The Blueline Tilefish, Caulolatilus microps, is a member of the Tilefish or Malacanthidae Family, which is also known as the Gray Tilefish and in Mexico as blanquillo Lucio. Globally, there are ten species in the genus Caulolatilus, of which seven are found in Mexican waters, five in the Atlantic, and two in the Pacific Ocean.
The Blueline Tilefish have robust rectangular-shaped bodies with a uniform depth throughout their length that is 25 to 30% of standard length. They are gray-brown with a black ridge along their nape, a turquoise snout, and a narrow gold stripe under their eyes. They also have a broad oblique bar that runs from under the rear edge of their eye to the center of their mouth.
Biological Characteristics: Blueline Tilefish are dull-olive grey fish gradually turning white moving toward their underside. They lack a fleshy structure behind their head which visually separates them from the popular Golden Tilefish. Blueline Tilefish have a long snout, a narrow gold stripe underlined in fluorescent blue from the snout to the tip of the eye, and a strong flat spine on their gill cover. They also have an elongated, continuous dorsal and anal fin that is roughly half the length of the body. Males tend to be larger than females and can grow up to 32 inches long and live for up to 15 years.
Their gill covers are yellow. Their anal fin is white with a central dark stripe; their caudal fin has several vertical rows of yellow spots; and their dorsal fin has gray membranes, indistinct yellow areas, and a wide yellow margin.
They have a relatively deep head with a steep rounded profile, small eyes, a small terminal mouth that does not reach the eyes, and serrated gill covers with a short blunt spine. Their anal fin has 2 spines and 21 to 24 rays and along the base; their caudal fin is straight to slightly concave, and their dorsal fin has 7 or 8 spines and 24 to 27 rays and a long base. They have 21 to 27-gill rakers. Their body is covered with rough scales.
Blueline tilefish are found Maine to Campeche, Mexico on the outer continental shelves, shelf breaks, and upper slopes. The blueline tilefish fishery in the Greater Atlantic Region of the U.S. is managed from Maine through Virginia, with the majority of the fishery concentrated between Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, south to Cape May, New Jersey; more specifically between Hudson and Veatch Canyons.
The commercial fishery predominantly uses longline gear, although handline, rod and reel, and trawl gear are also authorized. The recreational fishery has no gear restrictions, but rod and reel, and spear are the most common gears used based on the authorized possession limits. Market data is not yet available for the Mid-Atlantic blueline tilefish fishery north of the VA/NC border.
U.S. wild-caught blueline tilefish is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations. Implementing regulations are found at 50 CFR part 648 subpart N