DEEP: 2019 Commercial Fishery Management Plan

2019 Commercial Fishery Management Plan
December 21, 2018

JANUARY – APRIL

Summer flounder: The fishery will be closed on January 1st and will open on January 6th with a 600 pound biweekly (per two week period) landing limit. The limit will be adjusted periodically to maintain a steady biweekly landing rate, with the goal of landing not more than 25% of the annual quota through April 30. The possession limit will be reduced to 50 pounds per trip once 25% of the annual quota is reached. The first biweekly period begins Sunday, January 6th and ends Saturday, January 19th. Each subsequent biweekly period will similarly begin on Sunday and end the second Saturday following. Call-in / Call-out is required under biweekly landing limits – prior to departure and again prior to offloading call EnCon Police at 860.424.3503 (24/7) and provide vessel name, Captain’s name, departure date, return date, port of landing and prior to offloading the hail weight of summer flounder onboard. A summer flounder license endorsement is required to land summer flounder.

Scup (porgy): Follow Federal Winter 1 Period rules: initially 50,000 pound possession limit, then dropping to 1,000 pounds when 80% of the Period quota has been harvested. No scup license endorsement is required during the Federal Winter 1 or Winter 2 Periods. 

MAY - SEPTEMBER

Scup (porgy): The possession limit will initially be 1,200 pounds. The possession limit will be adjusted periodically to maintain a steady weekly landing rate and prevent a fishery closure, with the goal of landing 100% of the summer quota by September 30. A scup license endorsement is required to land scup, except under a restricted commercial fishing license for which the possession limit is 60 scup for license holders without a scup license endorsement. Commercial lobster pot fishermen may, when in possession of lobsters, possess 10 scup. The 60 fish limit may also be adjusted (lowered) in-season in approximate proportion to any adjustment in the limit for scup license endorsement holders.

MAY - OCTOBER

Summer flounder: The possession limit will initially be 100 pounds. The possession limit will be adjusted periodically to maintain a steady weekly landing rate, with the goal of not landing more than 95% of the annual quota, cumulatively, by October 31. A summer flounder license endorsement is required to land fluke.

October - December

Scup (porgy): Follow Federal Winter 2 Period rules. During the Federal Winter 2 Period the initial possession limit will be 12,000 pounds. This limit may be adjusted based on Winter 1 fishery performance.
 
ANNUAL

American eel: Minimum length is 9 inches.

American lobster: The closed season for lobster is September 8 through November 28. Minimum size is 3 3/8 inches.

Atlantic menhaden:
• The possession limit for the harvest of menhaden in CT waters is 12,000 pounds until 90% of the annual quota has been landed.
• For the landing of menhaden taken from outside of CT waters:
• 120,000 pounds until 75% of the annual quota is landed then;
• 20,000 pounds until 90% of the quota is landed.
• Once 90% of the annual quota is landed, the directed fishery will be closed and the incidental catch limit will be 6,000 pounds.
• Call-in required: To accurately monitor landings and manage the commercial quota, the Marine Fisheries Program and DEEP Environmental Conservation Police have developed a call-in system. When in possession of 6,000 pounds or more of menhaden and prior to departure and again prior to landing, fishermen must notify DEEP Environmental Conservation Police Dispatch by telephone at 860.424-3503.

Black sea bass: 10 fish possession limit effective Jan 1. The fishery will close when 100% of the annual quota has been landed. A black sea bass license endorsement is required to land sea bass, including from lobster pots.

Bluefish: 1,200 pound possession limit effective Jan 1. Possession limits will be adjusted periodically to maintain a steady monthly landing rate and prevent in-season closure, with the goal of landing 100% of the annual quota. To prevent significant change in the character of the fishery, such as large-scale targeted net fishing, the possession limit will not exceed 1,500 pounds.

Groundfish: The following federal commercial minimum lengths are in effect for CT waters: cod (19 in), haddock (16 in), pollock (19 in), witch flounder (13 in), yellowtail flounder (12 in), American plaice (12 in), winter flounder (12 in), and redfish (7 in).

Jonah crab: In the commercial fishery no Jonah crab less than 4.75 inches carapace width may be possessed or sold. Possession of egg bearing Jonah crabs or crabs from which the eggs have been removed is prohibited. Jonah crabs must also be landed whole. Landing claws only is prohibited. Possession of more than two loose claws per body is prohibited. The possession limit in non-trap fisheries is 1,000 crabs. There is no possession limit in the lobster pot fishery. (Connecticut licensing statutes do not allow crabs to be taken by pots other than lobster pots.)

Smooth dogfish: 50 pound possession limit effective Jan 1. The fishery will close when 100% of the quota has been landed.

Spiny dogfish: 6,000 pound possession limit effective Jan 1. Spiny dogfish are managed under a regional annual quota. The fishery will close when 100% of the regional quota has been harvested.

Tautog: 10 fish possession limit when fishing under a limited access (moratorium) license, and 3 fish when fishing under a restricted commercial fishing license. Open seasons are the months of April, July, August, and between Oct 8 and Dec 24. The minimum size is 16 inches.

Weakfish: 100 pounds all year.

Winter flounder: 50 pounds or 38 fish unless the fish were taken in federal waters under a federal groundfish permit.

All of the possession limits listed above apply to the aggregate of all persons on board the vessel per trip or per day whichever is the longer period of time. Transfer of these species between vessels at sea is prohibited. In any instance where there is a violation of the possession limit on board a vessel carrying more than one person when the catch is commingled, the violation shall be deemed to have been committed by the owner of the vessel, or the operator of the vessel, if the owner is not on board. When any person on a vessel is commercial fishing, the commercial possession limit applies to the entire vessel and no person on that vessel may also possess fish under a recreational creel limit.

For current commercial fishery trip limits and quota status:
Call 860-434-6374 24/7 for a recorded message of current possession limits, or see:
www.ct.gov/deep/TL.

Please refer to the Quick Guide to 2016 Connecticut Commercial Fishing Licenses for more information concerning changes to commercial fishery licensing effective January 1, 2016 including both new requirements for license renewal and new opportunities. 

The Department monitors landings and adjusts trip limits according to Department regulations in an attempt to provide fishing opportunity throughout the year for all participants in the commercial fishery. In addition, the Department strives to provide advance notification of trip limit changes, although this may not always be possible due to rapidly escalating or unanticipated landings. In such circumstances, only a short notification period may be possible.

The information provided in this notice is a summary of possession limits and other general rules only. For complete information on commercial fishing regulations please see:
www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/fishing/saltwater/marinecirc.pdf, or contact the DEEP Marine Fisheries Program 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 complying with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please contact us at (860) 418-5910 or
deep.accommodations@ct.gov if you: have a disability and need a communication aid or service; have limited proficiency in English and may need information in another language; or if you wish to file an ADA or Title VI discrimination complaint.
 
(N18-25)