The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently closed the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) Angling category fishery for large medium and giant “trophy” BFT (measuring 73″ or greater) in the southern area. The closure became effective 11:30 p.m. local time, Friday, April 11, 2014, and will remain in effect 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.
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.
According to NMFS, The 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.
Commercial harvesting of large medium and giant BFT by HMS Charter/Headboat category vessels fishing in the General category is set to begin June 1, 2014.
Despite the closures, 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 more information on BFT fishing regulations, including recreational size and retention limits, please go to hmspermits.noaa.gov.
source: National Marine Fisheries Service