Today, NOAA Fisheries filed a proposed rule that includes changes for Georges Bank cod and Gulf of Maine cod and haddock in the 2023 fishing year. The recreational fishery for Gulf of Maine cod and haddock is managed under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The FMP provides the Regional Administrator authority, in consultation with the New England Fishery Management Council, to develop recreational management measures to ensure that the recreational catch limits for Gulf of Maine cod and haddock are achieved, but not exceeded. Similarly, the Regional Administrator has authority to modify Georges Bank cod measures to prevent an overage of the recreational catch target for that stock.
NOAA Fisheries projects that current measures for Gulf of Maine cod can be liberalized somewhat, while measures for Georges Bank cod and Gulf of Maine haddock must be tightened to ensure overfishing is not occurring.
After consultation with the Council, NOAA Fisheries is proposing changes to Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank cod as recommended by the Council. For Gulf of Maine haddock, we are proposing mode-based measures to appropriately constrain catch and dead discards while accommodating the needs of the for-hire fleet with those of private anglers. Compared to the Council-recommended measures, our proposed rules aim to increase harvest and reduce dead discards of haddock. We are also seeking comments on the Council-recommended measures, and on a 10-fish limit and 17-inch minimum size for both for-hire and private angler modes for Gulf of Maine haddock.