ANNOUNCEMENT FROM NOAA: Beginning June 1, 2019, the General Category daily retention limit for large medium or giant bluefin tuna will be 3 fish per vessel per day/trip. For further information Read Below:

General Category Limit Will Start at Three Large Medium or Giant Bluefin Tuna Per Vessel Per Day/Trip Beginning June 1

NOAA Fisheries is adjusting the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) General category daily retention limit from the default limit of one to three large medium or giant BFT (measuring 73” or greater) per vessel per day/trip for the beginning of the June 1 through August 31, 2019 time period.

Why is this change being made?

NOAA Fisheries takes this action after considering the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments, which include:

  • Considerations about the amount of available quota.
  • Effects of the action on the continuation of the fishery.
  • Availability of BFT on the fishing grounds.
  • The value of information obtained from the fishery.
  • The effects of the adjustment on the stock and on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan and amendments.

We also considered general input from the HMS Advisory Panel.

We anticipate that General category participants in all areas and time periods will have opportunities to harvest the General category quota in 2019 through more proactive inseason management, as practicable.

Who is affected?

This action applies to General category permitted vessels and to HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for BFT. It is effective for all areas except for the Gulf of Mexico, which is designated as BFT spawning grounds and where NOAA Fisheries does not allow targeted fishing for BFT.

Regardless of the duration of a fishing trip, the daily retention limit applies upon landing. For example, whether a vessel fishing under the General category limit takes a two-day trip or makes two trips in one day, the daily limit of three fish may not be exceeded upon landing.

Catch reporting

Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises our ability to timely implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustments, as well as closures, and may result in enforcement actions.

Separate from the dealer reporting requirement, General category and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel owners are required to report their own catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead, within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip by:

  • Accessing the HMS Permit Shop.
  • Using the HMS Catch Reporting App.
  • Calling 888-872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.).

NOAA Fisheries will closely monitor General category catch rates associated with the various authorized gear types during the June through August period and actively adjust the daily retention limit as appropriate to enhance scientific data collection from, and ensure fishing opportunities in, all respective time-period subquotas as well as ensure available quota is not exceeded.

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This notice is a courtesy to BFT fishery permit holders to help keep you informed about the fishery.  For additional information, call 978-281-9260 or go to the HMS Permit Shop.

Official notice of federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register.