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Atlantic Billfish & Swordfish 2017 Landings Update

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November 14th, 2017

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NOAA Fisheries recently released an updated estimate of recreational billfish landings in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as commercial and recreational landings of swordfish, thus far in 2017.

From January 1 through September 30, 2017, NMFS reports landings of Atlantic blue and white marlin, roundscale spearfish, and western Atlantic sailfish in number of fish. The table below identifies how many of each have been caught so far this year.

2017 Atlantic billfish landings (credit: NOAA Fisheries)

This landings information is compiled from a number of sources: self-reports in the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Non-Tournament Recreational Swordfish and Billfish Landings Database, tournament landings from the Atlantic Tournament Registration & Reporting (ATR) system, catch card reports from North Carolina and Maryland, as well as individual billfish intercepted by the Large Pelagic Survey and Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP).

In the U.S., the recreational billfish fishery is limited to a total maximum of 250 Atlantic blue and white marlin and roundscale spearfish landings, combined, per year. This helps maintain populations of the species at healthy levels considering they face fishing pressure from numerous nations. Not included in this 250 fish landings limit is the Western Atlantic sailfish.

NMFS also released the landings estimate for Atlantic swordfish stocks for the year, through October 31, 2017. The numbers are generated using commercial dealer reports as well as reports by anglers in the HMS Non-Tournament Recreational Swordfish and Billfish Landings Database and the Recreational Billfish Survey. The tables below show 2017 landings and remaining quota for the North Atlantic Swordfish stock and the South Atlantic Swordfish stock, respectively.

2017 landings of North Atlantic swordfish stock as of Oct. 31 (credit: NOAA Fisheries)

2017 landings of South Atlantic swordfish stock as of Oct. 31 (credit: NOAA Fisheries)

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