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NOAA closed Northern Area for Trophy Bluefins
Thursday, July 26, 2018

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Angling Category Fishery: Northern Area Trophy Fishery Closing July 26, 2018

NOAA Fisheries closes the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) Angling category fishery for large medium and giant “trophy” BFT (measuring 73” or greater) in the northern area effective 11:30 p.m. local time, Thursday, July 26, 2018, through December 31, 2018. The northern area is the area north of 39°18’N (off Great Egg Inlet, NJ). Note that the Angling category fishery for school, large school, or small medium bluefin tuna (27 to <73”) remains open in all areas except for the Gulf of Mexico, which is designated as bluefin tuna spawning grounds and where NOAA Fisheries does not allow targeted fishing for bluefin tuna.

Based on reported landings of 1.8 mt from the NOAA Fisheries Automated Catch Reporting System as of July 23, 2018, NOAA Fisheries has determined that the codified Angling category northern area trophy bluefin tuna subquota has been reached and exceeded and that the trophy fishery should be closed in that area. Retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or giant bluefin tuna north of 39°18’ N. lat. by persons aboard vessels permitted in the HMS Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally) must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time on July 26, 2018. The intent of this closure is to prevent further overharvest of the Angling category northern area trophy bluefin tuna subquota. NOAA Fisheries closed the 2018 Angling category trophy fishery for the southern area and Gulf of Mexico effective March 17 and May 13, respectively. Therefore, as of July 26, 2018, the Angling category trophy bluefin tuna fishery will be closed in all areas for 2018. Catch-and-release fishing is permissible as described below.

Who is Affected?

This closure applies to vessels permitted in the HMS Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category fishing in the northern area (defined in bold above). Fishermen may catch and release or tag and release bluefin tuna of all sizes, subject to the requirements of HMS catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs. NOAA Fisheries regulations require that all bluefin tuna that are released be handled in a manner that will maximize their survival, and without removing the fish from the water. For additional information on safe handling, see the Careful Catch and Release brochure. HMS Charter/Headboat and Angling category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead, within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing the HMS Permit Shop, using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling (888) 872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.).

This notice is a courtesy to BFT fishery permit holders to help keep you informed about the fishery. For more information on BFT fishing regulations, including recreational size and retention limits, please go to the HMS Permit Shop or call (978) 281-9260. Official notice of Federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register.


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