Pacific Bluefin Tuna Commercial Harvest Status

On April 21, 2017, NMFS published a final rule (82 FR 18704) regarding domestic implementation of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) Resolution C-16-08 (Measures for the Conservation and Management of Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean). The final rule, in accordance with advice from the Pacific Fishery Management Council, includes annual and trip catch limits that would apply to U.S. commercial vessels that fish for Pacific bluefin tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean during 2017 and 2018. This rule implements a 600 metric ton (mt) catch limit for both years combined, not to exceed 425 mt in a single year.  In each year, there would be a trip limit of 25 mt until catch is within 50 mt of the catch limit and a 2 mt trip limit when catch is within 50 mt of the catch limit. 

On August 28, 2017, NMFS announced that the 2017 catch limit of 425 mt for U.S. commercial vessels had been exceeded and closed the fishery for the remainder of the 2017 calendar year (82 FR 40720). The catch limit in 2018 will be calculated by subtracting the amount caught in 2017 from 600 mt.

Update: NMFS is proposing to revise trip limits in 2018 to avoid exceeding the biennial catch limit. The proposed rule published on December 7, 2017, and the public comment period closes on January 8, 2018 (82 FR 57699).  NMFS will announce the exact 2018 catch limit with the final rule associated with this action; preliminary estimates for total catch in 2017 and the 2018 catch limit are provided in the table below. For more information, including on how to submit a comment, visit:


The Commercial harvest of Pacific bluefin tuna in the IATTC Convention Area is in metric tons (mt).

Year Regulations Commission-wide  commercial limit Commission-wide commercial catch in the IATTC Convention Area to date U.S. commercial catch limit U.S. commercial catch to date*
2018 82 FR 57699 (proposed) 6,600 mt for 2017 and 2018, combined -- Preliminary estimate less than 120 mt --
2017 82 FR 18704

82 FR 40720
6,600 mt for 2017 and 2018, combined 4,113.9 mt 425 mt 480.3 mt

Limit determined to be exceeded
2016 81 FR 2110 6,600 mt for 2015 and 2016, combined 3,251 mt 425 mt 350.2 mt
2015 80 FR 38986 3,178 mt 425 mt 96.1 mt
2014 79 FR 28448
79 FR 53631
79 FR 68133
5,000 mt 4,865 mt caught as of July 9; limit determined to be reached 500 mt** 404 mt caught as of November 13, 2014
2013 78 FR 33240 3,295 mt*** Limit determined to be reached in July 500 mt** 6 mt caught

* Catch data is presented in a manner consistent with data confidentiality standards under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

** The U.S. catch limit is notwithstanding the Commission-wide limit.

*** IATTC Resolution C-12-09 established a Commission-wide limit of 10,000 mt for 2012 and 2013. NMFS implemented the resolution in 2013 when 3,295 mt of the Commission-wide limit remained after the IATTC Director determined that 6,705 mt had been caught by IATTC Members and Cooperating non-members in 2012.

NOTE: Catch data is preliminary and provided by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and Pacific Fisheries Information Network. Monthly reports of catch for IATTC CPCs are available on the IATTC website.

The above information is current as of December 11, 2017.

For more information, contact Celia Barroso at or (562) 432-1850.