Bluefin tuna, often referred to as “coldwater” or “green water” tuna due to their proximity to land at certain times of the year, are currently migrating from their summer habitat off Nova Scotia to their wintering grounds off North Carolina’s coast. Many continue to the Gulf of Mexico for spring spawning.
Recently, schools of giant bluefin were spotted near Ocean City, Maryland, swimming in shallow waters just 9 miles off the beach, despite the ocean temperature being around 50°, which is usually too cold for most tuna species but not for bluefins.
They are following their preferred prey, the menhaden, but also consume large bluefish and rockfish when available. In the Outer Banks, some longline boats are utilizing their remaining quotas before the year’s end, catching high-quality, primarily red meat color fish.
These fish are leaner due to the extensive migration. Starting January 1, 2024, the bluefin fishing category will open for various harvesting methods, likely leading to an increase in market supply and a decrease in prices. Ask your rep for more information.