After holding a public comment period earlier this year, the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) requested that NOAA reopen the comment period due to concerns that an error in a URL in the proposed rule may have prevented some individuals from submitting comments. NOAA Fisheries is reopening the comment period through November 18, 2019. The correct URL for the proposed rule should ensure all interested parties are able to comment on the proposed action.
- For more information, read the draft environmental assessment as provided on the Council website.
- Read the proposed rule as published in the Federal Register.
- Submit comments online or view instructions for how to submit comments via mail.
- Comments are due by November 18, 2019.
Maps and data for proposed clam and mussel dredge exemptions
As with the previous public comment period, map layers showing these areas are available on the Data Explorer. They are listed under Commercial Fishing in the Draft Alternative Management Areas category.
The final preferred alternative for clam and mussel dredge exemptions identified by the Council is referred to as Alternative 5 in the draft framework document and environmental assessment. Under Alternative 5, three exemption areas would be designated for both surfclam and mussel dredges: (1) McBlair, (2) Old South, and (3) Fishing Rip. Old South would be closed for six months from November 1 to April 30 each year to reduce overlaps between clam dredging and cod spawning activities. The remainder of the Great South Channel HMA would be closed to clam and mussel dredges. The purpose of limiting the use of clam dredge gear to specific parts of the HMA only is to minimize the impacts of the fishery on benthic habitats.
In the Data Explorer’s list of map layers, the exemption areas are named Clam Amendment: Final Council Preferred Alternatives.