Proposed Rule to Set General Category Effort Controls and Clarify Related Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Regulations

NOAA Fisheries announces a proposed rule that considers changes to restricted-fishing days and the default daily retention limit. The proposed rule also would clarify the applicable regulations for General category and Highly Migratory Species Charter/Headboat permit holders as well as permitted dealers and dealer’s agents.

What will it do?

Under the proposed rule, NOAA Fisheries considers a range of alternatives and specifically proposes to:

  • Discontinue annual rulemakings to set the restricted-fishing days schedule.
  • Codify a restricted-fishing days schedule for every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from July 1 through November 30.
  • Establish two General category default daily retention limits:
    • 3 Large medium or giant bluefin tuna in June.
    • 1 Large medium or giant bluefin tuna for all other months in time periods when the fishery is open (January through March and July through December).
  • Clarify the applicable dealer and General category participant regulations regarding dealer tags and possession and sale of bluefin tuna on a restricted-fishing days.

Who is affected?

This action could affect:

  • Any Atlantic Tunas General category permit holder or Highly Migratory Species
    Charter/Headboat permit holder fishing commercially for bluefin tuna.
  • Any dealer who buys or sells Atlantic bluefin tuna.
  • Operators of, and participants in, Atlantic bluefin tuna tournaments that are open to participation by Atlantic Tunas General category permit holders and Highly Migratory Species Charter/Headboat permit holders with a commercial sale endorsement.

Public Hearing

A webinar for this rulemaking will take place on March 19, 2024 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. Information for registering and accessing the webinar can be found on the NOAA Fisheries website.

Request for Comments

NOAA Fisheries is requesting comments on setting General category effort controls (i.e., restricted-fishing days and retention limits) and the clarification of related Atlantic bluefin tuna regulations.

Submit Comments by March 25, 2024:

Written comments may be submitted to the Federal eRulemaking Portal. All comments received are a part of the public record and are posted without change. We accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous).

For further information, contact Larry Redd, (301) 427-8503.