NOAA Bluefin Tuna Season News

NOAA Fisheries transfers 55 metric tons of Atlantic bluefin tuna quota to the General category for the October through November 2018 subquota period and closes the fishery as of Friday, October 5, 2018.

NOAA Fisheries transferred 40 metric tons (mt) from the Harpoon category and 15 mt from the Reserve category and will close the General category fishery until December 1, 2018. This action is intended to provide limited additional opportunities to harvest the U.S. bluefin tuna quota while avoiding exceeding it.

Quota Transfer:

Although a proposed rule was published to increase the baseline U.S. bluefin tuna quota from 1,058.79 mt to 1,247.86 mt and accordingly increase the subquotas for 2018, the final “quota rule” is not yet in effect. The transfers result in an adjusted subquota of 115.7 mt for the General category October through November 2018 subquota period, 28.6 mt for the 2018 Harpoon category, and 3.5 mt for the Reserve category.

NOAA Fisheries anticipates that General category participants in all areas and time periods will have opportunities to harvest the General category quota in 2018, including the December time period.

Closure of the Bluefin Tuna General Category October through November Fishery:

The General category bluefin tuna fishery will close effective 11:30 p.m., October 5, 2018, through November 30, 2018. Based on landings rates in the September 2018 fishery and the October through November fisheries in recent years and anticipated fishing conditions, NOAA Fisheries projects that the General category October through November subquota of 115.7 mt will be reached at that time.

The General category will reopen automatically on December 1, 2018, at the default one-fish level. Based on quota availability in the Reserve, NOAA Fisheries may transfer additional quota to the December subquota period.

More information can be found in the Federal Register Notice

Who is affected?

Persons aboard vessels permitted in the Atlantic tunas General and Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat categories may not retain, possess, or land large medium or giant Atlantic bluefin tuna after 11:30 p.m. on October 5, 2018, through November 30, 2018.

This action applies to General category (commercial) permitted vessels and to HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for bluefin tuna.

Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of receiving bluefin tuna. Late dealer reporting compromises our ability to implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustments or fishery closures and may result in enforcement actions.

Additionally, and separate from the dealer reporting requirement, General category and HMS Charter/ Headboat category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all bluefin tuna retained or discarded dead, within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing the HMS Permit Shop, using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling (888) 872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.). 

All bluefin tuna that are released must be handled in a manner to maximize survivability and without removing the fish from the water.

Download the Careful Catch and Release brochure for more safe handling tips.

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Flags Are Flying At Rudee Inlet

Paige 2 Charters

Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle Report

Hurricane Florence has passed and local anglers are back at it! And the cobia and red drum have not disappointed. Fishermen are encountering schooling fish on the move; Craig Paige, Paige 2 Charters caught some large citation reds this week.

Sheepshead are plentiful around structure. Beth and Kevin Synowiec had a great catch over the weekend.

Beth and Kevin Synowiec

Anglers fishing the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier are catching sheephead, spanish mackerel, a few spot, small trout and small black drum.

High Hopes Charters

Trollers are still finding the spanish mackerel biting up and down the beach and near the islands of the CBBT. Captain David Wright on the High Hopes put his crew on this nice catch.

Ocean Pearl Charters, with Captain Steve Wray got in a good half day trip the morning. They hooked seven cobia, caught four, a 38″ (released),44″, 48″ and 57″. They found the spanish biting first thing and caught 13 keepers and a ton of throwbacks.

Ocean Pearl Charters

Captain Bill on Key Dreams Charters checked in with a nice catch. Seven nice flounder to 18″ and a 31″ red drum released to fight another day. They pulled the hook on a much larger red.

Key Dreams Charters

Flags are flying! Those heading offshore were rewarded; the white marlin bite has been on fire. Along with the whites, boats landed a mixed bag of wahoo, tuna and mahi.


Down on North Carolina’s outer banks surf fishing has been very good in some nice clear water. Anglers fishing from Kitty Hawk to Corolla have caught bluefish, spanish mackerel and large pompano. A few cobia have been caught in Avon. Anglers down in Hatteras are catching citation-sized sea mullet, spot, and pompano on shrimp and sand fleas. Some large spanish mackerel and bluefish are schooling just behind the  bar. Anglers at the Point have hooked some false albacore and sharks.

