The General category bluefin tuna fishery will close for the January subquota period effective 11:30 p.m. on February 24, 2020. Although it is called the January subquota, regulations allow the General category fishery to continue until this subquota is reached or through March 31, whichever comes first.
Why is the Fishery Closing?
We expect that the General category January adjusted subquota of 100 mt—the total following a recent transfer—will be reached. This assessment was made based on the best available landings information, as well as average catch rates and anticipated fishing conditions. The intent of this closure is to prevent overharvest of the available January subquota.
How Long Is the Closure in Effect?
The General category bluefin tuna fishery will reopen on June 1, 2020, with the default daily retention limit of one fish per vessel.
Who Is Affected?
This action applies to vessels with an Atlantic Tunas General category permit or an HMS Charter/Headboat permit with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for bluefin tuna. Persons aboard vessels with these permits may not retain, possess, or land large medium or giant Atlantic bluefin tuna after 11:30 p.m. February 24, 2020, and through May 31, 2020.
Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of 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, Atlantic Tunas General category and HMS Charter/Headboat 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: