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Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Angling Category Fishery: Recreational Daily Retention Limit Adjustment


Action Status
Final Rule


NOAA Fisheries is adjusting Atlantic bluefin tuna daily retention limits for recreational
fishermen. The adjusted limits go into effect on May 2, 2021, and extend through
December 31, 2021, unless modified by later action.

What is changing?

The table below summarizes the changes to the bluefin tuna retention limits.

Vessel/Permit Type

Default Retention Limit per
Vessel per Day/Trip

Adjusted Retention Limit per
Vessel per Day/Trip

Private vessels with a Highly
Migratory Species (HMS)
Angling category permit
1 school, large school, or small
medium (27 to <73”)
  • 2 school bluefin tuna (27 to <47”)
  • 1 large school/small medium (47 to <73”)
Charter boats with an HMS
Charter/Headboat permit fishing
1 school, large school, or small
  • 3 school
  • 1 large school/small medium
Headboats with an HMS
Charter/Headboat permit fishing
1 school, large school, or small
  • 6 school
  • 2 large school/small medium


Who is affected?

The changes apply to HMS Angling category permitted vessels and HMS Charter/Headboat
permitted vessels when fishing recreationally. The daily retention limits are effective for all areas
except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NOAA Fisheries does not allow targeted fishing for bluefin
Anglers may still catch and release or tag and release bluefin tuna of all sizes, subject to the
requirements of HMS catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs. All released bluefin tuna
must be handled in a manner that will maximize survivability and without removing the fish
from the water.

Catch reporting

HMS Angling category and HMS Charter/Headboat permitted vessel owners are required to
report the catch of all bluefin retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of landing or the end of
each trip by:

  •  Accessing the HMS Permit Shop. 
  • Using the HMS Catch Reporting app.
  • Calling 888-872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.).

This notice is a courtesy to fishery participants to help keep you informed about the fishery.
Official notice of Federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the
Federal Register.

Federal Register

Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on 01/05/2022