Look for new fishing reports every other week from now until April. We will post any news releases from the fishery agencies as they are made available.

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Hurricane Florence Stirs Up Local Waters

By Connie Barbour, Steve Wray (Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle)

Hurricane Florence has stirred up our local waters, once things settle down anglers will again have to locate the best fishing action.

A couple of days before the blow there was some outstanding cobia fishing happening. Boats were finding large schools with dozens of fish on the surface. Anglers were casting live eels and large bucktails to them. Don’t forget the Virginia cobia season closes the end of the month.

King and Spanish mackerel had made a good showing before the storm. Anglers were encountering them along the coast, close to shore.

Red drum were still hanging around the lower bay and along the Atlantic shoreline as well.

When anglers return to the water sheepshead should still be available around the pilings of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and spadefish around the buoys.

A local favorite, the Norfolk spot are located throughout the bay and it’s tributaries now. Yellowbellies begin to show in the lower parts of the rivers, and then move to more oceanside locations. By about mid to late September, these hefty spot become very numerous as they pack into inlets, hang on bars, and line structure near lower bay seaside areas.

Croaker are also are showing in the same areas. Look for the big croaker to show up along the edge of the bay shipping channels and in deep holes near Lynnhaven Inlet. Speckled trout, puppy drum, flounder and bluefish are inside Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets this time of year.

Offshore the mahi mahi action was excellent before the storm. The question is, will they still be available after the blow. Also our blue and white marlin season was heating up. It will be interesting to find out how the churned up water has affected their location. Offshore deep droppers had been landing some nice
golden and blueline tilefish catches prior to the storm, and it should remain a good fishery.

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Offshore Bite Heating Up

By TH Spangler | Connie Barbour (Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle)

September is typically the best month for Flounder. The bite inside the bay has been picking up. The bridge tunnel is the most popular area for bay flounder. The Cell is also a good spot. Ocean structure is still producing as well.

A lot of sheepshead are being caught around bridge tunnel pilings. Lawson Freeman picked up a stray mahi at the third island last week.

Cobia are being spotted just about everywhere. Sight casters are finding them cruising the surface, be sure and check out all the buoys. The cobia season closes September 30th. The commercial cobia fishery will also close in state waters the same day.

Red drum are being caught throughout the lower bay. Locating a large school of drum is a memorable experience.

Spanish mackerel fishing remains excellent. There’s a nice class of fish available now, some topping four pounds!

Spot fishing is good in the rivers. The Rappahannock River, the Potomac River, Colonial Beach and Buckroe Pier, all good locations.

There’s been reports of puppy drum and trout inside Lynnhaven Inlet lately.

Offshore, limits of mahi are being caught by the offshore charters. The red hot white marlin bite has been in the canyons to our north, but over the past few days the bite seems to be picking up closer to home. Look for it to really turn on any day. The blue marlin, and wahoo action will pick up as well. There are some big blues out there, the Virginia Beach Billfish Tourney produced a 683 and a 440 pounder.

The Tilefish bite has been very productive, and should stay that way for a while.

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ASMFC & MAFMC Approve Catch and Landings Limits for Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass and Bluefish for 2019

ASMFC & MAFMC Approve Catch and Landings Limits for Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass and Bluefish for 2019
ASMFC Approves Black Sea Bass Addendum XXXI for Public Comment

Virginia Beach, VA – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) reviewed previously approved specifications for scup and established new specifications for black sea bass, bluefish, and summer flounder fisheries. The Commission also approved Draft Addendum XXXI for public comment and agreed to provide the states the opportunity to open their black sea bass recreational fisheries in February 2019.

Catch and landings limits for the summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, and bluefish fisheries were established for 2019 only. The Commission’s actions are final and apply to state waters (0-3 miles from shore). The Council will forward its recommendations for federal waters (3 – 200 miles from shore) to NOAA Fisheries’ Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Administrator for final approval. The table below summarizes commercial quotas and recreational harvest limits (RHL) for summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, and bluefish (2018 values are provided for comparison purposes).

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