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DOC/NOAA RIN: 0648-BK64 Publication ID: Fall 2021 
Title: ●Bluefish Allocation and Rebuilding Amendment (Amendment 7 to the Bluefish Fishery Management Plan) 

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission initiated this amendment in December 2018 to consider a comprehensive revision to the Atlantic bluefish fishery management plan (FMP); including a review of quota allocation between sectors and between states, as well as a review of the FMP goals and objectives. In August 2019, an operational stock assessment determined that the bluefish stock is overfished, and requires a rebuilding plan. NMFS notified the Council in November 2019, and the Council and the Commission’s Bluefish Board voted to include the rebuilding plan in this comprehensive amendment. The intent of this action is to update the bluefish FMP with the best scientific data available, responding to recent changes in stock health and distribution, while recognizing economic need and reliance throughout the management area. The Council and Board made final recommendations on proposed measures at the joint meeting in June 2021, with the goal of implementing this action by November 2021, consistent with rebuilding plan provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and to be effective for the January 1 start of the 2022 fishing year. The amendment proposes to: (1) Update the Bluefish FMP goals and objectives; (2) Re-allocate quota between sectors from 83% recreational / 17% commercial to 86% recreational / 14% commercial with no phase-in period; (3) Re-allocate commercial quota to the states based on the last 10 years of landings data with a 0.1% minimum default allocation and a phase-in period of 7 years; (4) Implement a 7-year rebuilding plan using a constant fishing mortality model; (5)Allow the sector quota transfer move either direction (from commercial to recreational or vice versa), with a revised amount cap of 10% of the acceptable biological catch for the year; and (6) Allow for management uncertainty and related accountability measure process to be applied to the commercial and recreational sectors separately during the catch specifications process. This action would affect vessels issued federal commercial bluefish permits, and those with federal party/charter recreational permits for bluefish. While this action may have some impact on these entities, the effect is not expected to be significant.

Agency: Department of Commerce(DOC)  Priority: Substantive, Nonsignificant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 50 CFR 648   
Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.   
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date
Final  Statutory  A rebuilding program for Atlantic bluefish must be implemented within 2yrs of the Council’s notifications of an overfished stock status determination; required by section 304(e)(3) of MSA  11/12/2021 

Overall Description of Deadline: A rebuilding program for Atlantic bluefish must be implemented within two years of the Council's notifications of an overfished stock status determination, as required by section 304(e)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  09/13/2021  86 FR 50866   
NPRM Comment Period End  10/13/2021 
Final Action  11/00/2021 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Michael Pentony
Regional Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region
Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
55 Great Republic Drive,
Gloucester, MA 01930
Phone:978 281-9283