Bigeye Tuna Commercial Harvest Status

On April 9, 2014, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published a final rule (79 FR 19487) to extend management measures for tropical tuna in years 2014, 2015, and 2016. This final rule implemented Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) Resolution C-13-01 and includes restrictions on Pacific bigeye tuna catch by U.S. longline vessels over 24 meters in overall length (large longline vessels). The annual limit that may be caught and landed by large longline vessels in the IATTC Convention Area (defined as waters bounded by the coast of the Americas, the 50° N. and 50° S. parallels, and the 150° W. meridian) is 500 metric tons (mt).  

NMFS monitors the retained catches of bigeye tuna using both logbook data submitted by vessel captains and other available information. In 2013, the annual catch limit for bigeye tuna was reached in November, the first time the limit was reached since 2007. It was again reached in 2014, in October, and 2015, in August.

This year, NMFS closed the bigeye longline fishery for large longline vessels, effective July 25, 2016, through December 31, 2016 (81 FR 46614, July 18, 2016). However, further processing of catch data showed that 250 mt of the catch limit remained after the closure. As such, the fishery was reopened on October 4, 2016 (81 FR 69717). The fishery will remain open until (1) the catch limit is met and NMFS closes the fishery again, or (2) December 31, 2016, when the catch limit expires, whichever comes first.

The United States bigeye tuna harvest estimates by large longline vessels can be found at the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office Annual Catch Limits website.

For more information, please contact Taylor Debevec at or 562-980-4066.

Updated: October 11, 2016.