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Annual adjustment of Atlantic bluefin tuna Purse Seine and Reserve category quotas; reminder of quotas for other categories and new reporting requirements implemented in Amendment 7

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Quotas for 2015:

Annual adjustment of Atlantic bluefin tuna Purse Seine and Reserve category quotas; reminder of quotas for other categories and new reporting requirements implemented in Amendment 7

February 10, 2015

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is adjusting the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) Purse Seine and Reserve category quotas for 2015 and informing the public of the preliminary 2015 quotas for the other categories based on the regulations implementing Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan.

Quota Category Quota for 2015 (mt)
General

403

Subquotas: January-March: 42.4*; June-August:  201.5; September: 106.8; October-November: 52.4; December: 0*

Harpoon 33.4
Purse Seine 71.7 (adjusted amount, based on criteria for individual participant allocations, reflecting reallocation of 87.4 mt of Purse Seine category quota to the Reserve category)
Longline 137.3 (not including 25-mt ICCAT set-aside for Northeast Distant Gear Restricted Area)
Trap 0.9
Angling

168.6

Subquotas:  School: 94.9  (Reserve: 17.6; North 36.5; South 40.8); Large School /Small Medium: 69.8  (North 32.9; South 36.9); Trophy: 3.9  (North 1.3; South 1.3; Gulf of Mexico: 1.3)

Reserve 108.8 (adjusted amount, reflecting reallocation of 87.4 mt of Purse Seine category quota)

*2015 subquotas adjusted via inseason action on December 29, 2014 (79 FR 77943), reflecting transfer of 21 mt from the December 2015 subquota period to the January 2015 subquota period.

The above quotas are based upon the currently codified U.S. quota of 923.7 mt and the application of the Amendment 7 regulations.  The baseline (prior to adjustment) Purse Seine and Reserve category quotas were 159.1 mt and 21.4 mt).  In accordance with procedures adopted in Amendment 7, NMFS calculates the quota available annually to each of the Atlantic Tunas Purse Seine category participants based on last year’s catch and then adjusts the Purse Seine category quota accordingly.  The remainder is reallocated to the Reserve category.  NMFS may allocate any portion of the Reserve category quota for inseason or annual adjustments to any fishing category quota, as well as for scientific research collection of bluefin tuna this year.

NMFS anticipates that it will announce additional bluefin tuna quota adjustments during 2015.  For example, when complete 2014 bluefin tuna catch information is available and finalized, NMFS may augment the Reserve further by carrying forward underharvest, if any, from 2014, consistent with ICCAT limits.  Also, the 2014 ICCAT recommendation regarding western Atlantic bluefin tuna management increases the baseline U.S. bluefin tuna quota and subquotas; NMFS will undertake domestic implementation of that recommendation in a separate rulemaking, with quotas finalized likely in mid-2015.

NMFS reminds fishery participants of new bluefin tuna catch reporting requirements:
General, Harpoon, and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel operators are required to report the number and length of all BFT retained or discarded dead through an online catch reporting system within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov.  Vessels fishing with pelagic longline gear and dealers purchasing HMS from such vessels are also subject to new reporting requirements as described in the following documents posted on the HMS Amendment 7 website: (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/documents/fmp/am7/index.html)

For more details on Amendment 7, see these links:

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/documents/fmp/am7/a7_compliance_guide_123114.pdf

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/documents/fmp/am7/example_bft_dealer_letter.pdf

This notice is a courtesy to BFT 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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