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Recreational Bluefin Tuna and Tuna Fillet-at-Sea Regulation Changes

Effective July 30, 2015, the following regulation changes are in effect for all tuna species (yellowfin, bluefin, albacore, bigeye, skipjack, etc.):

Note: bonito (Sarda chiliensis), Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus), and other mackerels are NOT considered tuna and the new fillet regulations are not applicable to these species.

Subsection 27.65(b)(11) - FILLETING OF FISH ON VESSELS.

(b) Fish That May be Filleted: No person shall fillet on any boat or bring ashore as fillets any fish, except in accordance with the following requirements: ...

(11) For all species of tuna filleted on any boat or brought ashore as fillets south of a line running due west true from Point Conception, Santa Barbara County (34° 27' N. lat.) each fish must be individually bagged as follows:

(A) The bag must be marked with the species' common name.

(B) The fish must be cut into six pieces with all skin attached. These pieces are the four loins, the collar removed as one piece with both pectoral fins attached and intact, and the belly fillet cut to include the vent and with both pelvic fins attached and intact.

Subsection 28.38(b) – TUNAS

(b) Bluefin tuna - The special limit for bluefin tuna is 2, which may be taken or possessed in addition to the overall general daily bag limit of 20 finfish specified in subsection 27.60(a). This limit applies to all bluefin tuna possessed, regardless of where taken.

Read the news release announcing the changes, view an illustration of the new tuna fillet requirements (PDF), or watch a video of the new fillet process, provided by Sportfishing Association of California (SAC).

Tuna are large fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. They are fast swimmers, with some species capable of swimming 43 miles per hour or more. Almost everything about tunas is designed for speed. The muscle tissue of tuna is pink to dark red because it contains myoglobin, an oxygen-binding molecule, in far greater quantities than most other fishes. Some larger tuna species, such as bluefin tuna, display warm-blooded adaptations such as the ability to raise their body temperature above water temperature by means of muscular activity. This enables them to survive in cooler waters and inhabit a wider range of ocean environments than other types of fish. Tuna are targeted for recreational and commercial purposes.

For additional life history information, click on one of the tuna species below:


Management and Regulations

Selected Articles and Publications

Additional Resources

Marine Region (Region 7)
Regional Manager: Dr. Craig Shuman
Main Office: 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey, CA  93940  |  (831) 649-2870
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Yellowfin tuna. Photo courtesy NMFS Honolulu Lab.