The Sportfishing Association of California (SAC) has been working with diplomatic officials in Mexico’s National Aquaculture and Fishing Commission (CONAPESCA) since the ban on bluefin tuna fishing was announced July 14th, and received some good news today.
Ken Franke, the President of the SAC released the following press release;
“This afternoon the SAC legal office in Mexico City received verbal notice from CONAPESCA that recreational fishing for bluefin tuna can resume in Mexican waters immediately.
SAC has been informed that the written notification should be available on Monday morning for dissemination to the public. We appreciate CONAPESCA and their leadership for working hard to promote recreational fishing in Mexico.
SAC will continue to work with their associate members in Mexico to promote Mexico sportfishing and improved regional tourism.”
There was widespread confusion when the suspension of the fishery was first announced a few weeks ago about whether it included recreational fishing, or was just intended for commercial fisherman who reached their annual quota of bluefin (5,511 US tons). But SAC confirmed the following day that it did indeed mean the end of both commercial and recreational take of bluefin.
Fortunately for the local sportfishing fleet, massive schools of yellowfin tuna were already in US waters at the time, and there were even schools of larger bluefin tuna making their way up the coast into US territory immediately after. So the fleet was able to shift their focus to the fish available locally, and continue what has been arguably the best saltwater fishing available in over 20 years.
As for how the reopening of the bluefin fishery will affect the fleet the rest of the year, it simply means more options, which will be welcomed. Captain Frank Ursitti of Ranger 85 and Coral Sea Sportfishing laid out his plans as follows, “we will go where we have the best opportunity for a productive catch…there still remains good bluefin tuna both north and south of the border, as well as the large schools of yellowfin. This truly is just icing on the cake.”