Bluefish support recreational and commercial fisheries along the entire Atlantic coast. The recreational sector is most popular, accounting for 70 percent of the total catch by weight in the past 20 years.  Although bluefish are excellent fish to eat, they do not freeze or transport well because powerful digestive enzymes cause their meat to deteriorates rapidly if not immediately iced. Because of these factors, bluefish is marketed mostly fresh or smoked.

Recreational fishermen mainly use rod and reel gear to catch bluefish. In the commercial sector, gillnets are the principal gear used, accounting for approximately 40 percent of commercial landings. Commercial fishermen also use hook and line gear and trawls to harvest bluefish. 

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council developed the first fishery management plan for bluefish in 1990 after the fishery experienced a substantial increase in fishing effort. Current annual quota for recreational fisheries and commercial fisheries are 83% and 17%, respectively. Any unused recreational quota can be re-allocated to commercial fisheries.  According to the latest assessment update (2013), bluefish is not considered overfished, and overfishing is not occurring. 

Fishery Management Plan and Amendments

Actions Under Development

Fishery Performance Reports and Information Documents

Fishery Performance Reports are developed every year by each fishery's advisory panel to provide the Council and SSC with a description of the factors that influenced fishing effort and catch within each of the Council’s fisheries. Fishery Information Documents are annual summaries of the most recent catch, landings, and effort data.