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NMFS Proposes Initial Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Quotas
Friday, May 25, 2007 @ 09:06:03 EDT

NMFS Proposes Initial Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Quotas

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a proposed rule to set initial 2007 fishing year quotas for the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) fishery and effort controls. Based on the 2006 quota recommended for the United States by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic tunas (ICCAT), 2006 fishing year underharvests, and other considerations (including accounting for dead discards and a new ICCAT cap on carryover of underharvest), NMFS proposes for the 2007 fishing year (June 1 through December 31, 2007) the quotas shown in the document posed in the LIBRARY, which also shows the proposed time-period subquotas for the General category. This compressed timeframe is due to the shift from a fishing year of June through May to a calendar year as required by the final rule implementing the Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan. NMFS proposes to provide permit holders an extended window of opportunity to change their permit category for the 2008 fishing year, i.e., once during the period of January 1, 2008, through May 31, 2008. NMFS proposes restricted fishing days for: all Saturdays and Sundays from November 17, 2007 through December 31, 2007, plus November 22, 2007, and December 25, 2007. These days are intended to extend the General category BFT fishery into the late season for the southern Atlantic region. NMFS also proposes initial General category retention limits and a schedule of Angling category retention limits for the 2007 fishing year, again posed in the LIBRARY Comments on the proposed action should be sent to: E-mail: 07BFTSPECS@noaa.gov; Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http:www.regulations.gov; Mail: Sarah McLaughlin, HMS Management Division, Office of Sustainable Fisheries (F/SF1), NMFS, One Blackburn Dr., Gloucester, MA 01930; Fax: 978-281-9340. Comments must be received on or before May 4, 2007. NMFS will hold three public hearings to receive comments from fishery participants and other members of the public regarding these proposed initial quota specifications and effort controls, as follows: 1. April 24, 2007, 7-9 p.m., Carteret Community College, Joselyn Hall, H.J. McGee, Jr. Building, 3505 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC 28557; 2. April 26, 2007, 6:30-8:30 p.m., West Islip Public Library, 3 Higbie Lane, West Islip, NY, 11795; and 3. April 27, 2007, 3:30-5:30 p.m., NMFS, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. This notice is a courtesy to BFT fishery participants 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 the HMS Management Division at (978) 281-9260.

NMFS Adjusts Recreational BFT Bag Limit in NC

During the effective dates of March 24, 2007, through April 15, 2007, HMS Angling category and HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders (when fishing recreationally) may retain one school bluefin tuna (measuring 27 inches to less than 47 inches) while fishing in the EEZ off North Carolina or the North Carolina territorial sea. School bluefin tuna must be landed (i.e., brought to the dock) in the state of North Carolina and reported and tagged at a state reporting station. Please call 1-800-228-7804 to locate the nearest state reporting station. The retention limits described above are in addition to one trophy BFT (73 inches or greater) per year which may be landed (brought to the dock) by HMS Angling category or HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders (when fishing recreationally) 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 the following 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.

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