Halifax Tuna Tournament Society

HNSITT Fishing Rules are outlined below and any final updates will be provided at the registration and Captain’s Meeting.

Covid 19 modifications update:

For the 2022 tournament generally the rules below will apply with a few necessary modifications. 

  • All reference to the Bishops Landing tournament venue are deleted.
  • The requirement to check in with the Tournament Committee volunteers is waived although hail in/out requirements per DFO guidelines must be maintained.
  • The 8 am shotgun start on day one is cancelled and teams may leave the dock any time after 6 am on day one.

Tournament Rules:

All fishing team and boat crew must adhere to the DFO license rules and regulations throughout the tournament as specified in the linked document below.  Under all circumstances standard DFO tuna fishing conditions, reporting and monitoring requirements will apply as defined in the Recreational Bluefin Tuna Fishing License rules.  All anglers are responsible for reviewing and adhering to the conditions specified in the license.  Copies of the final 2022 DFO license regulations will be provided during registration and must be present on board your vessel during any fishing periods.


LINK TO DFO RULES 2014 EXAMPLE:     334136 – Halifax Int’l Tuna Tournament (Amendment)

In addition to the fishing conditions as specified in DFO’s license, the following rules apply:

New for 2019, Boat tracking devices.

All competing boats will use a small GPS tracking device which will transmit their position via cell phone signal to a web based map. The purpose of the tracking devices is to show where all boats are in real time and to ensure that all rules are followed with regards to boundaries of the fishing zone and proximity to set gear and herring fleet.

It is the responsibility of each captain to properly mount the device (the size of a deck of cards) in view of the GPS satellites. The tracker has its own battery which should not need charging during the tournament. There is no charge for the device as long as it is returned at the end of the tournament.

All captains will be given a web log in so that they can view their position on the map as well as all other boats. Your smart phone or iPad with Sim card can be used to view the map. In this way all boats are equally able to view the position of the rest of the fleet. Your smart phone can also be used to verify that you are visible on the map and that your tracker is positioned correctly on your boat. Note that you will need a cellular data plan on your smart phone to view the map.

New for 2019

  • In addition to the fishing boundaries set out in the DFO License Conditions the Tournament Committee has decided to set a Tournament Boundary eastern limit at Yankee Bank, 63°09′ West.
  • A limit of 1 nautical mile is to be maintained from any fixed fishing gear (including the herring fleet setups).  This is extended from the 1/2 nm. restriction outlined in the DFO License.  Violation of this condition will result in disqualification of any tuna caught for team tournament standing purposes.

New for 2022

  • Note: DFO License Conditions for the Tournament will include a Ban on Steel Leaders to protect the White Shark endangered species population.


Note: This is an “All Tackle” tournament with no restriction on fishing line weights, however, power assisted reels will not be allowed.

  1. Maximum six anglers per boat each day, plus boat captain and mate if required.
  2. At the start of each day every boat must depart from Bishops Landing, or their alternate moorage location within the Halifax/Dartmouth/Bedford regional area. All boats must contact the committee (volunteers at Bishop’s Landing) at nominally 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. to inform them of their fishing status, and also once they are secured at their berth at the end of each day.
  3. No hi-grading or cutting off fish in order to continue fishing.
  4. No passing of anything between boats.
  5. No aircraft spotting or guidance.
  6. 8:00 am shot gun start on day 1 off the Bishop’s Landing dock (CANCELLED), all other days teams are permitted to leave Bishops Landing or, their alternate moorage location within the Halifax/Dartmouth/Bedford regional area at 6 am. Lines out at 4 pm.
  7. Final Day fish must be in at the dock by 4:00 pm if they are to count towards tournament points. Fish landed later will still be accepted for IWK Hospital donation.
  8. In order to allow ALL teams a fair opportunity to catch a tuna, teams that have caught their first fish may be allowed to continue fishing on subsequent days depending on the catch rate as outlined in the Second Fish Rules (see example below).
  9. The tournament ends on the last posted tournament day, or when all 10 tags have been landed. All teams may be allowed to fish through an extended date period subject to DFO agreement (to be confirmed) or until all ten tuna tags have been filled, to maximize our donation to the IWK children’s hospital.
  10. First place is awarded to the team registering the single heaviest fish regardless of catch order.  The Wayne Hoskin First Fish trophy will be awarded to the first fish secured alongside by official time reported per the ACD call in requirements to allow properly cooling/swimming of the fish for quality.
  11. In addition to hail requirements with the data monitoring company (ACD), hook-up’s and landed fish are to be called in to the committee via cellular phone (contact #).
  12. Once the 10th fish is landed the tournament is over (unless additional quota is secured).
  13. Once the 10th fish is landed, a message will be broadcast on channel (TBD) and/or by cell phone for all anglers to cease fishing. In this event if anglers have a fish hooked, the line must be cut unless additional quota can be arranged (to be confirmed at Captain’s Meeting).  All teams are responsible for having clear communication between their vessel and the tournament committee (cellular phone and or VHF). Follow up calls will be made to each vessel. At least one number (cellular) must be left with the tournament committee.
  14. Teams and vessels are to provide proof of insurance during registration.

Reporting Rules Infractions

A fee of $200 is required to protest a single team.  This is a non-refundable fee and is required on a per protest basis.  Any team(s) wishing to launch a protest against any team(s) whom they feel has breached any rule or combination of rules may do so by doing the following:

  1. Submit in writing their intent to protest naming the team in question
  2. Include the $200 fee per protest
  3. Submit any form of evidence which a team feels is reasonable to support their claim
  4. The rules committee will review the evidence put forth and make a ruling prior to the final awards ceremony
  5. The team(s) who have launched the protest(s) and team(s) being protested will be informed of the final decision prior to the final awards.


Boats are to respect fellow competitors, at all times. Reasonable distance should be kept from all boats fighting fish. If requested by a boat fighting a fish, other boats shall keep clear until the fight has concluded.

The Halifax Nova Scotia International Tuna Tournament is a qualifying event for the following spring Offshore World Championship in Costa Rica.


Example Tag Allocations for Second-Fish Rule

Depending on the number of boats participating, and the rate that tuna are being caught, and recognising that there are only 10 tags for the tournament (unless additional quota is secured), a boat may be asked to stand-down for a maximum of three days during the 5 day tournament.  This request would only be made if the boat has already caught a tuna, and the cumulative number of tuna caught exceeds a threshold.

The second fish rules depend on the number of registered boats. An example for twelve registered boats is as follows:

    • At the end of the first day of fishing if three or less fish have been caught, tags will be issued to the successful teams to fish again on the second day.
    • At the end of the second day if a total of five or less fish have been caught, tags will be issued to the successful teams that have not yet caught their second fish, to fish again on the third day.
    • At the end of the third day if a total of seven or less fish have been caught, tags will be issued to the successful teams that have not yet caught their second fish, to fish again on the fourth day.
  • On the fifth day all registered boats will have tags to use as long as the tournament has not caught a total of ten fish.

Fishing stops immediately if the tenth fish is caught on any day.

Note the above rules can be modified by the Board of Directors if we have unfavourable weather conditions.