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Bycatch Reduction

Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, bycatch is defined as fish that are harvested in a fishery, but are not sold or kept for personal use, and includes economic discards and regulatory discards. Bycatch does not include fish released alive under a recreational catch and release fishery management plan. The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires NOAA Fisheries to minimize bycatch and bycatch mortality, to the extent practicable.

In HMS fisheries bycatch of billfish on commercial gear, undersized swordfish, sharks on commercial gear after a seasonal closure; bluefin tuna on pelagic longline gear, and protected species such as sea turtles and whales have been of particular concern because of the impact on the stocks of these species. The rules below are designed to reduce bycatch in HMS fisheries.

Reports and Notices

Final Rules

07/06/2004 Final Rule to Reduce Sea Turtle Bycatch and Bycatch Mortality in the Pelagic Longline Fishery
Federal Register Notice
2004 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement
08/01/2000 Final regulations to prohibit pelagic longline fishing in DeSoto Canyon, Florida East Coast, and Charleston Bump. Also prohibits use of live bait in the Gulf of Mexico
Federal Register Notice
Compliance Guide for Time/Area Closures
06/14/2000 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on measures to reduce bycatch in Atlantic pelagic longline fishery (Please note: these are large files that may take some time to load.)