By AUDREY McAVOY
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii's longline fishermen are on course to hit their annual bigeye tuna catch limit next week, three months earlier than last year. This means they will have to stop catching bigeye in their most productive fishing grounds west of Hawaii on Aug. 5.
Hawaii fishermen will still be able to catch bigeye in eastern waters regulated by a different fisheries commission.
Last year fishermen continued catching bigeye after they hit their quota in November because federal authorities drafted rules allowing them to attribute some catch to U.S. territories.
Mike Tosatto of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries service says officials haven't yet had time to draft similar rules for 2015.
Bigeye is one of two types of tuna known as ahi. The other is yellowfin.