NOAA Fisheries Closes the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Angling Category Southern Area Trophy Fishery
Fishermen aboard vessels with an Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling category or Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat permit (while fishing recreationally) may not retain, possess, or land large medium or giant Atlantic bluefin tuna (i.e., measuring 73 inches curved fork length or greater) in the southern area after 11:30 p.m., March 1, 2021. The southern area is the area south of 39°18’N lat. (off Great Egg Inlet, NJ), outside the Gulf of Mexico.
How long is the closure in effect?
The Angling category fishery for trophy bluefin tuna will close effective 11:30 p.m., March 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021.
Why is the fishery closing?
Based on the best available landings information, the 1.8-mt Angling category southern area “trophy” bluefin tuna (measuring 73 inches or greater) subquota has been reached and exceeded.
Who is affected?
This action applies to all vessels permitted in the HMS Angling category and Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat category fishing recreationally in the southern area (defined above).
Note that the Angling category fishery for school, large school, or small medium bluefin tuna (27 to <73”) remains open in all areas except for the Gulf of Mexico, which is designated as bluefin tuna spawning grounds and where NOAA Fisheries does not allow targeted fishing for bluefin tuna.
HMS Angling category and HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessel owners are required to report the catch of all bluefin retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of the landing(s) or 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 permit holders 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.