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April 12, 2006

New Rule Relaxes on Schoolie Bluefin

NOAA has released a final rule on school-sized Atlantic bluefin recreational limits.

NOAA Fisheries announced its updated 2006 fishing-year specifications for bluefin tuna for the northern and southern regions. The published final rule alters a few of the regulations in the proposed rule and sets Atlantic bluefin tuna quotas and effort controls, based on new analyses of recreational harvest. The rule includes a 40.9 metric-ton increase in the Angling-category quota.

The final rule allows a minimal schoolie-bluefin season. Anglers in the southern region (roughly south of Great Egg Inlet, New Jersey) may retain one school-size bluefin (27 to 47 inches curved fork length) per day from July 1-21. Anglers north of that region may retain one schoolie per day from August 25 to September 14.

Anglers in both regions - in the HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat categories -- may retain two bluefin per day measuring 47 to 73 inches. Please review the final rule for more details about the regulations, and visit www.nmfspermits.com for the required tuna permit.