Tuna! Reports from the Bait & Tackle shop are that people are catching tuna in the last few days. 180lb+ one near the Chesapeake Bay Light Tower to be exact! That is very exciting news.
Did you know…
…there are several varieties of bluefin tuna? In Virginia Beach we have the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. The Pacific Bluefin Tuna are the largest, growing up to 9.8 feet. Bluefin can live up to 40 years old.
Having a Virginia Saltwater Fishing License is not the same as a Tuna Permit. A federal permit is needed for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species: tunas, billfishes, swordfish, and sharks. Anglers can purchase, renew permit information, and or report landings of bluefin tuna, blue marlin, white marlin, roundscale spearfish, sailfish, and swordfish online by clicking here https://hmspermits.noaa.gov/
All boaters need to keep a safe distance from whales. Whales can get hooked in tuna rigs or tangled in monofilament line. NOAA recommends that boaters keep a distance of at least 100 feet from all whales. It is a federal law that boaters must keep a distance of at least 500 yards from endangered North Atlantic right whales. Boating too closely can result in injuries to both the whales and the people.
Tuna was considered a junk fish. Bluefin would be sold for pennies and mostly used for cat food as recently as the 1960s. Sushi’s recent rise in popularity made it a highly prized fished. You often hear stories in the news of tuna being sold for $70,000 even over a million dollars.
What is it like selling a tuna here in Virginia Beach? It’s complicated is the best way to sum it up. There are different regulations in the warm water (summer) than in the cold water (winter). In the winter, an angler needs a Tuna Permit AND a Seafood Landing Permit to sell a tuna. A tuna cannot be sold directly to a restaurant, you must sell it to an authorized federal buyer. The tuna has to be certified and tagged by the US Coast Guard. Check with your local permit selling bait shop for exact details. I suggest contacting Long Bay Pointe Bait & Tackle at 757-481-7517.
Rumor is that it is about $8 per pound to sell locally. Sorry if I dashed anyone’s get rich quit ideas. The good news is that tuna is still very much fun to catch and delicious to eat!