DEEP: Notice to Commercial Shad Fishermen

Notice to Commercial Shad Fishermen

May 31, 2012

MAXIMUM SOAK TIME REDUCED to 2 HOURS

Water temperatures in the Connecticut River now exceed 68°F. Consequently the maximum allowable gillnet soak time is now 2 hours. The soak time restrictions apply to the Connecticut River American shad gillnet fishery and are intended to reduce the risk of serious injury to, or loss of, ESA Endangered Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon. These species co-occur with the American shad gillnet fishery in the Connecticut River and are vulnerable to incidental capture in that fishery. The maximum soak time is dependent on water temperature consistent with NOAA Fisheries published permit restrictions for sturgeon researchers. DEEP is using these guidelines as the best available information for this emergency action to protect these endangered species while allowing this historical seasonal fishery to continue with minimal disruption to normal operations.

Marine Fisheries staff will monitor river water temperatures throughout the American shad gillnet fishery season which began April 1 and extends through June 15. Maximum soak times in effect will be posted on our website:

ct.gov/dep/lib/dep/fishing/commercial/connecticut_commercial_trip_limits.pdf

and available by contacting DEEP Marine Fisheries.

Prevailing river water temperature are determined from continuous monitoring conducted by US Geological Survey’s National Water Information System including the Middle Haddam Station available on the web at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ct/nwis/uv?site_no=01193050 and through direct measurement by agency staff as needed.

26-142a-6. Commercial fishing gear specifications

(c) Gill nets

(5) Gillnets used to take American shad on the Connecticut River shall not be fished in excess of the following soak times:

(A) four hours when water temperature is less than 68° F (20° C);

(B) two hours when water temperature is between 68° F (20° C) and 77° F (25° C) and;

(C) when water temperature exceeds 77° F (25° C) the use of gillnets to take American shad shall be prohibited.

(6) Soak time means the time elapsed between the onset of net deployment from the boat into the water and complete retrieval of the net from the water into the boat.

For more information on both Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon and ESA listing, please see the NOAA Protected Resources Division web site:

www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/atlanticsturgeon.htm

www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/shortnosesturgeon.htm

For further information, contact the DEEP Marine Fisheries Division by email at deep.marine.fisheries@ct.gov, by mail at PO Box 719, Old Lyme, CT 06371 or by telephone at 860.434.6043 between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer that is committed to requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any person with a disability who may need information in an alternative format may contact the agency's ADA Coordinator at 860-424-3194, or at deep.hrmed@ct.gov. Any person with limited proficiency in English, who may need information in another language, may contact the agency's Title VI Coordinator at (860) 4234-3035, or at deep.aaoffice@ct.gov. Any person with a hearing impairment may call the State of Connecticut relay number - 711. Discrimination complaints may be filed with DEEP's Title VI Coordinator. Requests for accommodations must be made at least two weeks prior to any agency hearing, program or event.

(N12-20)