No more taking home of Atlantic bluefin tuna will be allowed until June. To prevent overharvest, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced on Wednesday, Feb. 20 that it is closing the categories for medium, large and giant bluefin, effective immediately. For details, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-02-20/html/2013-03847.htm.
Fishing will reopen June for the June through August subperiod.
NMFS determined that the general category subquota has probably already been reached.
Catch and release as well as tag and release will still be allowed. But fishermen must comply with release rules to ensure the maximum chance the fish will survive, including not taking the fish out of the water. For details, see http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/.
NMFS says it had no time to give advance warning of the closure. It estimates that most of the 23.1 metric ton limit has been landed.
NMFS set the quota in November. See stories linked to below for background. It periodically adjusts quotas, as you can see.