Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Angling Category Closure

May 11, 2018

Gulf of Mexico Trophy Fishery closes May 13, 2018.

Bluefin Tuna Strike.jpg

An Atlantic bluefin tuna strikes. Credit:Gilbert Van Ryckevorsel/TAG A Giant

NOAA Fisheries closes the Atlantic bluefin tuna Angling category fishery for large, medium, and giant “trophy” bluefin tuna (measuring 73” or greater) in the Gulf of Mexico effective 11:30 p.m. local time, Sunday, May 13, 2018, through December 31, 2018. 

Based on reported landings of 1.55 metric tons from the NOAA Fisheries Automated Catch Reporting System as of May 10, 2018, we have determined that the codified Angling category Gulf of Mexico trophy bluefin tuna sub-quota has been reached and exceeded and that the trophy fishery should be closed in that area. Retaining, possessing, or landing large, medium, or giant bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico by persons aboard vessels permitted in the HMS Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally) must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time on May 13, 2018.  The intent of this closure is to prevent any further overharvest of the Angling category Gulf of Mexico trophy bluefin tuna sub-quota. 

The annual Angling category trophy limit of one large, medium, or giant bluefin tuna per vessel remains in effect for vessels fishing in the northern area. The Angling category fishery for bluefin tuna measuring 27" to less than 73” is open except in the Gulf of Mexico. Catch-and-release fishing is permissible as described below.

Who is affected?

This closure applies to vessels permitted in the HMS Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category fishing recreationally in the Gulf of Mexico. 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. NOAA Fisheries regulations require that all bluefin tuna that are released be handled in a manner that will maximize their survival, and without removing the fish from the water. For additional information on safe handling, see the Careful Catch and Release Brochure

HMS Charter/Headboat and Angling category vessel owners are 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, by accessing the HMS Permit Shop, using the HMS Catch Reporting App, or calling (888) 872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.).

This notice is a courtesy to bluefin tuna fishery permit holders to help keep you informed about the fishery. For more information on bluefin tuna fishing regulations, including recreational size and retention limits, please go to the HMS Permit Shop or call
(978) 281-9260. 

Official notice of Federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register.