NOAA 2019 Commercial and Recreational Landings Updates | The Billfish Foundation

NOAA 2019 Commercial and Recreational Landings Updates

courtesy of Casa Vieja Lodge

NOAA Fisheries announced the final landings updates for Atlantic swordfish and tunas, including bluefin. This update includes all fish landed between January 1st and December 31st, 2019. It also released updates for recreational Atlantic billfish landings between January 31st and September 30th, 2019. Final numbers for recreational Atlantic billfish landings for the entirety of 2019 are still to come. All commercial species, including North Atlantic sworfish, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, northern albacore, and bigeye tuna have experienced increased landings this year. Blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish have also experienced increased landings (as of September 30th, 2019). Only sailfish have experienced decreased landings (as of September 30th, 2019).

Billfish (January 1, 2019 – September 30, 2019)
2019 Landings (number of fish) 2018 Landings (number of fish)
Blue Marlin 63 56
White Marlin 51 43
Roundscale Spearfish 37 20
Sailfish 62 75

99 Atlantic billfish have been reported as being landed between January 1 and September 30 of 2019, totaling 39.6% of the 250 fish quota. Blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish all saw increases in landings by 12.5%, 18.6%, and 85%, respectively. Sailfish, however, have seen a 17.3% decrease in landings.

Please note that the above chart includes only fish landed from January 1 – September 30 of both 2019 and 2018. Final counts for the year are not yet compiled, but will be reported when they are announced.

2019 Landings (mt dw) % Baseline Quota 2018 Landings (mt dw)
Commercial Directed* 986 74.8% 794.4
Commercial Bycatch* 12.3 18.2% 10
Recreational* 42.4 26.3
Total 1,040.7 35.4% 831.5

In total, the North Atlantic swordfish commercial directed fishery caught 74.8% of their 1,318.8 mt dw baseline quota in 2019, an increase of 24% from 2018. There was also a 23% increase in bycatch of North Atlantic swordfish by commercial fisheries.

The recreational community shares its North Atlantic quota allocation of 300 mt dw with the commercial bycatch fishery. 2019 saw an increase of 61% in recreational North Atlantic swordfish catch as compared to 2018.


  • Commercial Directed: Fish caught by commercial fishermen intentionally fishing for that species of fish
  • Commercial Bycatch: Fish caught by commercial fisherman accidentally while fishing for other species of fish
  • Recreational: Fish caught by recreational anglers
Bluefin Tuna
2019 Landings (mt) 2018 Landings (mt)
General 814.1 784.3
Harpoon 102.4 26.5
Longline 86.3 88
Total 1,003.1 898.8

The bluefin tuna general and longline categories experienced roughly the same landings as in 2018, with an increase of 3.7% and a decrease of 1.9%, respectively. Harpoon drastically increased it’s landing of bluefin tuna in 2019, with an increase of 283% from 2018.

The general category used 99% of it’s 819.9 mt dw quota. The harpoon category exceeded its 91 mt dw quota by 12.5%. The longline category used only 44.3% mt of its 188.6 mt dw quota.

Other Tuna
2019 Landings (mt ww) 2018 Landings (mt ww) Change from 2018 to 2019
Bigeye 571.3 376.2 Increased by 51.9%
Northern Albacroe 192.4 81.5 Increased by 136.1%
Yellowfin 889.9 837.7 Increased by 6.2%
Skipjack 6.8 5.9 Increased by 15.3%


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