skip to main content | skip to footer
North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 06 Bluefish SSR 2016

Marine Fisheries

Web Content Display Web Content Display

Bluefish

Bluefish — 2016

Stock Status – Viable – A new benchmark stock assessment, completed in 2015, indicates that bluefish are not experiencing overfishing and are not overfished. Fishing mortality has steadily declined since 1991. Though the assessment indicated bluefish are neither experiencing overfishing nor considered overfished, the assessment indicates lower biomass estimates and reference points relative to the previous assessment. These lower estimates have resulted in decreased annual catch limits.  For the 2016 fishing season, the Commission and Council approved an acceptable biological catch of 19.45 million pounds, an approximate 10% decrease from 2015 levels.

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2006-2015 – 1,926,683 lbs./$ 724,483

2015 Commercial Landings and Value – 804,336 lbs./$ 456,753 (quota managed)

Average Recreational Landings 2006-2015 – 1,055,432 lbs., 2015 – 868,867 lbs.

Average Number of Award Citations (15 lbs.) 2006-2015 – 4, 2015 – 1 (kept)
(Citation weight requirement reduced from 17 lbs. to 15 lbs. in 2008)

Status of Fishery Management Plan (FMP) – In North Carolina, bluefish are included in the Interjurisdictional FMP, which defers to Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission/Mid–Atlantic Fisheries Management Council FMP compliance requirements. The FMP allows an annually adjusted, state-by-state commercial quota system and recreational harvest limits to reduce fishing mortality. Bluefish is managed under Amendment 1 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Bluefish Fishery and Addendum I. The Commission and Council approved Amendment 1 to the FMP in 1998. Amendment 1 allocates 83% of the resource to recreational fisheries and 17% to commercial fisheries.  North Carolina is allocated 32.06% of the coast wide quota for bluefish.

Research and Data Needs – Fishery-independent data, commercial bycatch and recreational release mortality estimates, exploration of alternative assessment models since the highly migratory nature of bluefish populations and the recruitment dynamics of the species create a unique modeling situation.

2015 Regulations –Recreational: 15 fish/day. Only five fish of the 15 fish limit can be greater than 24 inches total length. Commercial: annual quota (1,680,371 lbs. in 2015)

Harvest Season – Open year round (commercial season closes if quota is met)

Size and Age at Maturity – 13 inches fork length/2 years

Maximum Age – 14 years

Juvenile Abundance Index – Not available

Habits and Habitats – Bluefish are pelagic and important to saltwater fishermen throughout the world. Bluefish school by size and make seasonal migrations north in the spring and south in winter. Large fish tend to congregate in the northern part of the range. There are two spawning groups, one that spawns at sea during the spring and the other spawns at sea in the summer. The success of the spring cohort may control the abundance of adult bluefish.

For more information, contact Beth Egbert at Beth.Egbert@ncdenr.gov or 252-473-5734.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

NC logo

38337 FEEDBACK

Your input is valuable to us. Please send us your feedback.

What type of feedback would you like to send?*

Ask a Question Report a Problem Have a Concern Make a Comment

(If you would like us to respond please include your phone or e-mail.)

Your Question has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Problem has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Concern has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Comment has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

*If you are a DENR employee with an I.T. issue, please submit a DOTS ticket.