NMFS Reminds HMS Tournament Operators to Register Their Tournaments in 2010

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) reminds tournament operators to register their highly migratory species (HMS) tournaments for 2010. This includes tournaments occurring on the U.S. East Coast, in the Gulf of Mexico, and in the U.S. Caribbean.

HMS tournament registration facilitates the collection of important recreational catch and effort information which is used to analyze the impacts of potential fishery management actions, assess the status of Atlantic HMS, and to assist the United States in complying with international fishery management obligations. Federal regulations require that all tournaments awarding points or prizes for Atlantic HMS, including tunas, sharks, swordfish, and/or billfish, register with NMFS at least four weeks prior to the start of the fishing tournament.

Several tournaments have already registered for 2010. If you have not yet registered your 2010 HMS tournament(s) with NMFS’ HMS Management Division, please do so by following these instructions:

Complete the enclosed registration form. Additional forms may be obtained at either www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfalhms or www.hmspermits.gov or by calling the HMS Management Division’s St. Petersburg office at (727) 824-5399.

Fax or mail the completed form to the HMS Management Division in St. Petersburg,FL, at the contact information below. When completing the registration form, please write legibly and specify the name of the tournament operator.
Fax: 727-824-5398
Mail: NMFS – HMS Management Division
263 13th Avenue South
Saint Petersburg, FL 33701

Upon receipt of a completed registration form, the HMS Management Division will provide the operator with a tournament registration number, which should be retained for the remainder of the fishing year. If selected for reporting tournament results, operators will be contacted by NMFS’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center. HMS fisheries educational materials, including instructional DVDs for rigging natural baits with circle hooks, may be requested by calling the phone number below.

Finally, NMFS urges operators to remind tournament participants of HMS permit requirements. For more information about HMS permits, please log on to www.hmspermits.gov or call the HMS Management Division’s St. Petersburg office at (727) 824-5399. Thank you, in advance, for registering your 2010 HMS tournament(s).