NEFMCNew England Fishery Management Council
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Although no directed fisheries for this species exists in the Gulf of Maine, this skate meets the minimum 1 1/4 pound-cut pectoral-fin size sought after by wing processors (Sosebee, 2000; NEFMC (1,2)).
Several of these measures are summarized in NEFMC (1996), (1998a), (1999c), (1999d), and (2000).
Silver hake stocks were last assessed in 1990; there are no current estimates of stock size or spawning stock biomass (NEFSC (13); NEFMC, 1999b).
A substantial juvenile mortality caused by consistently high discard rates in the otter trawl and northern shrimp fisheries may be impacting the adult populations, long-term yield, and spawning stock biomass (Mayo, 1998; NEFMC, 1999b).
Since 1992, the northern stock's exploitation rate grew from 42% to about 65% (Mayo, 1998; NEFMC, 1999b).
Adults occur along the southern New England and mid-Atlantic coasts from the inshore waters out to the continental shelf break during late winter to early spring, migrate north into the Gulf of Maine to feed in the spring, segregate into spawning aggregations in late summer and fall, then migrate south again after spawning to overwinter in warmer waters (Friedland, 1998; NEFMC, 1999a).
Most fish mature by age 5, some by age 3 (Friedland, 1998; NEFMC, 1999a).
Spawning occurs at depths of 10-100 m from late summer to fall, following a counter-clockwise progression from the northeastern Gulf of Maine around to Georges Bank (Friedland, 1998; NEFMC, 1999a).
The foreign fleet consisted primarily of stern trawlers and side trawlers rigged for purse seining (Anthony and Waring, 1980; NEFMC, 1999a).
The ASMFC coordinates management of interjurisdictional fisheries and resources within state waters and is working with NEFMC to develop complimentary management measures for state and Federal waters.
The NEFMC is taking a conservative approach under the new management plan by attempting to account for natural population fluctuations, ecosystem level considerations, such as predator-prey interactions, and the potential impacts of overfishing.