Pacific Bluefin Tuna Commercial Harvest Status 2016

On July 8, 2015, NMFS published a final rule (80 FR 38986) regarding domestic implementation of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) Resolution C-14-06 (Measures for the Conservation and Management of Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, 2015-2016). The rule, in accordance with advice from the Pacific Fishery Management Council, includes catch and trip limits that apply to U.S. commercial vessels that fish for Pacific bluefin tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean during 2015 and 2016. This rule implements a 600 metric ton (mt) catch limit for both years combined, not to exceed 425 mt in a single year. Further, the rule specifies that, if U.S. catch exceeds 300 mt in 2015, then U.S. catch may not exceed 200 mt in 2016. In each year, there is 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 January 15, 2016, NMFS published a notice announcing the 2016 catch limit (81 FR 2110).  In accordance with Resolution C-14-06 and the final rule published on July 8, 2015, if less than 175 mt were caught in 2015, then the catch limit in 2016 would be 425 mt.  Preliminary estimates indicate approximately 96 mt were caught in 2015; therefore, the catch limit in 2016 is 425 mt.

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*
2016 81 FR 2110 6,600 mt for 2015 and 2016, combined 3,236 mt 425 mt 332.17 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 November 4, 2016.

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