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Daily Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (BFT) Retention Limit
Saturday, November 25, 2006 @ 06:09:29 EST

Daily Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (BFT) Retention Limit

1. NMFS Extends Three-Fish General Category Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Daily Retention Limit Through December and Waives December Restricted Fishing Days

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) adjusts the daily Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) retention limit for vessels fishing under the General category quota for the 2006 fishing year as described below. All retention limits are per vessel per day/trip. This action is being taken to enhance commercial General category BFT fishing opportunities for all geographic areas.

Quota Category

Effective Dates

Areas

BFT Size Class Limit

GENERAL

November 1, 2006, through November 30, 2006, inclusive

All

Three BFT per vessel per day/trip, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) curved fork length (CFL) or larger

December 1, 2006, through December 31, 2006, inclusive

All

Three BFT per vessel per day/trip, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) CFL or larger

January 1, 2007, through January 31, 2007, inclusive

All

One BFT per vessel per day/trip, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) CFL or larger

Note: All previously scheduled Restricted Fishing Days (RFDs) scheduled for the month of December have been waived. On January 1, 2007, the retention limit will be one BFT per vessel. Scheduled RFDs for the month of January remain as published in the final initial 2006 BFT quota specifications. However, NMFS may determine that additional actions are necessary to ensure available quota is not exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. Subsequent adjustments to the daily retention limits, if any, will be announced through publication in the Federal Register . In addition, permit holders may visit our website, www.hmspermits.gov or call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (888) 872-8862 or (978) 281-9260 for updates on quota monitoring and retention limit adjustments.

This notice is a courtesy to BFT fishery permit holders to help keep you informed about your fishery. Official notice of Federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register. For further information, contact Brad McHale, 978-281-9260.

2. NMFS Announces a Proposed Rule to Improve the Ability of U.S. Vessels to Fully Harvest the North Atlantic Swordfish Quota

The Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Management Division proposes to modify current regulations affecting the U.S. swordfish fishery. These measures are intended to provide opportunities for U.S. vessels to fully harvest the domestic swordfish quota, in recognition of the improved stock status of North Atlantic swordfish, while ensuring that bycatch of non-target and protected species remain within acceptable levels.

The proposed alternatives would increase retention limits for Incidental swordfish permit holders to 30 fish, except that vessels that participate in the squid trawl fishery would be limited to 15 swordfish. For HMS Angling category permit holders, the swordfish retention limit would remain at one per person, but the vessel limit would be increased to four fish. Finally, for HMS Charter/headboat permit holders, the swordfish retention limit would change to one per paying passenger, up to maximum of six per charter vessel, and 15 per headboat vessel. NMFS is also proposing to modify vessel upgrading restrictions for vessels that are authorized to fish for swordfish and tunas with pelagic longline gear (i.e., vessels that possess limited access swordfish and shark permits, as well as an Atlantic tunas longline category permit). The proposed alternative would specify that these vessels may be upgraded, or permits transferred, so long as the upgrade or permit transfer does not result in an increase in vessel size (LOA, GRT, and NT) of more than 35 percent, relative to the vessel first issued the HMS limited access permit.

The comment period for this proposed rule is open until January 31, 2007. Written comments may be submitted to the address below or emailed to: SF1.110206A@noaa.gov. NMFS will announce the times and locations of public hearings in a future Federal Register notice.

This notice is a courtesy to the HMS fishery participants to help keep you informed about your fishery. Official notice of Federal fishing actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of Federal Register. For further information on this proposed rule and its requirements, contact Sari Kiraly at (301) 713-2347 or Rick Pearson at (727) 824-5399. Copies of the proposed rule and draft Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis are available upon request from the Highly Migratory Species Management Division, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (phone: 301-713-2347, fax: 301-713-1917). The information will also be posted on the HMS website at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/.

The signed notices are attached below.

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NMFS ADJUSTS GENERAL CATEGORY ATLANTIC BLUEFIN TUNA DAILY RETENTION LIMITS

NMFS ADJUSTS GENERAL CATEGORY ATLANTIC BLUEFIN TUNA DAILY RETENTION LIMITS

NMFS ADJUSTS GENERAL CATEGORY ATLANTIC BLUEFIN TUNA DAILY RETENTION LIMITS