NMFS issued 7 Exempted Fishing Permits (EFP) for vessels to fish for BAYS tunas (bigeye, yellowfin albacore, skipjack) and swordfish in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic East Coast. Six vessels are part of the Deepwater Horizon Pelagic Longline Bycatch Reduction Project; using funds from Gulf Restoration, oil spill settlement.
The 6 vessels fishing only in the Gulf are pelagic longline vessels that voluntarily do not fish for 6 months a year because they are paid from Restoration funds. Gear options include deep-set buoy gear or greenstick gear. The vessel that also fishes off Florida’s East Coast is a traditional surface buoy gear vessel. Juvenile swordfish caught will be released with a satellite tag attached to help gain insight into post-release mortality trends. Pelagic longline gear is not allowed in the Closed Zones waters during any of the research.