NOAA Fisheries recently released preliminary estimates of 2014 recreational billfish landings (January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014) for Atlantic blue and white marlin, roundscale spearfish, and western Atlantic sailfish. 2013 recreational billfish landings data (final) was also released, for comparison.
Landings are compiled using self-reported angler reports from the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Non-Tournament Recreational Swordfish and Billfish Landings Database, tournament landings from the Recreational Billfish Survey (RBS), catch card reports from North Carolina and Maryland, and individual billfish intercepted by the Large Pelagic Survey (LPS) and Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP).
As specified in 50 CFR Part 635.27(d) (1), the recreational billfish fishery is limited to a maximum of 250 Atlantic blue and white marlin landings, combined, per year. Effective January 2011, annual landings of roundscale spearfish are also included the 250 marlin count.
2014 Billfish Landings (Q1 through Q4)
Atlantic Blue Marlin 54
Atlantic White Marlin 40
Roundscale Spearfish 2
Western Atlantic Sailfish* 118
2013 billfish landings (final)
Atlantic Blue Marlin 55
Atlantic White Marlin 49
Roundscale Spearfish 1
Western Atlantic Sailfish* 173
* Western Atlantic sailfish are not included in the 250 fish landings limit for Atlantic blue and white marlin/roundscale spearfish.
Catch statistics from previous months can be found on the the HMS billfish information webpage:
source: NOAA HMS NEWS