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.