The Atlantic bluefin tuna General category fishery for large-medium and giant bluefin tuna (73 in. curved fork length or larger) closes September 17, 2017 for the remainder of the month.
The National Marine Fisheries Service instituted the closure, effective 11:30 p.m. local time Sunday night, until the reopening on October 1, 2017. It was determined that the subquota for September will have been reached by Sept. 17, and therefore the closure is warranted.
The closure, which affects vessels permitted in the commercial Atlantic tunas General category as well as the HMS Charter/Headboat category, is intended to prevent overharvest and thereby ensure fishing opportunities in the remaining subquota months.
Catch and release fishing is still permissible, as is tag and release, for all sizes of bluefin tuna assuming best handling practices are exhibited and the fish is left in the water. However, retaining, possessing, or landing large-medium or giant bluefin tuna by anyone aboard vessels permitted in the Atlantic tunas General and Highly Migratory Species Charter/Headboat categories must cease at 11:30 p.m. September 17, 2017 through September 30, 2017.