(a) Minimum fish sizes.
(1) Minimum fish sizes for recreational vessels and charter/party vessels that are not fishing under a NE multispecies DAS are specified in § 648.89. Except as provided in § 648.17, all other vessels are subject to the following minimum fish sizes, determined by total length (TL):
Minimum Fish Sizes (TL) for Commercial Vessels
|Cod||19 (48.3 cm)|
|Haddock||16 (40.6 cm)|
|Pollock||19 (48.3 cm)|
|Witch flounder (gray sole)||13 (33 cm)|
|Yellowtail flounder||12 (30.5 cm)|
|American plaice (dab)||12 (30.5 cm)|
|Atlantic halibut||41 (104.1 cm)|
|Winter flounder (blackback)||12 (30.5 cm)|
|Redfish||7 (17.8 cm)|
(2) The minimum fish size applies to whole fish or to any part of a fish while possessed on board a vessel, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, and to whole, whole-gutted or gilled fish only, after landing. For purposes of determining compliance with the possession limits in § 648.86, the weight of fillets and parts of fish, other than whole-gutted or gilled fish, will be multiplied by 3. Fish fillets, or parts of fish, must have skin on while possessed on board a vessel and at the time of landing in order to meet minimum size requirements. “Skin on” means the entire portion of the skin normally attached to the portion of the fish or to fish parts possessed is still attached.
(1) Each person aboard a vessel issued a NE multispecies limited access permit and fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip may possess up to 25 lb (11.3 kg) of fillets that measure less than the minimum size, if such fillets are from legal-sized fish and are not offered or intended for sale, trade, or barter. The weight of fillets and parts of fish, other than whole-gutted or gilled fish, shall be multiplied by 3. For the purposes of accounting for all catch by sector vessels as specified at § 648.87(b)(1)(v), the weight of all fillets and parts of fish, other than whole-gutted or gilled fish reported for at-home consumption shall be multiplied by a factor of 3.
(2) Recreational, party, and charter vessels may possess fillets less than the minimum size specified, if the fillets are taken from legal-sized fish and are not offered or intended for sale, trade or barter.
(3) Vessels fishing exclusively with pot gear may possess NE multispecies frames used, or to be used, as bait, that measure less than the minimum fish size, if there is a receipt for purchase of those frames on board the vessel.
(1) At any time when information is available, the NEFMC will review the best available mesh selectivity information to determine the appropriate minimum size for the species listed in paragraph (a) of this section, except winter flounder, according to the length at which 25 percent of the regulated species would be retained by the applicable minimum mesh size.
(2) Upon determination of the appropriate minimum sizes, the NEFMC shall propose the minimum fish sizes to be implemented following the procedures specified in § 648.90.
[69 FR 22974, Apr. 27, 2004, as amended at 71 FR 46876, Aug. 15, 2006; 72 FR 11276, Mar. 12, 2007; 75 FR 18328, Apr. 9, 2010; 76 FR 42585, July 19, 2011; 78 FR 26158, May 3, 2013; 85 FR 26885, May 6, 2020]