It appears that recreational anglers in NC are also seeing a decline.
Jenkins provided the number of yellowfin tuna landed or released in Governor's Cup tournaments over the last 10 years and the data reveals a disturbing downward trend in recent years.
In 2003, 251 yellowfin tuna were either landed or released in the five Governor's Cup events. Since, the numbers have dropped to 52 in 2004, 22 in 2005, 52 in 2006 and 12 in 2007 before this year's total absence of fish through three tournaments.
The trend also has been noticed in North Carolina. In the 50th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament on June 7-14 out of Morehead City, N.C. - during what is traditionally prime yellowfin tuna fishing time - 176 boats competed for five days and a lone yellowfin was brought to the dock.
"We've had slim years but we've never had none [caught] before, at least not in recent history," said Crystal Watters, tournament director of The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.