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Atlantic bluefin tuna fishing stopped until June

No more fishing for keeps of Atlantic large and medium bluefin tuna will be allowed until June. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is announcing in the Federal Register of Monday, March 24 that it is closing the fishery to prevent overfishing, effective immediately.

The quota for the current time period has already been reached, NMFS figured, based on the best landings data available. The category will automatically open up again on June 1 for the period running from June through August.

Fishermen are still allowed to catch and release or tag and release the Atlantic bluefin tuna of all sizes as long as they follow current rules. That means they must not remove the fish from the water and must handle them in a way to maximize their chance of survival. For details on how to handle such fish, see http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/.

NMFS says it may alter rules later. It says it was unable to give prior notice because of the nature of the fishery and data. Any more fishing would lead to overfishing.

Read the announcement at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-03-24/html/2014-06386.htm.