Update (12/12/18): At its December meeting, the NEFMC signed off on new measures that will allow surfclam fishermen to continue fishing within strictly defined boundaries inside the Great South Channel Habitat Management Area. The Northeast Ocean Data Portal will be updated with the selected boundaries as soon as the geospatial data are available. For more information about the NEFMC’s decision, please see the NEFMC press release.
Great South Channel Habitat Management Area (HMA). View interactive map of the HMA
The New England Fishery Management Council is working on a Clam Dredge Framework to consider options for allowing continued surfclam fishery access to certain high-energy sand and gravel habitats in the Great South Channel Habitat Management Area (HMA). The surfclam fishery currently is allowed to operate in all but the northeast corner of the HMA under a one-year exemption that expires April 9, 2019. Since implementation of the Council’s Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 on April 9, 2018, the HMA has been closed to all other mobile bottom-tending gear.
The Council tasked its Habitat Plan Development Team (PDT) with analyzing five areas within the HMA where surfclam dredge fishermen potentially could continue to fish year-round. The PDT also was directed to analyze an additional four areas for potential seasonal exemptions. The Habitat Committee used the results of preliminary analyses to recommend a more detailed range of alternatives for Council consideration. The Council will consider four alternatives at its meeting on December 4, 2018. Alternatives 1 through 4 are described and shown individually in the list below.
To support decision-making about the Clam Dredge Framework Alternatives, the Council and the Northeast Ocean Data Portal have collaborated to make interactive maps of the alternatives available on the Portal, where they can be viewed in combination with fishing vessel activity, habitat characteristics, and other types of data.
Shareable link: https://www.northeastoceandata.org/OTzjpHwp
Please note that maps may take a few seconds to load due to NOAA server maintenance.
Clicking on this link will launch an interactive map that shows the Great South Channel Habitat Management Area (HMA) as a green area and Alternatives 2, 3, and 4 as hatched and dotted areas within the HMA. A hatched area would be a year-round exemption, and a dotted area would be a seasonal exemption. The Alternatives overlap each other and are best viewed one at a time. To do so, click on the Active Layers tab located near the left side of the browser window. Then use the checkboxes to select or deselect the individual Alternatives. To add other types of data to the map, click on the All Layers tab and then use the checkboxes to select other layers. Adjust the transparency of layers by using the sliders in the list of layers.
Notice: Some data layers and maps on Northeast Ocean Data may load slowly or be intermittently unavailable while NOAA performs maintenance on its data servers. (11/21/18)
CLAM DREDGE FRAMEWORK ALTERNATIVES
Alternative 1: No Action
The entire HMA closes to clam dredging on April 9, 2019.
- NEFMC Press Release: Council Forwards Clam Dredge Framework Alternatives for Analysis; Proposed Great South Channel HMA Exemptions
- NEFMC December 2018 meeting, Newport, RI
- November 7, 2018, NEFMC Habitat Committee Meeting
- September 2018 NEFMC Habitat Report
- September 24-27, 2018, NEFMC meeting, Plymouth, MA