The bluefin tuna regulations just issued by NOAA provide some hope for anglers who spend a small fortune to run offshore for them. The NOAA release follows (scroll down):

Atlantic HMS

April 23, 2018

bluefin tuna

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Angling Category Fishery: Recreational Daily Retention Limit Adjustment

NOAA Fisheries is adjusting the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) daily retention limits that apply to vessels permitted in the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally for BFT) effective April 26, 2018, through December 31, 2018, as follows:


In deciding these retention limits, NOAA Fisheries considered the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments, which include available quota, fishery performance in recent years, availability of BFT on the fishing grounds, and the effects of the adjustment on the stock and on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and amendments.  NOAA Fisheries also considered input from the HMS Advisory Panel.  These limits should provide opportunities to harvest the available U.S. BFT quota without exceeding it; prevent overharvest of the 2018 quotas; and collect a broad range of data for stock monitoring purposes.

Who is Affected?

These daily retention limits apply to vessels permitted in the recreational HMS Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category while fishing recreationally.  The daily retention limits are effective for all areas except for the Gulf of Mexico, which is designated as BFT spawning grounds and where NOAA Fisheries does not allow targeted fishing for BFT.  Regardless of the duration of a fishing trip (e.g., whether a vessel takes a two-day trip or makes two trips in one day), no more than a single day’s retention limit may be possessed, retained, or landed.

NOAA Fisheries will continue to monitor the BFT fisheries closely.  HMS Charter/Headboat and Angling category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead, within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing the HMS Permit Shop,using the HMS Catch Reporting App, or calling (888) 872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.).  Depending on fishing effort and catch rates, additional retention limit adjustments or fishery closures may be necessary to ensure available quota is not exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas.

NOAA Fisheries regulations require that all BFT that are released be handled in a manner that will maximize their survival, and without removing the fish from the water.  For additional information on safe handling, see theCareful Catch and Release brochure.

This notice is a courtesy to BFT fishery permit holders to help keep you informed about the fishery.  For additional information, please go to the HMS Permit Shop or call (978) 281-9260.  Official notice of Federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register.

The weather was good today, but Raritan Bay striped bass fishing was tougher for the Atlantic Highlands party boat fleet. The Fishermen reported all of their keepers were caught during the first hour before the bite dropped off to just a few shorts. The Sea Hunter had a similar report, but the largest bass of their season was boated by Dave Koczka with a 34-pounder.

At Belmar, the Big Mohawk had the nicest day of the season even though blackfishing was sluggish. Yet, there were a few limits and others with two to three keeper tog among the shorts. Blackfish jigs were most effective. Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den, said blackfish are also being caught in Shark River Inlet. He weighed in a 14 1/2-pound tog that was caught by Ben Rich of Titusville, N.J. off Barnegat — and entered in The Fisherman Dream Boat Contest.

The rumor of weakfish in Barnegat Bay was confirmed in a Facebook posting by Frank Ruczynski. who once again caught the first one  April 19 on a Zoom jig.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield and Duke Matero from Piscataway tried the Sandy Hook surf early this morning with clams and fresh bunker, but caught only skates and the first sea robin reported from a flat surf.


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