NOAA Fisheries is transferring 19.5 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin tuna quota from the 28.9-mt General category December 2019 subquota period to the January 2019 subquota period, resulting in a subquota of 49 mt for the January 2019 period and a subquota of 9.4 mt for the December 2019 period. Although it is called the “January” subquota, the regulations allow the General category fishery under this quota to continue until the subquota is reached or March 31, whichever comes first. NOAA Fisheries reminds General category participants that when the fishery reopens January 1, 2019, the daily retention limit will be one large medium or giant bluefin tuna (measuring 73” or greater) per vessel per day/trip. More information can be found in the Federal Register notice.
Who is affected?
This action applies to General category (commercial) permitted vessels and to HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for bluefin tuna.
Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving bluefin tuna. Late dealer reporting compromises NOAA Fisheries’ ability to implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustments or fishery closures and may result in enforcement actions.
General category and HMS Charter/ Headboat category vessel owners are also required to report the catch of all bluefin tuna retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip. This can by done by accessing the HMS Permit Shop, using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling (888) 872-8862 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).
All released bluefin tuna must be handled in a manner that will maximize survivability and without removing the fish from the water. Download the Careful Catch and Release brochure for more safe handling tips.
Why make the adjustment?
This adjustment is intended to:
- Provide a reasonable opportunity to harvest the U.S. bluefin tuna quota without exceeding it, while maintaining an equitable distribution of fishing opportunities.
- Help achieve optimum yield in the bluefin tuna fishery
- Collect a broad range of data for stock monitoring purposes.