NOAA Fisheries is transferring 26 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin tuna quota from the Reserve category to the January 2019 subquota period, resulting in a subquota of 75 mt for January 2019. Although it is called the “January” subquota, the regulations allow the General category fishery under this quota to continue until the subquota is reached or March 31, whichever comes first. This adjustment is intended to provide a reasonable opportunity to harvest the U.S. bluefin tuna quota without exceeding it, while maintaining an equitable distribution of fishing opportunities; help achieve optimum yield in the bluefin tuna fishery; and collect a broad range of data for stock monitoring purposes. NOAA Fisheries reminds General category participants that the daily retention limit is one large medium or giant bluefin tuna (measuring 73” or greater) per vessel per day/trip. More information can be found in the Federal Register notice — see the Atlantic HMS Management Division’s website.
Who is Affected?
This action applies to General category (commercial) permitted vessels and to HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for bluefin tuna. Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving bluefin tuna. Late dealer reporting compromises NOAA Fisheries’ ability to implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustments or fishery closures and may result in enforcement actions. Additionally, and separate from the dealer reporting requirement, General category and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel owners are required to report their own catch of all bluefin tuna 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, or calling (888) 872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.).
All bluefin tuna that are released must be handled in a manner that will maximize survivability and without removing the fish from the water. Download the Careful Catch and Release brochure for more safe handling tips.
This notice is a courtesy to bluefin tuna 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.