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Bluefin Tuna Purse Seine Reallocation and Quota Transfer

February 25, 2019

NOAA Fisheries makes annual adjustment of the Atlantic bluefin tuna Purse Seine and Reserve Category quotas and adjusts the General category January 2019 quota to 100 mt.

Sarah McLaughlin
Fishery Management Specialist
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Annual Adjustment of the Bluefin Tuna Purse Seine and Reserve Category Quotas

In accordance with the Atlantic bluefin tuna quota regulations, NOAA Fisheries has determined the 2019 Purse Seine category quota available to Purse Seine category participants is 55 mt. The amount of Purse Seine category quota reallocated to the Reserve category is 164.5 mt. This reallocation would result in an adjusted 2019 Reserve category quota of 168 mt (3.5 mt + 164.5 mt) before any further transfers to other categories (see below).   

Quota Transfer from the Reserve Category to the General Category

NOAA Fisheries also transfers 25 mt of bluefin tuna quota from the 2019 Reserve category to the 2019 General category, resulting in an adjusted 2019 General category January subquota of 100 mt. 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. This adjustment is intended to provide a reasonable opportunity to harvest the U.S. bluefin tuna quota without exceeding it, help achieve optimum yield in the bluefin tuna fishery, and collect a broad range of data for stock monitoring purposes. As a result of this quota transfer, the adjusted 2019 Reserve category quota is 143 mt. 

More information can be found in the Federal Register notice—see the Atlantic HMS Management Division’s website.

Who is Affected?

The quota transfer 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.

Additionally, and separate from the dealer reporting requirement, General category and HMS Charter/Headboat 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.).

All bluefin tuna that are released 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.

This notice is a courtesy to bluefin tuna fishery permit holders to help keep you informed about the fishery. For additional information, call (978) 281-9260, or go to the HMS Permit Shop. Official notice of federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register.

Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on February 25, 2019