Closure of Bluefin Tuna Angling Category Southern Area Trophy Fishery
The bluefin tuna angling category Southern Area trophy fishery is closed effective 11:30 p.m., March 14, 2019, through December 31, 2019.
Based on the best available landings information, NOAA Fisheries has determined that the Angling category southern area “trophy” bluefin tuna (measuring 73 inches or greater) subquota of 1.8 mt has been reached and exceeded and therefore closure of the southern area trophy bluefin tuna is warranted. The southern area is the area south of 39°18’N lat. (off Great Egg Inlet, NJ), outside the Gulf of Mexico.
Persons aboard vessels permitted in the Atlantic HMS Angling and Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat categories fishing recreationally in the southern area (defined above) may not retain, possess, or land large medium or giant Atlantic bluefin tuna after 11:30 p.m. on March 14, 2019 and through December 31, 2019.
Fishermen may 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 bluefin tuna that are released must be handled in a manner that will maximize survivability and without removing the fish from the water.