NOAA Fisheries is reopening the General category Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery for two days following a transfer to the General category from the Reserve category that results in 39.2 mt available for additional fishing opportunities during the October through November time period. As noted below, most of the transfer accounts for accrued overharvest from the prior General category time periods (i.e., through September 2020).
How long is the reopening in effect?
The General category bluefin tuna fishery will reopen effective 12:30 a.m., local time, October 28, 2020, through 11:30 p.m., local time, October 29, 2020. The daily retention limit during this reopening is one large medium or giant bluefin tuna per vessel per day/trip.
Why is this change being made?
Preliminary landings data as of October 26, 2020, indicate that the General category landed 88.5 mt of the 112.2 mt available for the October through November period. Transferring 68.7 mt of quota from the Reserve category would account for 53.2 mt of accrued overharvest from the prior time periods (through September 2020) and result in an additional 15.5 mt being available for the October through November 2020 subquota period. Based on early October landings rates, NOAA Fisheries has determined that reopening the General category fishery for two days is appropriate given the amount of quota (39.2 mt) that remains available for October through November, following this action (i.e., 23.7 mt remaining from a previous quota transfer for the time period + 15.5 mt = 39.2 mt).
NOAA Fisheries anticipates that General category participants in all areas and time periods will have opportunities to harvest the General category quota in 2020, including the December time period. The General category will reopen automatically on December 1, 2020, at the default one-fish level. Based on quota availability in the Reserve, NOAA Fisheries may consider transferring additional quota to the December subquota period.
Who is affected?
This action applies to all vessels permitted in the Atlantic Tunas General category and Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat category (with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for bluefin tuna).
Atlantic tunas General, Harpoon, and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel owners are required to report 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.
- Calling 888-872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.)