned that the entire quota for the state allocation fishery will be reached in a time frame that will negatively impact the supply and availability of bait, the Commissioner may temporarily prohibit the taking of menhaden by commercial menhaden license holders for up to fourteen days. If the Commissioner determines it is necessary to temporarily prohibit the taking of menhaden by commercial menhaden license holders, the Department will notify license holders by a notice in a newspaper circulated in the area affected, direct notice to the email address and phone number provided by the license holder, and on the Department's publicly accessible website, of the date of closing of the fishery and the date on which it will reopen.

B. Pound net and fish weir effort restrictions

It is unlawful to harvest menhaden prior to the opening of the state allocation fishery which is set for pound net and fish weirs as June 1st, annually. Harvest of menhaden by pound net or fish weirs prior to the third Monday of June may occur seven days a week and is limited to 1,050 pounds or 3 barrels daily.

Starting on the third Monday of June, pound net and fish weirs may land fish seven days a week and have a weekly landing limit of 18,000 pounds or 51 barrels per harvester vessel.

C. Effort restrictions for all other gears

It is unlawful to harvest menhaden prior to the opening of the state allocation fishery, starting on the third Monday of June, annually, at 12:01 a.m. Following the opening of the state allocation fishery and prior to the closure of the state allocation fishery, it is unlawful to fish for or land menhaden except between 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week. It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess more than 18,000 pounds or 51 barrels per harvester vessel per week. It is unlawful for a harvester vessel to sell, give or transfer menhaden they have taken to any other vessel while at sea. It is unlawful to receive menhaden from a harvester vessel while at sea. It is unlawful for a harvester vessel to complete more than one landing per calendar day. For the purpose of enforcing these limitations, the Department shall use the definitions provided in 41.25.

D. Storage Requirement

All menhaden must immediately be stored in barrels, crates or fish totes, or a combination thereof, upon harvest. All menhaden must be contained in barrels, crates or fish totes on both the harvester vessel and the dory towed by the harvester vessel, if utilized.

A dory is a boat with no mechanical means of propulsion that is towed to and from the fishing grounds by the harvester vessel.

2. Episodic Event Fishery

Following authorization by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Department may open an episodic event fishery following the closing of the state allocation fishery.

A. Notice

The Department will notify commercial menhaden license holders by public notice in a newspaper circulated in the area affected, and on the Department's publicly accessible website, of the opening date for the episodic event fishery. When the Department receives notice from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that the quota for the episodic event fishery has been reached or may be exceeded, the Department will notify commercial menhaden license holders by public notice in a newspaper circulated in the area affected, and on the Department's publicly accessible website, of the closing date for the episodic event fishery.

B. Effort restrictions

Following the opening of an episodic event fishery and prior to the closure of the episodic event fishery, it is unlawful to fish for or land menhaden except between 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays each week. It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess more than 6,000 pounds or 17 barrels per harvester vessel per day. It is unlawful for a harvester vessel to sell, give or transfer, menhaden they have taken to any other vessel while at sea. It is unlawful to receive menhaden from a harvester vessel while at sea. It is unlawful to complete more than one landing per calendar day. For the purpose of enforcing these limitations, the Department shall use the definitions provided in 41.25.

Pound nets and fish weirs are not subject to the harvest schedule detailed above and may land fish seven days a week. However, the daily landing limit is 6,000 pounds or 17 barrels and the total weekly landing limit may not exceed 12,000 pounds or 34 barrels.

C. Storage Requirement

All menhaden must immediately be stored in barrels, crates or fish totes, or a combination thereof, upon harvest. All menhaden must be contained in barrels, crates or fish totes on both the harvester vessel and the dory towed by the harvester vessel, if utilized.

A dory is a boat with no mechanical means of propulsion that is towed to and from the fishing grounds by the harvester vessel.

3. Incidental Catch and Small Scale Fishery

An incidental catch and small scale fishery for menhaden may occur following the full utilization of the state allocation of menhaden or following the full utilization of both the state allocation and an episodic event fishery.

A. Notice

The Department will notify commercial menhaden license holders by direct notice by email and text to the email address and phone number provided by the license holder in their license application, and on the Department's publicly accessible website, of the opening date for the incidental catch and small scale fishery.

B. Effort Restrictions

It is unlawful to fish for, take, possess or land more than 6,000 pounds or 17 barrels per harvester vessel per day. It is unlawful to fish for or land menhaden except between 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays each week. It is unlawful for a harvester vessel to make more than one landing per calendar day. For the purpose of enforcing these limitations, the Department shall use the definitions provided in 41.25, except that it is unlawful during the incidental catch and small scale fishery for a harvester vessel to sell, give or transfer, menhaden they have taken to any other vessel while at sea. It is unlawful to receive menhaden from a harvester vessel while at sea.

Pound nets and fish weirs are not subject to the harvest schedule detailed above and may land fish seven days a week. However, the daily landing limit is 6,000 pounds or 17 barrels and the total weekly landing limit may not exceed 18,000 pounds or 51 barrels.

C. Gear Restrictions

It is unlawful during the Incidental Catch and Small Scale Fishery to use any gear type other than the following: bait gillnets (including anchored/staked gillnets or drift gill nets), cast nets, pots, hand seines, hook and line, pound nets, fish weirs, fyke nets, and floating fish traps.

Bait gillnets cannot exceed 500 feet in length. A hand seine is defined as a seine solely operated by hand with no option to be cinched or pursed by the footrope.

D. Storage Requirement

All menhaden must immediately be stored in barrels, crates or fish totes, or a combination thereof, upon harvest. All menhaden must be contained in barrels, crates or fish totes on both the harvester vessel and the dory towed by the harvester vessel, if utilized.

A dory is a boat with no mechanical means of propulsion that is towed to and from the fishing grounds by the harvester vessel.

Notes

13- 188 C.M.R. ch. 41, § 30

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