The new daily bag limit for bluefin tuna, and fillet-at-sea regulation changes for all species of tuna went into effect today, July 30th 2015 and are now being enforced.
On April 8th the California Fish and Game Commission adopted changes concerning fishing for Pacific bluefin tuna in California waters. Those changes included the reduction in daily bag limit from 10 to 2 per angler, and new requirements for filleting tuna while on vessels south of Point Conception, which is in Santa Barbara County.
The changes are in line with a proposed federal rule by NOAA Fisheries which would have had the same effect in California anyways, that is expected to be finalized and published congruently with the state’s changes.
The following subsections were printed to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website today;
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.
The regulations imposed for the filleting of bluefin tuna are in place so that law enforcement can still identify fish that were filleted at sea. They affect all species, including yellowfin, bluefin, albacore, bigeye and skipjack.