Highly Migratory Species Report
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association June 2012 Newsletter)
NMFS - New HMS Bluefin Tuna Scooping Document!
NMFS Highly Migratory Species division has proposed to review most everything in the current 1995 Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management plan. Their new proposed Amendment #7 plan is labeled: “Issues and Possible Alternatives for the Future Management of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna.”
These NMFS proposed changes include deducting from future US quotas all estimated bluefin dead discards from each category’s quota before their quotas are determined. It includes changing all present US quota percentage allocations between categories.
US scientists had assumed that the mid-Atlantic ocean was a food desert, there was not enough food for bluefin tuna to cross the Atlantic. Recovered internally inplanted data recorders reported bluefin feed deep while crossing the Atlantic. These recorders found that BFT went as deep as 4,000 ft. to find food
US published science studies using satellite pop-off tags prove that many US conserved bluefin cross the Atlantic yearly and spawn in European waters. These data tags prove bluefin tuna are super tough. These BFT after being caught by hook and line tackle found there was only a single bluefin whose tag did not pop off and report about the bluefin’s travel history. This is an astronomical low BFT mortality number using hook and line. Ignoring their own data NMFS proposes to impose a 10% dead discard mortality deduction on all BFT category allocations. A 20% mortality reserve had been imposed on recreational school tuna landings for many years.
NMFS also plans to create a new quota limit for US longfin tuna landings. NFMS latest estimate of angler longfin tuna landings are so low they are absurd. Based on estimates using canyon landing data and newspaper reports is that NJ anglers longfin landings would exceed NMFS proposed entire quota for the US and GOM in a single season.
NMFS used a similar approach in their original yellowfin tuna quota proposal. NMFS originally proposed a US angler quota of 400 MT. At their NJ meeting NMFS offered their yellowfin tuna plan. Public comments from Manasquan Inlet fishermen explained that their single NJ inlet landed more than NMFS proposed 400 MT. US national quota. Other NJ anglers reported how high their yellowfin landings were from their NJ inlet, clearly documenting that NMFS proposal was very low and very wrong.
NMFS later found North Carolina HMS state document reported angler landings exceeding 1,000 MT in most years! They also found high yellowfin tuna landings in all Maryland State reports. NMFS still imposed an angler limit of 3 yellowfin tuna per angler per trip. They failed to impose any quota limit on US commercial fishermen. Under the Magnuson Fishery Management Act such unilateral HMS action are supposed to be 100% illegal.
NMFS new Amendment #7 scoping document is available from their HMS internet site and listed as a scoping for Amendment 7 to the HMS management plan. This proposal is located at :www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/breakingnews.htm or call 978-281-9260 for a copy You must reply before July 15, 2012.
This is YOUR best opportunity in the last 30 years where a united angler response to NMFS proposal will result in a major increase in the US angler quota allocation plus many other beneficial changes in their proposal This is the first time since 1995 where you have been given an opportunity to submit your comments and support NMFS proposed actions. There are also commercial changes you must oppose. If you do not want to do this for yourself, then do it for your family and grandchildren.