NOAA Fisheries has adjusted the Harpoon category Atlantic bluefin tuna quota by transferring 30 metric tons (mt) from the Reserve category. With this transfer, the adjusted Harpoon category quota is 68.6 mt for the 2018 fishing season (i.e., through November 15, 2018, or until the Harpoon category quota is reached, whichever comes first) and the adjusted Reserve category quota is 78.5 mt.
NOAA Fisheries takes this action after considering the regulatory determination criteria regarding in-season adjustments, which involve considerations about, among other things, available quota, fishery performance in recent years, the anticipated availability of bluefin tuna on the fishing grounds, the effects of the adjustment on the bluefin tuna stock and on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan and amendments. 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, and collect a broad range of data for stock monitoring purposes.
As of August 1, 2018, the Harpoon category has landed 26.2 mt. Without a quota transfer at this time, Harpoon category participants would have to stop bluefin tuna fishing activities with very short notice, while commercial-sized bluefin tuna remain available in the areas Harpoon category-permitted vessels operate. We anticipate that the Harpoon category could harvest the transferred 30 mt prior to the end of the Harpoon category season, subject to weather conditions and bluefin tuna availability.
Who is affected?
This action applies only to Atlantic tunas Harpoon category (commercial) permitted vessels. NOAA Fisheries will continue to monitor the bluefin tuna fisheries closely. Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving bluefin tuna.
Harpoon category vessel owners are required to report their own 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.).
Depending on fishing effort and catch rates, NOAA Fisheries may determine that additional adjustment or closure is necessary to ensure available quota is not exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas.
Official notice of federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register.
For additional information, call (978) 281-9260, or go to the HMS Permit Shop.