NOAA Fisheries Closes Nantucket Lightship and Closed Area I Closure Areas to Gillnet Gear
In compliance with a recent Federal District Court Order, NOAA Fisheries is implementing a closure of the Nantucket Lightship and Closed Area I Groundfish Closure Areas for gillnet gear only.
This rule is effective December 17th. All gillnetters must remove their gillnet gear from these areas as soon as possible, consistent with safe vessel operations.
The October 28, 2019, Court Order prohibits NOAA Fisheries from allowing gillnet fishing in the former Nantucket Lightship Groundfish Closure Area and the Closed Area I Groundfish Closure Areas (see map below) until NOAA Fisheries has fully complied with requirements of the Endangered Species Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, consistent with the Opinion.
After the Order was issued, NOAA notified gillnetters in these areas on November 1 that all gillnet gear needed to be removed from these two areas and that we would be issuing a formal rule closing these areas. That formal rule has now been issued.