The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has determined that the recreational landings limit for Atlantic blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish has been exceeded for 2020. This year, Atlantic recreational anglers have kept 81 Atlantic blue marlin, 92 Atlantic white marlin, and 95 roundscale spearfish, totaling in 268 billfish (swordfish and sailfish excluded) and already exceeding the 250 landing limit per year. In 2019, the total was 189 landings, and in 2018 the total was 129.
This means that NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is prohibiting the retention of Atlantic blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish in the Atlantic HMS recreational fisheries for the remainder of 2020, and they will be catch-and-release only.
Landings are compiled using self-reported angler reports from the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Non-Tournament Recreational Swordfish and Billfish Landings Database; tournament landings from the Atlantic Tournament Registration & Reporting system; catch card reports from North Carolina and Maryland; and individual billfish intercepted by the Large Pelagic Survey and Marine Recreational Information Program.
For more information, please visit https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/atlantic-highly-migratory-species/2020-recreational-atlantic-billfish-landings-updates.