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NOAA Fisheries Announces Bluefish Rebuilding Plan

NOAA Fisheries proposes measures for Amendment 7 to the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), as adopted by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. The purpose of this comprehensive amendment is to update the FMP with the best scientific information available and to respond to changes in the fishery over time. Specifically, this action proposes to:

  • Update the Bluefish FMP goals and objectives from those that were initially established in 1991, to better reflect the current fishery.
  • Re-allocate bluefish quota between fishery sectors; allocating 14 percent to the commercial fishery and 86 percent to the recreational fishery.
  • Re-allocate bluefish commercial quota to the states from Maine to Florida based on recent 10 years of landings data including a 0.1-percent minimum default allocation. This change in commercial allocation to the states would be phased in equally over a period of seven years, so each state would only experience 1/7th percent of the change in allocation until 2028.
  • Implement a 7-year rebuilding plan.
  • Revise the sector quota transfer measures to allow quota to be transferred in either direction (from commercial to recreational sector or vice versa), with a revised maximum transfer cap of 10-percent of the acceptable biological catch.
  • Revise how management uncertainty is accounted for in the specifications process. Currently, the fishery-level annual catch limit may be reduced by a buffer to account for sources of management uncertainty before quota is allocated to the fishery sectors. This amendment proposes that management uncertainty to be applied separately within each sector, after the sector split.

For more information, read the proposed rule as published in the Federal Register, and submit your comments through the online portal

The comment period is open through October 13, 2021.

Questions?

Fishermen: Contact Cynthia Ferrio, Sustainable Fisheries Division, 978-281-9180

Media: Contact Allison Ferreira, Regional Office, 978-281-9103

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