The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has closed the Bluefin Tuna (BFT) angling category fishery for incidental take of large, medium, and giant “trophy” BFT (measuring 73″ or greater) in the Gulf of Mexico on May 4, 2021. The fishery will remain closed through December 31, 2021. The intent of this closure is to prevent further overharvest of the angling category Gulf of Mexico BFT sub-quota. Fishermen may catch and release, or tag and release, BFT of all sizes subject to the requirements of the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs.
While there is no targeted fishing allowed for BFT in the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA Fisheries established an annual 1.8 metric ton (3,968 lbs) incidental take trophy quota to allow for some harvest of trophy fish that are landed incidentally.
Please remember that anglers are required to report all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of landing or at the end of each trip by accessing the HMS Permit Shop, using the HMS Catch Reporting App, or calling 1-888-872-8862.
Other HMS species, such as swordfish, also have mandatory reporting requirements; please see the HMS Permits website (https://hmspermits.noaa.gov) for more information.
More information about this closure can be found at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/noaa-fisheries-closes-atlantic-bluefin-tuna-angling-category-gulf-mexico-incidental-trophy
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