Bluefin Tuna Show Early off N.C. Outer Banks

January 6, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Tuna reports

MOREHEAD CITY — Bluefin tuna season is here again, traditionally running from November through March, sometimes into April, and there have already been landings in Carteret County, as well as some anecdotal reports of the prized commercial fish showing up off the Outer Banks.

Bluefin tuna are a sought-after commercial finfish for sushi, and individual fish can sell for several thousand dollars on the international market. Matt Frost, owner and operator of Homer Smith Seafood in Beaufort, said as of Wednesday he’s had about 6,100 pounds of bluefin tuna landed at his fish house.

“I’ve had about 20 fish this year (so far),” he said. “My first was Nov. 18. They’re pretty much right off our beach, within 3-15 miles.”

While the bluefin tuna mean a good profit for those who catch them, Mr. Frost said he’s still not sure if this will be a good tuna season.

“In a really good season, you’d see 10-20 fish a day,” he said. “Only about eight to 10 percent of the boats fishing (for bluefin tuna) have caught a fish yet.”

Carteret County isn’t the only area where the tuna are showing up. Brad McHale, branch chief of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s highly migratory species division, said Dec. 7 his division has heard from commercial fishermen in North Carolina that bluefin tuna have been spotted off the state coast, in particular near Southport

Read the rest of this story in the Carteret County News Times: –

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