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NOAA Fisheries Announces the Application of the Individual Bluefin Quota Accounting Rules in the Northeast Distant Area

Posted November 12, 2015

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is notifying the public that the 25-mt bycatch quota available for the Atlantic bluefin tuna Longline category Northeast Distant gear restricted area (NED) fishery has been attained, and announces that vessels fishing in the NED must abide by the requirements of the Individual Bluefin Quota (IBQ) program and bluefin tuna bycatch must be accounted for using the vessel’s IBQ allocation. 

Catch of NED Quota

The 25-mt set-aside for bycatch of bluefin tuna related to longline fisheries in the vicinity of the ICCAT management area boundary (the NED), has been caught.  Based on bluefin tuna landings to date from the NED, reported bluefin tuna dead discards, and Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) reported bluefin tuna retained by vessels fishing in the NED, the 25-mt NED quota has been filled. 

Therefore, vessels may continue to fish in the NED, but then the permitted vessels must abide by the applicable requirements of the IBQ program.  Bluefin tuna caught in the NED must be accounted for using the vessel’s IBQ allocation, as described below.

Application of the IBQ Accounting Rules in the NED and Important Dates

Because the NED the bycatch quota has been filled as of November 12, 2015, vessels are notified that they must account for any bycatch of bluefin tuna (landings and/or dead discards) in the NED using IBQ allocation as specified in the regulations §635.15(b)(8).   

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

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