The primary agenda items for this round of lobster zone council meetings is to discuss individual zone minimum trawl lengths and weak points, as well as next steps at the federal level.
For some background, the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) had submitted a Maine state-wide right whale proposal to NMFS earlier this year. This proposal was brought to all seven lobster zone councils for discussion this past winter.
A key component of DMR’s proposal is a conservation equivalency, a provision which would allow the state’s lobster management zones to implement measures that achieve equivalent conservation outcomes. This would enable zone councils to consider a different suite of measures which work for their local fishing practices, oceanographic conditions, and safety concerns.
In this process, each zone could form a sub-committee to come up with a conservation equivalency for their zone. All seven zone sub-committees met with DMR to ensure that their zone’s recommended scenario was equivalent to the state plan. The sub-committees were then tasked with bringing their zone recommendations to the full lobster zone council for discussion.
Below is the Lobster Zone F Sub-Committee recommendation to the Zone F Council:
- Exemption Line-3 miles: Triples
- 3-12 miles: 10s
- 12+ miles: 26s
- 1 weak point in all federal waters
The primary agenda item for this round of meetings is for each zone council to discuss the individual sub-committee’s recommendations for their zone and to decide whether to advance those recommendations, or maintain the state-wide proposal’s measures.
Zone councils may also want to discuss measures not included in the DMR proposal, but which are still within the zone council’s authority, such as trawl length maximums.
Anyone that has provided DMR with an email address will receive the link to join the meeting or the telephone number to call into the meeting.
Here are three ways to join the meeting:
If you haven’t joined a Teams Meeting before, here is some information on how to join.
- If joining the Teams Meeting from your smartphone, download the free Microsoft Teams app in advance of the meeting. You will be able to log into the app as a “guest,” and it will prompt you to enter your name. Allow Microsoft Teams to use your audio and microphone when prompted so that you will be able to participate in the meeting.
- If joining this meeting from your computer, you do not need to download the app – just click on the “Join Microsoft Teams Meeting” link below. When a webpage opens and asks how you want to join the meeting, click “Join on the web instead”. You can use any browser except Safari.
- Here is a conference call telephone number if you prefer to call in directly. Calling in would limit your ability to see what might be presented on the screen. 1-207-209-4724. Please see the conference ID below.
Council Members ONLY – please notify Sarah Cotnoir (207-592-8813) by Friday, September 25, 2020 whether you will be available to join the video conference or call in.
Please see the draft agenda below:
- Welcome and Review Agenda
- New Business
- Zone F Sub-Committee Presents the Right Whale Conservation equivalency Recommendations to the Zone F Council
- Lobster Zone Council Discussion re: Recommendations
- Open Discussion re: Recommendations
- Zone F Council Position re: Recommendations
- Maximum Trawl Length – Zone authority (not through Federal Whale Plan)
- Reports & Updates – Next Steps:
- Proposed Rule/Comment Period
- Biological Opinion
- Next Meeting Date Set