Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; North and South Atlantic Swordfish Quotas and Management Measures

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The US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has implemented a variety of regulations suggested by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas Commission.

Via the Federal Register: "This final rule implements the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (Commission) Recommendation 11–02, which maintains the U.S. North Atlantic swordfish base quota allocation, reduces the annual underharvest carryover from 50 to 25 percent of the base quota, establishes an quota transfer to Morocco for 2012 and 2013, and includes an alternative swordfish minimum size of 25-inches cleithrum to caudal keel (CK). This final rule also implements Recommendation 09–03 for South Atlantic swordfish. It also allows fishermen to remove the bill of the swordfish while still meeting the ‘‘head naturally-attached’’ requirement for measuring swordfish using the lower jaw fork length minimum size, modifies and clarifies regulations regarding swordfish fishery season closures and the North Atlantic swordfish quota reserve category, and adjusts the North and South Atlantic swordfish quotas for the 2012 fishing year to account for 2011 underharvests and landings. This final rule could affect commercial and recreational fishermen who are fishing for swordfish in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico."

The new rules go into effect on August 30, 2012. Full details are in the attached PDF.

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