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Amendment 13 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan: Bluefin Management Measures

Overview

Fishing Type
Commercial, Recreational
Action Status
Proposed Rule
Issued
05/14/2021
Point of Contact
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Management Division, 978-281-9260

Summary

NOAA Fisheries is exploring management options with a focus on: 

  • Refining the Individual Bluefin Quota Program. 
  • Reassessing share distribution and allocation of bluefin tuna quotas, including the potential elimination or phasing out of the Purse Seine category.
  • Other regulatory provisions regarding the directed and incidental bluefin fisheries.

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna: Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Proposed Rule for Draft Amendment 13 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic HMS FMP

NOAA Fisheries announces a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and proposed rule for Draft Amendment 13 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan. The DEIS is available now and the proposed rule will be published on May 21, and will be available on the NOAA Fisheries website. Also on May 21, the EPA will publish the Notice of Availability of the DEIS. The DEIS analyzes the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of the alternatives that are considered in Draft Amendment 13. A schedule of public hearings will be announced in a separate Federal Register notice.

Who is affected?

The proposed measures could affect any U.S. fisherman who targets or incidentally catches Atlantic bluefin tuna.

What will it do?

A full description of the proposed management measures can be found in the proposed rule, which will be published on May 21, 2021, and the full range of alternatives considered can be found in the DEIS, which is below. The proposed measures are summarized below. 

 

Proposed Measures

Longline category       

Individual Bluefin Quota (IBQ) Shares

  • Dynamic determination of IBQ shares based upon amount of designated species landings;
  • Modify regional Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic IBQ designations and cap bluefin catch from the Gulf of Mexico

IBQ Share Cap - Cap amount of IBQ shares owned per entity at 25%

Electronic Monitoring

  • Clarify and expand regulations for camera installation;
  • Specify additional fish handling protocols;
  • Reduce hard drive mailing frequency

Cost Recovery Program - Implement a cost recovery program via dealers

Dealer Reporting Requirements - Remove PIN and dead discard requirements for IBQ reports

Purse Seine category and quota reallocation

  • Modify codified quota allocation percentages to reflect the annual 68-mt allocation to the Longline category;
  • Discontinue Purse Seine category and reallocate quota when Amendment 13 is implemented;
  • Reallocate Purse Seine category quota proportionally to directed bluefin categories, including Reserve

Angling category

Modify Angling category trophy areas and allocations (percentages)

Harpoon category

Set a Harpoon category limit on the total number of bluefin at 10 fish (combined large medium and giant) and maintain current retention limit range on large medium bluefin

Permit category corrections

Allow vessels with an open access Atlantic tunas or HMS permit to change permit categories within a fishing year provided they have not landed a bluefin

 

Amendment 13 Webinar Presentation Video

 

Submit comments by September 20, 2021:

The end of the comment period for the Amendment 13 proposed rule is being extended until September 20, 2021. The original end of the comment period was July 20, 2021.

Written comments, identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2019-0042,” may be submitted electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov, or sent by mail to the contact information included below.  All comments received are a part of the public record and generally will be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change.  All Personal Identifying Information (name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible.  Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.  NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).  You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

For further information on this proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement, contact HMS staff at 978-281-9260.  Copies of the proposed rule, draft environmental impact statement, and other supporting documents are available upon request from the Highly Migratory Species Management Division (phone: 301-427-8503).

 

 

 

Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on 09/02/2021

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna