FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - LMA 1 Restricted Area

The following are frequently asked questions and answers regarding the LMA 1 Restricted Area in the recently announced Final Rule to Amend the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan. These answers are DMR's interpretation of the rule. For more information, call NOAAs Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office at (978) 281-9300.

Where is the LMA 1 Restricted Area?

The Restricted Area is in offshore LMA 1, spanning lobster zones C, D, and E. The lat/long for the corners of the closure are as follows. A chart of the Area is below:

Longitude/Latitude

-69° 36.77' W/43° 06.00' N

-68° 21.60' W/43° 44.00' N

-68° 17.27' W/43° 32.68' N

-69° 32.16' W/42° 53.52' N

A chart of the LMA 1 Restricted Area is attached.

When does the LMA 1 Restricted Area go into effect?

The LMA 1 Restricted Area will annually be in effect from October 1st through January 31st. In 2021, the start date will be 30-days from publication of the final rule in the federal register (October 18, 2021).

What does the LMA 1 Restricted Area mean for fishermen?

Trap/pot fishermen will be required to move gear outside of the LMA 1 Restricted Area prior to the restricted period (see above).

Where can fishermen move gear with buoy lines?

Trap/pot gear removed from the LMA 1 Restricted Area may be placed according to applicable statute. If you are only federally permitted to fish in LMA 1, gear must be kept within LMA 1. Per Maine regulations, Maine lobster license holders may only fish up to 49% of their traps in another zone. A second zone tag must be affixed to a fishermans traps when fishing those traps in a zone other than their declared lobster zone.

I'm hearing ropeless fishing is allowed in the LMA 1 Restricted Area. What does this mean?

Ropeless fishing refers to fixed gear fishing without the use of persistent buoy lines to mark and retrieve gear. It can include the use of timed or remotely controlled technology to release floating devices or stored buoy lines to retrieve trawls.

The closure restricts trap/pot fishing that uses persistent (traditional) buoy lines. As a result, it is possible to fish with ropeless gear within the closure only if you meet specific requirements (see below).

What requirements do I have to meet for ropeless fishing?

To fish within the LMA 1 Restricted Area with ropeless gear, fishermen must first obtain an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) from NOAA.

To be eligible for an EFP, fishermen must meet several criteria including:

  • Use only acoustic release systems. Using these systems, fishermen must be within a close distance of the gear in order for the signal to be received and the line released, which minimizes the time the line spends in the water column unsupervised.

  • Use technology that has been tested elsewhere under comparable environmental conditions.

  • Have previous experience using these new technologies.

  • Coordinate with other EFP holders and the mobile gear fleet to minimize gear conflicts.

  • May be subject to additional reporting or monitoring requirements for enforcement purposes

Information about obtaining an EFP can be obtained by contacting the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO) at:

  • (978) 281-9315 or nmfs.gar.researchpermit@noaa.gov.

This document will be updated as new information is obtained. An FAQ will be issued around gear modifications as soon as we have additional clarity from NOAA