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DMR Home > Species Info > Whales > DAM February 3, 2007

NMFS announces that lobster trap/pot and anchored gillnet fishermen must comply with required gear modifications (see below) in a Maine DAM zone, February 3 - 17, 2007

(E-mail dated Jan. 30, 2007)

Dear ALWTRT Member or Interested Party:

As a follow-up to the e-mail below, the effective dates of the DAM zone are 0001 hours February 3, 2007, through 2400 hours February 17, 2007. A permit holder letter including the DAM zone coordinates and restrictions will soon be available on the ALWTRP website (http://www.nero.nmfs.gov/whaletrp) under “What’s New.” An outreach supplement showing the DAM zone overlayed onto a Nautical Chart will also be available shortly. NMFS will be notifying the public of the DAM zone by issuing radio announcements, working through appropriate media, distributing the permit holder letter to affected fishermen, as well as other means. As an ALWTRT member or interested party, NMFS appreciates your assistance in spreading the word about the DAM zone and its gear restrictions.

If you have any questions regarding the DAM regulations or this particular DAM zone, please contact the ALWTRP Coordinator, Diane Borggaard, at 978-281-9300 ext. 6503.

Diane Borggaard wrote:

Dear ALWTRT Member or Interested Party:

This is an advance notice that NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has approved a temporary rule to establish a Dynamic Area Management (DAM) zone in the Gulf of Maine. The temporary rule is expected to file with the Office of the Federal Register on Monday and NMFS will relay the effective dates of the DAM zone at that time. DAM zones are effective two calendar days after publication of the notice in the Federal Register for a 15-day period.

On January 22, 2007, thirty Northern right whales (right whales) were sighted in the proximity of 43º 22' N latitude and 68º 21' W longitude, east of Portland, Maine, which resulted in NMFS taking action under the Dynamic Area Management (DAM) program to provide protection for this aggregation of right whales. Lobster trap/pot and anchored gillnet fishermen will need to comply with the required gear modifications in an area (see below) for a 15-day period when the temporary rule is effective. The regulations would apply to lobster trap/pot and anchored gillnet fishermen in an area totaling approximately 2,185 square nautical miles. Once effective, all anchored gillnet and lobster trap/pot gear must comply with the gear restrictions required to continue fishing in a DAM zone for the restricted time period. In addition, NMFS will require that no additional gear be set in the DAM zone during the 15-day period unless that gear has been modified accordingly.

Coordinates for the DAM Zone when effective are as follows:

43º 48´N., 68º 55´W (NW Corner)
43º 48´N., 67º 51´W
43º 01´N., 67º 51´W
43º 01´N., 68º 55´W
43º 48´N., 68º 55´W (NW Corner)

When the effective dates of the DAM zone are known, NMFS will send a subsequent e-mail [see above]. In addition, NMFS will notify the public by issuing radio announcements, working through appropriate media, distributing the permit holder letter to affected fishermen, as well as other means. As an ALWTRT member or interested party, NMFS appreciates your assistance in spreading the word about the upcoming DAM zone and its gear restrictions.

To obtain the DAM regulations in their entirety, please call 978-281-9300 x6505. In addition, these regulations are available by accessing the ALWTRP web page (http://www.nero.nmfs.gov/whaletrp/) and going to “The Plan” and “Elements of the Plan.” If you have any questions, please call 978-281-9300 x6505 or the ALWTRP Coordinator at the number below.

---
Diane Borggaard
Large Whale Coordinator
NOAA/NMFS/NERO Protected Resources Division
1 Blackburn Dr.
Gloucester, MA 01930
Ph: 978-281-9300 ext. 6503
Fax: 978-281-9394

email:

DAM Program Gear Requirements

In addition to those gear modifications currently implemented under the ALWTRP at 50 CFR 229.32, the following gear modifications are required in the DAM zone. If the requirements and exceptions for gear modification in the DAM zone, as described below, differ from other ALWTRP requirements for any overlapping areas and times, then the more restrictive requirements will apply in the DAM zone. Please note that the below provides a summary of the DAM Program gear requirements and is not a substitute for the ALWTRP regulations.

Lobster Trap/Pot Gear

Fishermen utilizing lobster trap/pot gear within the portion of the Northern Inshore State Lobster Waters and Northern Nearshore Lobster Waters that overlap with the DAM zone are required to utilize all of the following gear modifications while the DAM zone is in effect:

1. Groundlines must be made of either sinking or neutrally buoyant line. Floating groundlines are prohibited;
2. All buoy lines must be made of either sinking or neutrally buoyant line, except the bottom portion of the line, which may be a section of floating line not to exceed one-third the overall length of the buoy line;
3. Fishermen are allowed to use two buoy lines per trawl; and
4. A weak link with a maximum breaking strength of 600 lb (272.4 kg) must be placed at all buoys.

Fishermen utilizing lobster trap/pot gear within the portion of the Offshore Lobster Waters Area that overlap with the DAM zone are required to utilize all of the following gear modifications while the DAM zone is in effect:

1. Groundlines must be made of either sinking or neutrally buoyant line. Floating groundlines are prohibited;
2. All buoy lines must be made of either sinking or neutrally buoyant line, except the bottom portion of the line, which may be a section of floating line not to exceed one-third the overall length of the buoy line;
3. Fishermen are allowed to use two buoy lines per trawl; and
4. A weak link with a maximum breaking strength of 1,500 lb (680.4 kg) must be placed at all buoys.

Anchored Gillnet Gear

Fishermen utilizing anchored gillnet gear within the portions of the Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area that overlap with the DAM zone are required to utilize all the following gear modifications while the DAM zone is in effect:

1. Groundlines must be made of either sinking or neutrally buoyant line. Floating groundlines are prohibited;
2. All buoy lines must be made of either sinking or neutrally buoyant line, except the bottom portion of the line, which may be a section of floating line not to exceed one-third the overall length of the buoy line;
3. Fishermen are allowed to use two buoy lines per string;
4. Each net panel must have a total of five weak links with a maximum breaking strength of 1,100 lb (498.8 kg). Net panels are typically 50 fathoms (91.4 m) in length, but the weak link requirements would apply to all variations in panel size. These weak links must include three floatline weak links. The placement of the weak links on the floatline must be: one at the center of the net panel and one each as close as possible to each of the bridle ends of the net panel. The remaining two weak links must be placed in the center of each of the up and down lines at the panel ends;
5. A weak link with a maximum breaking strength of 1,100 lb (498.8 kg) must be placed at all buoys; and
6. All anchored gillnets, regardless of the number of net panels, must be securely anchored with the holding power of at least a 22 lb (10.0 kg) Danforth-style anchor at each end of the net string.