WASHINGTON, DC – Following Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.’s (NJ-06) letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service requesting the denial of proposed restrictions on fishing for blueline tilefish along the Atlantic coast, NOAA has indefinitely delayed its decision on the proposal.  The proposal – from the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council – is for NOAA to apply the South Atlantic’s restriction of one blueline tilefish per vessel, per day to the entire length of the Atlantic.  NOAA stated that the delay comes because of conflicting information between the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils and a need for further evaluation of the scientific basis of their conclusions.  Additionally, while NOAA decides on a long-term approach, it has implemented a temporary six-month restriction that is much less burdensome than the proposed restriction from the South Atlantic council. 

“I am pleased that NOAA has put off the proposal to apply burdensome fishing restrictions from the South Atlantic to the Mid-Atlantic and New England,” said Congressman Pallone. “The proposal’s restrictions are arbitrary, unnecessary and based on insufficient data.  Based on NOAA’s far less burdensome temporary restriction, I am cautiously optimistic that their long-term approach will be fair and reasonable.”

In his letter to NOAA, Pallone explained that there is insufficient data to conclude that onerous catch limits for blueline tilefish are necessary in the Mid-Atlantic and New England jurisdictions.  In addition to a lack of sufficient data, Pallone opposed considering this as an emergency action because it provides no public comment period.  Congressman Pallone’s letter is available HERE.

In NOAA’s temporary rule, which is in effect for 180 days, recreational catch of blueline tilefish will be limited to seven fish per person, per trip, rather than the more burdensome proposal from the South Atlantic Council of one fish per vessel, per day.