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Northeast Sink Gillnet

Current Classification on the 2017 LOF

Category I
Estimated Number of Participants 4,332
Target Species Atlantic cod, haddock, pollock, yellowtail flounder, winter flounder, witch flounder, American plaice, windowpane flounder, spiny dogfish, monkfish, silver hake, red hake, white hake, ocean pout, skate spp, mackerel, redfish, and shad.
Applicable Take Reduction Plans Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan;
Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Team
Observer Coverage (includes descriptions of Northeast anchored float and Northeast drift gillnets) During the period 1990-2013, estimated percent observer coverage (number of trips observed/total commercial trips reported) was 1, 6, 7, 5, 7, 5, 4, 6, 5, 6, 6, 4, 2, 3, 6, 7, 4, 7, 5, 4, 17,19, 15, and 11, respectively.
Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured Bottlenose dolphin, WNA offshore;
Common dolphin, WNA;
Fin whale, WNA;
Gray seal, WNA;
Harbor porpoise, GME/BF1;
Harbor seal, WNA;
Harp seal, WNA;
Hooded seal, WNA;
Humpback whale, GME;
Long-finned pilot whale, WNA;
Minke whale, Canadian East Coast;
North Atlantic right whale, WNA;
Risso's dolphin, WNA;
White-sided dolphin, WNA.

^ Number of participants estimates are based on state and federal fisheries permit data.  The estimated number of participants is expressed in terms of the number of active participants in the fishery, when possible.  If this information is not available, the estimated number of vessels or persons licensed for a particular fishery is provided.  If no recent information is available on the number of participants, then the number from the most recent LOF is used.  NMFS acknowledges that, in some cases, these estimations may be inflating actual effort.  

*Observer coverage levels include the latest information reported in the most current final Stock Assessment Report (SAR)

1Indicates the stock or species is driving the classification of the fishery 

Note: Current classification based on final LOF, no proposed changes are reflected in this table.

Basis for Current Classification

The annual mortality and serious injury to harbor porpoises (Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy [GME/BF] stock), humpback whales (Gulf of Maine stock), minke whales (Canadian East Coast stock), and North Atlantic right whales (Western North Atlantic [WNA] stock) in this fishery exceeds 50% of each stock’s Potential Biological Removal (PBR) level.

Distribution

The fishery operates from the U.S.-Canada border to Long Island, New York, at 72° 30'W. long. south to 36° 33.03'N. lat. (corresponding with the Virginia-North Carolina border) and east to the eastern edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), including the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and Southern New England, and excluding Long Island Sound and other waters where gillnet fisheries are listed as Category II and III.  At this time, these Category II and III fisheries include:  the Northeast anchored float gillnet; Northeast drift gillnet; Long Island Sound inshore gillnet; and RI, southern MA (to Monomoy Island), and NY Bight (Raritan and Lower NY Bays) inshore gillnet.  Fishing effort occurs year-round, peaking from May-July primarily on continental shelf regions in depths from 30-750 ft (9-228.6 m), with some nets deeper than 800 ft (244 m).

Gear Description

This fishery uses sink gillnet gear, which is anchored gillnet (bottom-tending net) fished in the lower one-third of the water column.  The dominant material is monofilament twine with stretched mesh sizes from 6-12 in (15-30.5 cm) and string lengths from 600-10,500 ft (183-3,200 m), depending on the target species.  The mesh size and string length vary by the primary fish species targeted for catch.

Management

This fishery is managed by several interstate and federal FMPs. 

Total Effort

(includes descriptions of Northeast anchored float and Northeast drift gillnets) Total metric tons of fish landed from 1998 to 2012 were 22,933, 18,681, 14,487, 14, 634, 15,201, 17,680, 19,080, 15.390, 14,950, 15,808, 18,808, 17,207, 18,170, 19,279 and 17,490 respectively (NMFS). Data on total quantity of gear fished (i.e., number of sets) have not been reported consistently among commercial gillnet fishermen on vessel logbooks, and therefore will not be reported here.

 

Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) I (1996)
Original Number of Participants 341
Basis for Original Classification This fishery was categorized as a Category I based on observer data showing the annual estimated incidental mortality and serious injury from 1990-1993 of Atlantic white-sided dolphins was 102 animals/year, or 81.6% of PBR (PBR=125), and mortality and serious injury of harbor porpoise was 1,875 animals/year, which exceeded PBR (PBR=403).
Past Names Northeast multispecies sink gillnet (including species as defined in the Multispecies Fisheries Management Plan and spiny dogfish and monkfish) 1997-1999.
New England multispecies sink gillnet (including species as defined in the Multispecies Fisheries Management Plan and spiny dogfish and monkfish) 1992-1997.  
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A

 

