Contact Us Search


Donate Your Bluefin Tuna Carcass to Research!

link opens in new windowView the flyer from the National Marine Fisheries Service (PDF).

Recreational Tuna Fillet-at-Sea Regulations and Bluefin Tuna Bag Limit

Tuna Fillet-at-Sea Regulations

Effective July 30, 2015, the following tuna fillet regulations apply for all tuna species (Yellowfin, Bluefin, Albacore, Bigeye, and Skipjack).

SOUTH of Point Conception (Santa Barbara County)

Note: Pacific Bonito (Sarda chiliensis), Pacific Mackerel (Scomber japonicus), and other mackerels and jacks are NOT considered tuna and the following fillet-at-sea regulations are not applicable to these species.

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.

link opens in new windowRead the news release announcing the changes, link opens in new windowview an illustration of the South of Point Conception tuna fillet requirements (PDF), or link opens in new windowwatch a video of the fillet process, provided by link opens in new windowSportfishing Association of California (SAC).

NORTH of Point Conception (Santa Barbara County)

Subsection 27.65(b)(12) - 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: ...

(12) . . . Each fillet shall bear intact a one-inch square patch of skin. The fillets may be of any size.

Bluefin Tuna Bag Limit Regulations

Subsection 28.38(b) – TUNAS

The following daily bag limits apply:

(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.

For additional information regarding ocean sport fishing regulations, including bag limits for other tuna species, please visit the Marine Region’s Ocean Sportfishing Regulations page.

Tuna are large fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. They are fast swimmers, with some species capable of swimming 43 miles per hour or more. Almost everything about tunas is designed for speed. The muscle tissue of tuna is pink to dark red because it contains myoglobin, an oxygen-binding molecule, in far greater quantities than most other fishes. Some larger tuna species, such as bluefin tuna, display warm-blooded adaptations such as the ability to raise their body temperature above water temperature by means of muscular activity. This enables them to survive in cooler waters and inhabit a wider range of ocean environments than other types of fish. Tuna are targeted for recreational and commercial purposes.

For additional life history information, click on one of the tuna species below:


Management and Regulations

Selected Articles and Publications

Additional Resources

Marine Region (Region 7)
Regional Manager: Dr. Craig Shuman
Main Office: 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey, CA  93940  |  (831) 649-2870
Office Locations  |  Marine Blog  |  Subscribe

Yellowfin tuna. Photo courtesy NMFS Honolulu Lab.