Norway’s Ministry of Fisheries has set a deadline of tomorrow, 14th of March, for applications to take part in a trial bluefin fishery this year. Norway has a 43.71 tonne bluefin quota allocated by ICCAT. The Ministry is seeking one purse seiner and one longliner to take part in trials.
The quota set aside for the purse seine vessel is 20 tonnes and 12 tonnes for the longliner, while the remaining 11.71 tonnes of Norway’s bluefin quota are held back to cover by-catches of tuna taken with other fisheries.
According to Fiskebåt, a purse seiner can target bluefin tuna on a trial basis between 25th of June and 31th October, while the prospective longliner’s fishing window is from 1st August to the end of the year. If no longliners apply to take part, then the Ministry has the option of assigning the full quota to a purse seiner, while it also reserves the right to cut short the trial fishery once the full quota has been taken, regardless of who caught it. Bluefin tuna are something of a rarity, but are occasionally caught in other pelagic fisheries.
100% observer coverage is a requirement for a participating purse seiner, and 20% for the longliner, and a cabin has to be available for the observer.
It remains to be seen how many vessels apply this year to take part in the Norwegian bluefin tuna trial fishery, as uptake in previous years has not demonstrated any strong interest.
There has been a commercial bluefin tuna fishery in Norway in the past, but this came to an end more than fifty years ago.