Final Rule: Restricted-Fishing Days in the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fishery
NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule regarding the use of restricted-fishing days (RFDs) in the Atlantic Tunas General category and HMS Charter/Headboat fisheries. The first RFD will be on September 3, 2021; RFDs will continue through November 30, 2021.
What will it do?
NOAA Fisheries establishes an RFD schedule of every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from September through November for the 2021 fishing year. Daily commercial bluefin tuna retention limits will be set to zero on those days.
This means that Atlantic Tunas General category permitted vessels cannot fish (including catch-and-release and tag-and-release), possess, retain, land, or sell a bluefin tuna of any size class on an RFD.
HMS Charter/Headboat permitted vessels can fish for, possess, retain, or land bluefin tuna recreationally under applicable HMS Angling category rules, but cannot commercially fish for or land a bluefin tuna on an RFD.
Throughout the season, NOAA Fisheries may waive certain RFDs by increasing the bluefin tuna retention limit for those days; however, NOAA Fisheries will not modify RFDs in other ways (e.g., switching days, adding RFDs).
Who is affected?
This action could affect:
- Any Atlantic Tunas General category or HMS Charter/Headboat permit holder fishing commercially for bluefin tuna.
- Any dealers who buy or sell Atlantic bluefin tuna.
- Some Atlantic bluefin tuna tournaments that are open to participation by Atlantic Tunas General category permit holders.