The daily retention limit is now three fish per vessel, per day, for large, medium or giant bluefin tuna (73 or more). Amid overfishing regulations, Carraro and Marciano said they had to maintain a quota of three fish each day. But some days, that fee is debatable, as Carraro told the magazine. Fishing directed to the east coast produces relatively small yields of school-age fish and medium-sized bluefin tuna, and recreational fishing makes up most of the catch.
Currently, commercial fisheries can catch and sell three large bluefin tuna per trip, while recreational fishermen can keep one bluefin tuna per day. Like Ice Road Truckers, The Pawn Shop or just about any other reality show ever made about a commercial business, the work drama rises to 11 for the sake of television. But while the impressive soundtrack, spectacular camera work and quick editing of Wicked Tuna provide good entertainment, they are not the perfect reflection of what life at sea is really like. In particular, a typical day for a commercial fisherman is nowhere near as exciting as the show entails.
While the series does a great job of conveying the most exciting aspects of catching fish, it eludes everyday reality. It is effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, which is designated as a bluefin tuna spawning area and where the NOAA Fisheries Agency does not allow selective fishing for bluefin tuna. The central premise of Wicked Tuna, of course, focuses on catching bluefin tuna, one of the most financially valuable creatures in the sea. Despite sympathizing with the trials and suffering of commercial fishermen, some critics have disagreed with the series' specific focus on bluefin tuna and have been raising that question since before the start of the series.
In part because fish is so expensive, the species is arguably endangered, as fishermen seek huge profits en masse and ignore the long-term consequences. Historically, commercial fishing has been a male-dominated field, but Wicked Tuna has strived to highlight female fishermen from the start. Captain Paul Hebert of Wicked Pissah also ended up on the wrong side of the law during his tenure at Wicked Tuna. For example, whether a vessel fishing below the General category limit makes a two-day trip or makes two trips in one day, the daily limit of three fish when disembarking cannot be exceeded.
Despite the enormous amounts of money circulating in this market, since caught fish reaches restaurants and is sold at a higher price than diners, not much of that ends up in the hands of evil tuna hunters. As National Geographic TV revealed in a press release for the second season of the series, bluefin tuna fishermen from Gloucester, Massachusetts. Further north, bluefin tuna feeds almost entirely on sandspears, and squid and other fish species make up a smaller portion of their diet. But their energy is considerably exhausted by the mere effort of being attentive, since a fish worth thousands of dollars can sting at any time, without warning, during the days and nights they are in the water.
Bluefin tuna from the western Atlantic is the target of tuna and swordfish fisheries along the east coast of the United States. NOAA fishing regulations with 50 CFR 635.21 (a) (require that all bluefin tuna released be handled in a way that maximizes survival and without removing the fish from the water).