Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Season and Retention Limit Adjustments
On November 4, 2009, NMFS published a proposed rule to increase the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) General category maximum daily retention limit; allow the General category season to remain open until the January subquota is reached; and increase the Harpoon category daily incidental retention limit. The proposed rule is intended to more thoroughly utilize available U.S. BFT quota, particularly for the General and Harpoon (commercial handgear) categories. In the proposed rule, NMFS announced the end of the comment period as December 21, 2009, which would allow an approximately 45-day comment period. In order to provide additional opportunities for the public and other interested parties to comment on the proposed rule, NMFS is extending the comment period for this action until March 31, 2010. Comments received by NMFS on the proposed rule will help NMFS determine whether and how to implement final management measures for the BFT General and Harpoon categories as described in the proposed action.