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Atlantic Bluefin Tuna General Category Fishery: Inseason quota transfer for the end of 2015

Posted: October 30, 2015

Actions being taken and important dates

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) adjusts the General category Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) quota by transferring 35 metric tons (mt) from the Harpoon category and 65 mt from the Reserve category.  This transfer results in adjusted 2015 quotas of 566.7 mt, 43.6 mt and 82.1 mt for the General, Harpoon, and Reserve categories, respectively.  NMFS will close the 2015 General category fishery when the adjusted General category quota of 566.7 mt has been reached, or it will close automatically on December 31, 2015.  NMFS takes this action after considering the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments, which include available quota, fishery performance in recent years, availability of BFT on the fishing grounds, and the effects of the adjustment on the stock and on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and Amendments.  This action should provide opportunities to harvest the available U.S. BFT quota without exceeding it; preserve the opportunity for General category fishermen to participate in the winter BFT fishery; and collect a broad range of data for stock monitoring purposes. Through December 31, 2015, the current General category retention limit of four large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day/trip remains in effect.  For more information on BFT fishing regulations, including recreational size and retention limits, please go to hmspermits.noaa.gov.  

Who is affected?

This action applies to vessels permitted in the commercial Atlantic tunas General category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category while fishing commercially.  NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fisheries closely.  Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving BFT.  General category, HMS Charter/Headboat, Harpoon, and Angling category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead, within 24 hours of the landing(s) or the end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov.  Depending on fishing effort and catch rates, additional retention limit adjustments or fishery closures may be necessary to ensure available quota is not exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas.

NMFS regulations at 50 CFR 635.21(a)(1) require that all BFT that are released be handled in a manner that will maximize survivability, and without removing the fish from the water.  For additional information on safe handling, see the Careful Catch and Release brochure available at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/compliance/guides/index.html

This notice is a courtesy to HMS fishery permit holders to help keep you informed about the fishery.  For additional information, call (888) 872-8862 or (978) 281-9260, or go to hmspermits.noaa.gov.  Official notice of Federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register.

 

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