Catch and Release Only in the Atlantic Recreational Billfish Fishery for the Remainder of 2020

September 10, 2020

NOAA Fisheries announces a change to catch and release only for blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish in all areas of the Atlantic Ocean.

Based on the best available landings information, NOAA Fisheries has determined that the
Atlantic blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish 250-landings limit has been met and
exceeded for 2020. Under applicable regulations, only catch-and-release fishing is permitted for
these species for the rest of the year.


From September 30, 2020 through December 31, 2020, NOAA Fisheries is requiring catch-
and-release fishing only for Atlantic blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish in all
areas of the Atlantic Ocean.


HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat category permit holders and persons aboard vessels
permitted in the Atlantic tunas General category or Swordfish General Commercial that fish in
registered Atlantic HMS Tournaments may catch-and-release (or tag and release) Atlantic blue
marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish of all sizes. Atlantic sailfish may continue to be
landed (retained) consistent with applicable regulations.


Anglers are reminded that Atlantic billfish that are released must be handled in a manner that
will maximize survival and without removing the fish from the water. For additional
information on safe handling, see the Careful Catch-and-Release brochure.