Pelagic Longline Bluefin Tuna Area-Based and Weak Hook Management Measures

Overview

Fishing Type
Commercial
Action Status
Proposed Rule
Published
07/12/2019
Point of Contact
Craig Cockrell, 301-427-8503, or Jennifer Cudney, 727-824-5399.

Summary

NOAA Fisheries is proposing to adjust regulatory measures put in place to manage bluefin tuna bycatch in the pelagic longline fishery for Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS), specifically addressing the Northeastern United States Closed Area, the Cape Hatteras Gear Restricted Area, and the Spring Gulf of Mexico Gear Restricted Area as well as the weak hook requirement in the Gulf of Mexico.

The proposed measures would affect the HMS pelagic longline fishery in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The preferred alternatives are summarized below. 

Preferred Alternatives Summary

Topic Preferred Alternative in FEIS
Northeastern United States Closed Area

Alternative A4
Undertake a review process to evaluate the continued need for the Northeastern United States Pelagic Longline Closure. Includes a provision to ensure that the threshold for closure of the area effectively remains the same (percentage-wise) in the event that the U.S. allocation of bluefin tuna is reduced at a future International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) meeting.

Cape Hatteras Gear Restricted Area Alternative B2
Elimination of the Cape Hatteras Gear Restricted Area.
Gulf of Mexico Gear Restricted Area Alternative C3
Undertake a review process to evaluate the continued need for the Spring Gulf of Mexico Gear Restricted Area. Includes a provision to ensure that the threshold for closure of the area effectively remains the same (percentage-wise) in the event that the U.S. allocation of bluefin tuna is reduced at a future ICCAT meeting.
Weak hooks Alternative D2
Seasonal requirement for weak hooks.

 

Changes Since Draft Environmental Impact Statement

NOAA Fisheries made clarifying additions to the preferred alternatives for the Northeastern United States Closed Area and Gulf of Mexico Gear Restricted Area. The FEIS includes a provision to ensure that the threshold for the closure of the area effectively remains the same (percentage-wise) in the event that the U.S. allocation of bluefin tuna is reduced at ICCAT.

Another minor change that has been made from the DEIS to this FEIS clarifies the timing of inseason closure notices that could occur in response to thresholds being met for the Northeastern United States Monitoring Area and the Spring Gulf of Mexico Monitoring Area.

 

Area Map

HMS gear restricted and closed areas.png

 

Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on 01/17/2020

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna