NOAA Fisheries has proposed limiting the days of the week that fishing can take place for Atlantic bluefin tuna.
The use of restricted fishing days would apply to 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 and some Atlantic bluefin tuna tournaments that are open to participation by Atlantic Tunas General category permit holders.
Under the proposal, fishing for bluefins would be banned every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from July 1 through November 30, 2023 and every Tuesday and Friday from December 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024 while the fishery is open.
Atlantic Tunas General category (commercial) permitted vessels may not fish for (including catch-and-release and tag-and-release), possess, retain, land, or sell a bluefin tuna of any size class on the restricted fishing days.
HMS Charter/Headboat permitted vessels may fish for, possess, retain, or land bluefin tuna recreationally under applicable HMS Angling category rules, but may not commercially fish for or land a bluefin tuna on a restricted day.
Throughout the season, NOAA Fisheries may waive certain restricted fishing days by increasing the bluefin tuna retention limit for those days; however, NOAA Fisheries would not modify restricted fishing days in other ways such as switching or adding days.
A webinar and conference call for this rulemaking will take place on March 23, 2023 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT. Information for registering and accessing the webinar can be found below.
Join Webex Webinar number: 2760 406 0619 Webinar password: p1mhnf3 (7164633 from phones) Join by phone: +1-415-527-5035 US Toll
Access code: 276 040 60619
NOAA Fisheries is also requesting further comment on the following:
- Whether July through November RFDs should be four days a week instead of three, and if so, what the fourth day should be.
- Whether July through November RFDs should be scheduled for three or four consecutive days and if that schedule would be less disruptive than the proposed schedule that allows for two-consecutive two-day periods each week (Sunday-Monday; Wednesday-Thursday).
- Whether the December through March RFD schedule of two days per week is appropriate, and if not, which days would be the most beneficial for these subquota periods.
Written comments, which are due by April 5, 2023, may be submitted to the Federal eRulemaking Portal. All comments received are a part of the public record and are posted without change. We accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous).
For further information contact Erianna Hammond, firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-427-8503.