The Atlantic bluefin tuna General fishery will reopen December 1 for the first time since early October, thanks to a transfer of quota.
NOAA Fisheries is transferring 25.6 mt from the Harpoon category to the General category, part of which will fill in for overharvests made in the September, October, and November subquota. The unused portion, however, results in 12.7 mt for the General category’s December subquota period, thereby providing fishermen with a chance to participate in the December fishery and harvest the U.S.’s remaining quota.
The Harpoon category closed for the year as of November 15. The General category had previously been closed on September 17 – October 1, and then opened for four days before closing again from October 5 through the month of November because the allocated catch quota had been reached. If not for the transfer of Harpoon quota, the General category would remain closed for the rest of the year as there was no remaining quota.
NOAA Fisheries is reminding General category participants that when the Atlantic bluefin fishery does reopen December 1, 2017, a daily retention limit of one large-medium or giant fish is in place.
The General category applies to vessels permitted in the commercial Atlantic tunas General category, as well as those in the HMS Charter/Headboat category while fishing commercially. Dealers are required to submit landing reports to NMFS within 24 hours of receiving a bluefin tuna. Additionally, General category and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessels are required to report the catch of all bluefin retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of landing.