Division of Marine Fisheries Director Steve Murphey signed and issued a proclamation Tuesday reducing bluefish creel limits by 80 percent. As of Feb. 1, recreational fishermen can legally take three bluefish, down from the current limit of 15.
Fishermen who hire a recreational guide service can take five bluefish per day.
The latest DMF stock assessment determined that bluefish are overfished, but that overfishing is not occurring and is not expected to occur – meaning the species has been overfished in the past but stocks are at a point where rebuilding is possible.
In a statement Tuesday, DMF explained the reasoning for the reduction:
“The creel limit reduction complies with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council/Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Bluefish Fishery Management Plan and, in conjunction with action taken by other states, is intended to reduce the coastwide recreational harvest from Maine to Florida by 28.6% to prevent exceeding the 2020 recreational harvest limit.”
Commercial bluefish quotas for the entire Atlantic coast were also reduced for 2020. In 2019, commercial fishermen took about a quarter of the 7.7 million pound bluefish quota.