NOAA Proposes New Rules for Gulf of Maine Cod, Haddock

NOAA Fisheries has issued a proposed rule that includes regulation changes for Gulf of Maine cod and Gulf of Maine haddock in the 2024 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 that the Regional Administrator may, in consultation with the New England Fishery Management Council, develop recreational management measures to ensure that the recreational catch limits for Gulf of Maine cod and haddock are achieved, but not exceeded. NOAA Fisheries projects changes are necessary from the 2023 Gulf of Maine cod and haddock measures to prevent the recreational fishery from exceeding the recreational cod quota in 2024.

After consultation with the Council, NOAA Fisheries is proposing revisions to the Gulf of Maine cod and haddock recreational measures for fishing year 2024 that would adequately limit Gulf of Maine cod catch in the recreational fishery. The measures in this proposed rule would increase the recreational minimum fish size for Gulf of Maine cod by 1 inch, and revise the Gulf of Maine haddock regulations for privately-owned recreational vessels by increasing the minimum fish size by 1 inch and increasing the possession limit from 10 fish to 15 fish, to be consistent with the current measures for all for-hire fishing vessels.

More information on the proposed measures can be found in the rule. The proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, and comments can be submitted through the online portal. The comment period is open through June 3, 2024.

The current recreational measuresimplemented on August 14, 2023, remain in place unless or until they are replaced by new measures for the 2024 fishing year.