NOAA has approved and implemented Framework Adjustment 5 to the Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan and 2018-2019 Specifications. The Framework 5 provisions allow limited possession of barndoor skate in the directed skate wing fishery, and exempt vessels from some specific domestic skate regulations when fishing exclusively within the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Regulatory Area.
The final rule establishes the following measures that become effective on September 28, 2018 for the remainder of the 2018 fishing year and for fishing year 2019:
- An annual catch limit (ACL) for the skate complex of 31,327 mt (a slight increase from 31,081 mt in 2017);
- Overall total allowable landings (TAL) of 13,157 mt, with a TAL of 8,749 mt for the wing fishery (a slight increase from 8,372 mt in 2017), and a TAL of 4,408 mt (a slight increase from 4,218 mt) for the bait fishery;
- Allows limited possession of barndoor skate in the directed skate wing fishery for vessels fishing under a Northeast multispecies, sea scallop, or monkfish days-at-sea;
- Prohibits discards of any skate wings when barndoor skate is in possession (i.e., no high-grading allowed);
- Requires that barndoor skate wings and carcasses on board a vessel must be separated from other species of fish and stored so as to be readily available for inspection;