Anglers need to be aware that bluefin tuna are the most-highly regulated species of fish in the world. When targeting bluefin, it is mandatory that you have an HMS (Highly Migratory Species) permit for the vessel.
The regulations on keeping a bluefin change all the time, so it’s best to brush up on the current limits right before a trip. If a legal-sized fish is caught, there’s nothing wrong with taking one home for the grill, but it’s important to know what is legal the day you’re fishing, as ignorance of the limit carries very little weight with National Marine Fisheries.
Hopefully, your trip will yield enough bites that releasing the fish is the norm. The winter bluefin stocks that North Carolina anglers are encountering are in good shape. With any luck, it will remain this way, and this fishery can keep showing up year after year to give recreational anglers the thrill of a lifetime.