NOAA Fisheries has released their latest regulations on our upcoming Bluefin Tuna season. There are some significant changes for both recreational and commercial fishers of bluefin. For the recreational anglers, (this is “Angling” category) the bag limit has been INCREASED from one bluefin tuna from 27” to 73” to TWO bluefin, of which ONE must be from 27” to 47” and the other must be from 47” to 73”. For the “Charter Headboat” category, (when fishing recreationally) the limit has been increased from two fish (one at 27 to 47” and the other at 47 to 73”) to three fish, PROVIDING that, two fish must be from 27” to 47” and the third must be from 47” to 73”.
At first take, I thought this to be excessive. Considering that the size fish we saw last year were mostly larger than 45 inches, the new limits will not have a big increase in the take of bluefin in OUR areas. How that will affect other areas to the south of us I am not sure as I don’t have the biological catch data to offer an opinion.
As for the commercial bluefin fishermen, they also received a daily bag limit increase. As of June 1 through August 31, 2014, “General” category bluefin tuna permit holders (these are the commercial rod and reel guys) will be allowed to harvest FOUR bluefin per day measuring larger than 73”. Some may think this is excessive, but based on harvest data from the last several years, the June to August sub quota of 217.6 metric ton has NOT been caught. NOAA has the responsibility to ensure that permit holders have a “reasonable opportunity” to harvest the quota as provided by ICCAT. This increase in daily bag is supposed to address that.
Capeshores Charters and the “Marilyn S” have been getting ready for our June opener of the 2014 Bluefin season. Upgrades to the boat this year include, new LED floodlights and underwater lighting for night fishing, additional 160 gallons of custom fuel tanks to increase range and speed, new spinning gear for bigger bluefin, new squid bars, a change in insurance to allow charters as for as 150 miles from shore and a wide range of maintenance and stress preventive upgrades. I do lots of striped bass charters and we do well catching stripers, but I love these bluefin tuna ! Hooking up to one of these streamlined underwater powerhouse fighters will challenge all anglers that have already caught and landed their fair share of bass and blues. If you are up for something a little more robust than your usual eight hour bass trip, give us a call. You wont be disappointed !
Good Fishing to you,
Captain Bruce & Marilyn S www.sportfishingcapecod.com