Restricted Fishing Days for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Restricted Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fishing Days

The National Marine Fisheries Service just announced a proposed rule that would establish a specific Restricted Fishing Day (RFD) schedule. Daily commercial bluefin tuna retention limits would be set to zero every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from July through November for the 2022 fishing year. Atlantic Tunas General category 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 an RFD.

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 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?

  • 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.

There will be a webinar and conference call for this rulemaking will take place on March 24, 2022, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EDT.

Join WebEx

Meeting number: 2762 913 4166
Password: g4tGXmttg (44849688 from phones)

Join by phone:
+1-415-527-5035 US Toll
Access code: 276 291 34166

NMFS is also looking for comments on the RFD proposed rule:

  1. Whether the RFD schedule should be three days in a row per week.
  2. Whether RFDs should also be considered for the General category December subquota period.
  3. Whether RFDs should be considered for the January through March subquota period for future rulemakings since this subquota period is currently closed.

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