Preliminary National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) statistics comparing Atlantic bluefin tuna
landings in December 2017 to December 2016 indicate more fish were landed in 2017, but smaller in
size and less in total weight. The same was true for bluefin tuna landed in the General Category,
handline and harpoon, fisheries during the two years. Also more bluefin tuna were landed by pelagic
longline gear in December 2017 than in December 2016, but the average weight was higher. The total
number of bluefin tuna landed in December 2017 by all commercial gear was 5091 fish, weighing 842
metric tons (1,856,273.2 pounds) compared to 4,841 fish landed in December 2016, weighing more at
863.1 metric tons (1,902,790.26 pounds).
Management of commercial tuna and swordfish fisheries, especially fishing pelagic longline gear, is
crucial to billfish conservation for tons of billfish are killed incidentally by the gear as bycatch. The
threat exists worldwide.