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Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Recreational Bag Limits

Overview

Description
This summary is provided as a courtesy. Regulations are officially announced through the Federal Register.
Fishing Type
Recreational
Action Status
Final Rule
Effective
05/02/2021
Point of Contact
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Management Division, 978-281-9260

Summary

Bag limits for bluefin tuna vary by permit, vessel type, fish size, and region. Additional requirements may be applicable. View the HMS Recreational Compliance Guide for details.

Regardless of the permit type, bluefin tuna cannot be retained if a hammerhead or oceanic whitetip shark is on board or has been offloaded from the vessel.

HMS Angling Permit

Size Class

(curved fork length)

Fishery Status Atlantic Bag Limit Gulf of Mexico Bag Limit
Less than 27" Not allowed Not allowed Not allowed
27" to less than 73" Open

1/vessel/day or trip

0

73” or greater

Gulf of Maine

Open 1/vessel/year

73" or greater

Southern New England

Open 1/vessel/year -

73" or greater

Trophy South

Open 1/vessel/year -

73" or greater

Gulf of Mexico

Open - 1/vessel/year

HMS Charter Headboat Permit When Fishing Recreationally

Charter Boats

Size Class

(curved fork length)

Fishery Status Atlantic Bag Limit Gulf of Mexico Bag Limit
Less than 27" Not allowed Not allowed Not allowed
27" to less than 73" Open

1/vessel/day or trip

0

73” or greater

Gulf of Maine

Open 1/vessel/year

73" or greater

Southern New England

Open 1/vessel/year -

73" or greater

Trophy South

Open 1/vessel/year -

73" or greater

Gulf of Mexico

Open - 1/vessel/year

Headboats

Size Class

(curved fork length)

Fishery Status Atlantic Bag Limit Gulf of Mexico Bag Limit
Less than 27" Not allowed Not allowed Not allowed
27" to less than 73" Open

1/vessel/day or trip

0

73” or greater

Gulf of Maine

Open 1/vessel/year

73" or greater

Southern New England

Open 1/vessel/year -

73" or greater

Trophy South

Open 1/vessel/year -

73" or greater

Gulf of Mexico

Open - 1/vessel/year

Permits

Vessels must have a valid HMS Angling or HMS Charterboat/Headboat permit to fish for Atlantic bluefin tuna. The permit covers everyone fishing on that vessel. Tournament vessels may instead fish for bluefin with an Atlantic Tunas General category permit.

Buy or renew a permit

Measurement

Measure curved fork length by following the curve of the fish's body from the tip of the jaw to fork of the tail.

Curved fork length_bluefin tuna.png

Illustration by Diane Rome Peebles.

Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on 01/03/2023

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna