What will it do?
Under the proposed rule, NOAA Fisheries would establish a specific RFD schedule of every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from July through November for the 2021 fishing year. Daily commercial bluefin tuna retention limits would be set to zero on those days.
This would mean that Atlantic Tunas General category permitted vessels could not fish (including catch-and-release and tag-and-release), possess, retain, land, or sell a bluefin tuna of any size class on an RFD.
HMS Charter/Headboat permitted vessels could fish for, possess, retain, or land bluefin tuna recreationally under applicable HMS Angling category rules, but could not commercially fish for or land a bluefin tuna on an RFD.
Throughout the season, NOAA Fisheries may waive certain RFDs by increasing the bluefin tuna retention limit for those days; however, NOAA Fisheries would not modify RFDs in other ways (e.g., switching days, adding RFDs).
Who is affected?
This action could affect:
- Any Atlantic Tunas General category or HMS Charter/Headboat permit holder fishing commercially for bluefin tuna.
- Any dealers who buy or sell Atlantic bluefin tuna.
- Some Atlantic bluefin tuna tournaments that are open to participation by Atlantic Tunas General category permit holders.
A webinar and conference call for this rulemaking will take place on May 19, 2021. Information for registering and accessing the webinar can be found at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/proposed-rule-implement-general-category-restricted-fishing-days-2021-atlantic-bluefin-tuna.
Request for Comments
NOAA Fisheries is requesting comments specifically on the need for RFDs in the 2021 fishing year and on the proposed RFD schedule for the 2021 fishing year.
Submit Comments by June 11, 2021:
Written comments, identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2021-0040”, may be submitted electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. We will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
For further information call 301-427-8503 or 978-281-9260.
More information can be found in the Federal Register notice.