Bluefin tuna are one of the most prized fish in the sea for both its taste and its fight. Our taste for tuna is causing an issue, especially for the Japanese sushi market.. In just the last 40 years, it’s been said that bluefin tuna stocks have decreased over 70% in the Eastern Atlantic and 82% in the Western. There was even a call for a ban on Atlantic bluefin tuna fishing, but the effort was rejected by the United Nations.
For the sport fishermen, bluefin tuna present an interesting challenge. Their enormous weight (some can grow up to 1,000lbs), combined with their strength and agility in the water provide for a heck of a fight. Just getting a bluefin to bite is half the battle, reeling one of them in takes effort and patience.
Recreational Bluefin Tuna Fishing Season
The best time for tuna fishing season depends on the area you are located. In the northern Atlantic, such as off the Massachusetts coast, the best times are usually July through October. But those dates can change, especially depending on when winter ends. As of 2015, recreational fishermen may keep 1 bluefin tuna over 73 inches and one over 47 inches per boat per day. The casual fishermen may also keep any amount of bigeye, skipjack, or albacore tunas they catch. They will be limited to just 3 yellowfin tuna per person per day as long as they are at least 27 inches long. Make sure you have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit so you can legally fish for tuna, shark, swordfish, and billfish in the Atlantic. They only cost $20, and are valid until December 31st of that year.
Commercial Bluefin Tuna Fishing Season
Commercial fishermen have to obtain a permit to fish and keep bluefin tuna. This permit limits ships to 4 bluefin tuna at least 73 inches in length per vessel per day. This year, the bluefin tuna fishing season is from June 1, 2015 to August 31, 2015. These limits can change, depending on the catch rates throughout the season.
To find the best bluefin tuna hubs in your area, Waterproof Charts has a map for you. Fishing sites and PGS coordinates will point you to the areas most likely to produce tuna. Maps for areas like Charleston to Cape Lookout, and New Jersey coast offer insights into fishing areas you might not know about. Get going this bluefin tuna fishing season!