We have been asked by the Northeast high-volume bluefin tuna fish dealers to post the following urgent message:
The restaurant industry and the wholesale fish business in the U.S., in Japan and throughout the world has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a huge problem for all U.S. fishermen and fish dealers for the foreseeable future for every species of fish including bluefin tuna.
The pandemic has also resulted in a dramatic reduction in cargo and passenger flights to all destinations including Japan and this is guaranteed to significantly affect the volume of bluefin exports to Japan. Further, at this time, our bluefin quality is generally very poor.
As we are approaching the period in which commercial rod and reel fishermen become active, it is extremely important for all commercial bluefin fishermen to understand how our businesses will need to operate:
1. It is impossible for the below named bluefin dealers to accept all commercial bluefin catch on those days in which they are open and picking up fish. Landings of bluefin will have to be dramatically reduced because of the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic and international bluefin markets.
2. CLOSED DAYS:
The below named fish dealers will not accept or pick up any catch on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This provision will begin immediately and will continue until further notice.
3. THURSDAY JULY 16:
No commercial rod and reel catch will be picked up until Thursday July 16. The fish dealers will accept catch from a limited number of commercial rod and reel fishermen on Thursday, July 16, 2020.
Fishermen need to determine before leaving the dock if their fish dealer is prepared to take their catch on Thursday. It is important to keep in mind that Friday July 17 and Saturday July 18 are CLOSED DAYS. Thursday’s fish will be evaluated by the dealers for quality and marketing purposes after which time the dealers will advise if they are able or not able to pick up/receive fish on 19-21 July.
4. THURSDAY JULY 23:
In any case, unless advised otherwise and barring any unforeseen circumstances, the dealers will commence in receiving a limited number of commercial rod and reel caught fish beginning on Thursday July 23, always respecting CLOSED DAYS.
Each dealer will decide individually how many fish they are prepared to pick up. Do not assume that if your dealer took a fish from you a few days ago that he will take a fish from you today. If you have not checked in with your dealer prior to going fishing, your fish will not be picked up. Again, stay in touch with your dealer before going fishing.
5. The fish dealers will be rejecting sick, emaciated and poor quality bluefin tuna. Bluefin that are improperly handled and unchilled will be rejected, as well.
6. Government regulations require that all commercial bluefin tuna be tagged, weighed and reported by dealers to NMFS. Regulations also require that fishermen separately report their catch directly to NMFS.
Any fish not tagged and reported by a Federally-licensed HMS fish dealer according to regulations is considered illegal. The fish dealers will only weigh, tag and report the fish that they will take in from the fishermen.
Compass Seafood LLC
Sea Fresh USA, Inc.
Wild Fish Inc. (Red’s Best)
North Atlantic Traders Ltd.