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NOAA Fisheries Transfers 34 mt of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Quota from the Reserve Category to the Longline Category

Posted: July 28, 2015

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) transfers 34 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin tuna quota from the Reserve category to the Longline category.  This inseason quota transfer does not preclude future inseason quota transfers to any of the quota categories.  

As a result of this quota transfer, 0.25 mt (551 lb) of Individual Bluefin Quota (IBQ) will be distributed to each of the 136 permit holders who received IBQ shares under Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP).  Specifically, IBQ allocation will be distributed by July 31 via the electronic IBQ system to the Vessel Accounts with eligible permits associated with a vessel.  For those permits that qualified for IBQ shares and are not associated with a vessel at the time of the quota transfer, the IBQ will not be usable by the permit holder (i.e., may not be leased or used to account for bluefin tuna) until the permit is associated with a vessel.  Further, the allocated IBQ will include the regional designation, either Gulf of Mexico (GOM) IBQ, Atlantic (ATL) IBQ, or both GOM and ATL IBQ, according to the eligible permit share’s regional designations (and totaling 0.25 mt).  

Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) anticipated providing additional quota to the Longline category, and, in turn, to pelagic longline vessels with IBQ, to help vessel owners account for bluefin tuna landings and dead discards while fostering conditions in which permit holders become more willing to lease IBQ.  Specifically, NMFS takes this action after considering the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments, including optimizing fishing opportunity, accounting for dead discards, and the effects of the adjustment on the stock and on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP.  This action should enhance the ability of vessel owners to account for bluefin tuna catch, reduce quota debt, facilitate quota leasing, and reduce uncertainty in the fishery.

Longline category permit holders are reminded that all bluefin tuna discarded dead must be reported through the Vessel Monitoring System, and accounted for in the on-line IBQ system. NMFS will continue to monitor the bluefin tuna fisheries, including the pelagic longline fishery, through the mandatory landings and catch reports.  

As a result of this quota transfer, the Reserve category quota will be reduced from 108.8 mt to 74.8 mt, and the Longline category quota will be increased from 137.3 mt to 171.3 mt.

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


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