Timeline of Changes

2017
  • Removed and short-finned pilot whale (unknown).  The 2015 SAR states pilot whale mortalities are generally observed north of 40°N latitude in this fishery and, therefore, should be attributed to the long-finned pilot whale stock.
2016
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 4,375 to 4,332.  
2013
  • Added long-finned pilot whale (WNA) and short-finned pilot whale (unknown).  There was an observed take of a pilot whale (unknown) in 2010.  
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 3,828 to 4,375.
2012
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 7,712 to 3,828.  
2011
  • Updated the fishery description to update the FMPs applicable to the fishery, stating “This fishery is… managed by several interstate and federal FMPs.”  
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 341 to 7,712.  This estimation may be an inflation of actual effort; however, it represents the potential effort for the fishery, given the multiple gear types several state permits may allow for.
2010
  • Removed superscript "1" after minke whale (Canadian east coast), humpback whale (GOM), and North Atlantic right whale (WNA) because these stocks are not driving the Category I classification of this fishery.  No serious injuries or mortalities of minke whales were reported from 2001-2006.  Annual mortality and serious injury for humpback whales in all gillnet fisheries is 0.2 (PBR = 1.1), or 18% of PBR.  The level of serious injury and mortality in the Northeast sink gillnet fishery is unknown, but is likely less than 50% of the stock's PBR.  There was one morality of a right whale in gillnet gear from 2001-2006; however, NMFS was unable to determine which specific gillnet fishery was responsible for the interactions.  NMFS retained these stocks on the LOF given that they have been known to interact with gillnet gear.  
2009
  • .Clarified and corrected the boundary definition for effort in this fishery by fixing a typographical error by removing, “…excluding Long Island Sound or other waters where gillnet fisheries are listed as Category III.  At this time, these Category II and II fisheries include…” with ““…excluding Long Island Sound and other waters where gillnet fisheries are listed as Category II or III.  At this time, these Category II and III fisheries include…”
2008
  • Changed the name of the stock of humpback whales interacting with this fishery from “WNA" to “Gulf of Maine" to reflect the interactions taking place between this fishery and the Gulf of Maine feeding stock of humpback whales.  The Gulf of Maine stock was classified as a separate feeding stock and reported as such in the 2000 Stock Assessment Report (SAR).
2007
  • Reworded the description of fishery to align better with management boundaries under the ALWTRP: Removed "…from the Maine/Canada border through the waters east of 72° 30'W…" and replaced with "…from the U.S./Canada border to Long Island, NY, at 72° 30'W. long. south to 36° 33.03'N. lat. and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ…"  
  • Clarified the list of target species to include, but not be limited to, all species included in the Multispecies FMP plus spiny dogfish, monkfish, shad, skate, and mackerel.
2006
  • Added superscript “1” in Table 2 after harbor porpoise (GME/BF), humpback whale (Gulf of Maine), minke whale (Canadian East Coast), and North Atlantic right whales (WNA), indicating that these stocks are driving the categorization of this fishery.
2005
  • .Added Risso's dolphins (WNA) and hooded seals (WNA) to the list of species/stock killed/injured in this fishery based on interactions documented in recent SARs.
  • Deleted spotted dolphins (WNA), killer whales (WNA), and false killer whales (WNA) from the list of species/stock killed/injured in this fishery because interactions had not been documented in recent years.
2001
  • Shad added as a target species in this fishery as a result of the deletion of the "Gulf of Maine, Southeast U.S. Atlantic Coastal shad, sturgeon fishery" from the LOF.
  • Language added to clarify the current geographic boundaries of the fishery:  The fishery continues to include all fishing with sink gillnet gear (anchored gillnet gear fished in the lower third of the water column), regardless of target species, from U.S.-Canadian border to 72°30' W. long., and continuing south from the south shore of Long Island.  This fishery does not include sink gillnet fishing occurring in the areas listed as Category III inshore gillnet fisheries.”
1999
  • Renamed "Northeast sink gillnet fishery" to better reflect the target species and geographic boundaries effort in this fishery, and to avoid future confusion for boundaries and species addressed in the Northeast Multispecies FMP.
  • Deleted striped dolphins (WNA) because there were no recent documented mortalities or serious injuries..
  • Clarified that certain stocks on the list of species/stocks killed/injured in this fishery were all WNA stocks: common dolphin, fin whale, spotted dolphin, false killer whale, and harp seal.
1997
  • Renamed the "Northeast multispecies sink gillnet (including species as defined in the Multispecies Fisheries Management Plan and spiny dogfish and monkfish) fishery" to reflect changes in the Northeast Multispecies FMP.
  • Absorbed the "Offshore monkfish bottom gillnet fishery” into this fishery for monkfish targeted in the Northeast.  Those targeted in the Southeast are absorbed into the Category II “Mid-Atlantic gillnet fishery.”  The monkfish fishery should never have been listed separately due to location if fishing effort and the type of gear.
  • The southernmost boundary of fishing effort in this fishery was changed from 71۫ N 40' W. long. to 72۫ N 30' W. long. to be consistent with the Multispecies FMP and to eliminate boundary overlap with North Atlantic coastal gillnet fisheries.


 

Updated December 14, 2016