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Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Angling Category Fishery: Southern Area Trophy Fishery Closing April 11, 2014
Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) closes the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) Angling category fishery for large medium and giant "trophy" BFT (measuring 73" or greater) in the southern area effective 11:30 p.m. local time, Friday, April 11, 2014, through December 31, 2014. The southern area is the area south of 39°18'N (off Great Egg Inlet, NJ) and includes the Gulf of Mexico.

Information from the NMFS Automated Landings Reporting System and the North Carolina Tagging Program indicate that the codified southern trophy BFT quota (2.8 mt) has been taken. Retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or giant BFT south 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 April 11, 2014. The intent of this closure is to prevent any further overharvest of the Angling category southern area trophy BFT subquota. Catch-and-release fishing is permissible as described below. The annual Angling category trophy limit of one large medium or giant BFT per vessel remains in effect for vessels fishing in the northern area.

This closure applies to vessels permitted in the HMS Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category fishing in the southern area, which includes the Gulf of Mexico. Please note, while this inseason action prohibits retention of large medium and giant BFT by persons aboard HMS Charter/Headboat category vessels while fishing recreationally, commercial retention of large medium and giant BFT on HMS Charter/Headboat category vessels is currently prohibited because the General category is closed until June 1, 2014. For more information on BFT fishing regulations, including recreational size and retention limits, please go to hmspermits.noaa.gov.

Fishermen may catch and release or tag and release BFT of all sizes, subject to the requirements of HMS catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs. NMFS regulations require that all BFT 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 available at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/. This notice is a courtesy to BFT fishery permit holders to help keep you informed about the fishery. For additional information, call (888) 872-8862 or (978) 281-9260, or go to hmspermits.noaa.gov. Official notice of Federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register.


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