||Open Year-Round until season is shut down. (Regulated Federally, subject to frequent changes). Prior to departure, check https://hmspermits.noaa.gov or (888) 872-8862 for up-to-date limits.
All Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish) not retained must be immediately released to ensure the maximum probability of survival, without removing the fish from the water.
*Special permit required - All private vessel owners/operators recreationally fishing for and/or retaining regulated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish) for personal use in the Atlantic Ocean must obtain an Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling Permit. Further limits and restrictions apply.
Consult https://hmspermits.noaa.gov or call toll free (888) 872-8862 for specific information and permits.
||27 inches to less than 47 inches (School)
47 inches to less than 73 inches (Large school or
73 inches or greater (Large medium or Giant)
|Daily Limit / Person
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna retention limits may change throughout the season. Call (888) 872-8862 or visit //hmspermits.noaa.gov/ for current limits.
|Abundance in Delaware Waters
|General Habitat and Food Preferences
||The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is an oceanic species that prefers deep, wide open waters.
They are a schooling fish that feed primarily on fishes, shrimps, and squids.
|Did You Know?
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna are warm-blooded, a rare trait among fish, and are thus able to adjust their body temperature, keeping their body temperatures higher than the surrounding water, which is why they are so well adapted to cooler ocean waters.
|Common Lures and Baits
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna can be caught by trolling with rubber skirted lures or natural baits.
Bait fisherman often chum, called "chunking", when fishing for tuna. Chunking uses pieces of fish tossed into the water while drifting or anchored to attract tuna close to the fishing vessel. Anglers then drift a piece of fish with a hook in it, hoping for a bite.
|Typical Sizes Caught
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna are commonly caught in the range of 27 to 80 inches in length (60 to 300 pounds) by anglers.
|Citation Minimum Length and Weight
Live Release Award
Adult: 60 inches minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 48 inches minimum
Sport Fishing Tournament Award
Adult: 100 pounds minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 75 pounds minimum
|Delaware State Record
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna are eligible for the general "Tuna" record, which it holds.
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.