The 2007 proposed fishing regulations for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna by NOAA –NMFS - Office of Sustainable Fisheries -Highly Migratory Species have been recently released and are open for a public comment period. See the information posted at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/newslist/2007/BFT%20Specs%20Email%20Notice%204-04-07.pdf.
If you wish to sign on for periodic emailed information from NOAA Atlantic - HMS click this link: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/newslist/
The criteria for these changes are complicated and all the info you need to see how and why this came to be is in the following “Draft Environmental Assessment and Regulatory Impact Review”. There are also lots of cool tables (pages 56 to 72) to see the trends in ABT harvest and allocations. http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/Tuna/2007/Draft%20BFT%20Specs%20EA.pdf
In summary, the proposed regulation changes will allow the taking of 3 bluefin tuna per vessel per day. One of them may be between 27” and 47”, the other 2 must be over 47”. My opinion is that it is too many, I would be happy with 2 BFT per boat per day. These fish last year were in the 40-44 inch range and this year they will be keepers, weighing around 55- 85 pounds. I would prefer instead, one per day over 47” and one under 47”. My own comment letter will reflect this. The only problem I see with these regulations is that in the US our quotas are steadily declining. See the tables in the above Environmental Review. With ICCAT rules allowing only limited unused quota rollovers, and much of our current quotas uncaught, I see only a continued decline in US landed quota. Perhaps this increased daily bag limit is to offset that trend ?
Your Public comment may be given at the following addresses: Email: 07BFTSPECS@noaa.gov - (insert “Comments on 2007 Atlantic BFT Specifications” in the subject line) Mail: Sarah McLaughlin – HMS Management Division Office of Sustainable Fisheries F/FS1 - NMFS One Blackburn Drive Gloucester, MA 01930 FAX: 978-281-9340 On a less official and hopeful note, I have recently met and spoken with the new representative for the Shimano fishing tackle company about “out of the box” ideas and methods for targeting our large school and medium sized tuna. My thinking is to provide a lighter tackle approach than the traditional trolling methods in use by many today. Much of the time, these fish seem to be down and not feeding on the surface. I am going to be doing more drifting with chum, chunking, and vertical jigging for tuna this year. Shimano http://fish.shimano.com/ has a whole line of new stuff for the tuna fisherman. These interesting and exciting new gear and methods I feel will revolutionize how we fish for this fantastic fighting speed demon of a fish. In a nutshell, it is smaller and lighter high tech rods and sturdy well machined reels capable of handling braided Spectra and Kevlar lines Much of the strain on the angler when using standard 50 lb class trolling gear, is generated by a fulcrum effect of the 6 foot rod on the fighting belt. Naturally, the shorter the rod, the less pressure on the angler. Now consider if a 6 foot fast action design standup rod was more of a slow action - bend through to the blank - type rod. That would reduce the 6’ distance from butt to tip to more like 3’ and therefore reduce the leverage and pressure applied to the fisherman.
Anyway, I am buying the theory and intend to invest heavily in some of these setups. My bottom line is to do “light tackle” fishing charters. Its what I started this business with and I intend to continue to provide you with a more fun and rewarding way to catch fish.
Good Fishing !
Bruce and “Marilyn S”