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Atlantic Bluefin Tuna General Category Fishery: October through November Time-period Fishery Closing October 5, 2017

Posted: October 4, 2017

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) closes the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) General category fishery for large medium and giant BFT (measuring 73 inches curved fork length or greater) effective 11:30 p.m. local time on October 5, 2017, until it reopens on December 1, 2017.  Based on the best available landings information for the General category BFT fishery, as well as recent and anticipated catch rates and fishing conditions, NMFS has determined that the General category September subquota will be reached by October 5, and that a closure is warranted at this time.

Retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or giant BFT by persons aboard vessels permitted in the Atlantic tunas General and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/ Headboat categories must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time on October 5, 2017, through November 30, 2017.  The intent of this closure is to prevent overharvest of the General category October through November BFT subquota and help ensure reasonable fishing opportunities in the December subquota time period.  Catch-and-release fishing is permissible as described below.  NMFS reminds General category participants that when the fishery reopens December 1, 2017, the BFT General category daily retention limit will be one large medium or giant BFT (measuring 73” or greater) per vessel per day/trip. 

Who is affected?

This closure applies to vessels permitted in the commercial Atlantic tunas General category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category.  For more information on BFT fishing regulations, including recreational size and retention limits, please go to hmspermits.noaa.gov

Fishermen may catch and release or tag and release BFT of all sizes, subject to the requirements of HMS catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs.  NMFS regulations require that all BFT that are released be handled in a manner that will maximize their survival, and without removing the fish from the water.  For additional information on safe handling, see the “Careful Catch and Release” brochure available at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/   

NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fisheries closely.  Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving BFTLate reporting by dealers compromises NMFS’ ability to timely implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustment, as well as closures, and may result in enforcement actions.  General and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov or by using the HMS Catch Reporting App.  If needed, NMFS may make subsequent adjustments to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas.

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


 

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