This framework considered updating the Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan (FMP) objectives and revising the conditions of the open-access federal skate fishing permit. In February 2022, the Council selected “No Action” for the permitting alternatives and agreed to update the FMP objectives through Amendment 8.

Framework 9 stemmed from Amendment 5, through which the Council considered revising FMP objectives and developing a limited access skate permit and other measures that may prevent the triggering of incidental possession limits, improve catch reporting, and more clearly define participants in the federal skate fishery.

In September 2021, the Council decided to stop work on Amendment 5 and initiate Framework Adjustment 9 to further consider a sub-set of the issues developed through Amendment 5. 

The alternatives in Framework 9 proposed to restrict the ability to add and drop federal skate permits throughout the year. The Council’s rationale for preferring No Action on permit restrictions was two-fold:  

  1. This flexibility has been used by a small number of vessels in recent years (30 or less). In fishing year 2021, fishery landings relative to the total allowable landings (TAL) were quite low as of January 1, 2022, accounting for only 12% of the Bait TAL and 32% of the wing TAL. Restricting permits as contemplated in this action is not needed to ensure the fishery remains within TALs. 
  2. The Council also expressed concern that the permit office at the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office would have difficulties determining whether requests for permit cancellations were consistent with the intent of this action.

Since the Council selected No Action as the preferred alternative, Framework 9 will not be submitted to NOAA Fisheries for review. Updates to FMP objectives will be submitted to NOAA Fisheries through Amendment 8.

Skate Framework Adjustment 9 Discussion Document – Working Draft - January 20, 2022