Gulf Stock Characteristics

SEDAR 33, 2014

Natural mortality rate (M): 0.28/year (max. age of 15 years)

Reproductive maturity:  50% of females are mature at ~35 inches (90 cm) fork length (FL); age 4

Maximum observed age: 15 years

Maximum weight:  178 lbs (80.6 kg) whole weight

Maximum length:  58 inches (147.4 cm) FL

Discard mortality:  20% for both sectors

Current Federal Regulations:

Quota:

Stock ACL – 1,794,000 pounds

Recreational ACL – 1,309,620 pounds

Recreational ACT – 1,086,985 pounds

Commercial ACL –  484,380 pounds

Commercial ACT –  421,411 pounds

Allocation:

27% commercial, 73% recreational

Fishing Year:

Recreational Sector:  August 1 through July 31

Commercial Sector:  January 1 through December 31

Recreational:

  • Fishing season: Open August 1 – October 31 and May 1 – May 31. If landings reach recreational ACT, harvest will be prohibited for the remainder of the fishing year. Note that the recreational fishing year begins August 1 and runs through the following July 31.
  • Minimum Size Limit: 34 inches fork length
  • Bag Limit: 1 per person. Captain and crew of for-hire vessels may not retain a bag limit.
  • Permit/License: State issued recreational license or Federal charter/headboat permit for reef fish
  • Gear: Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits. At least one dehooking device is required and must be used to remove hooks.

Commercial:

  • Season: Open January-February and June-December. If commercial landings reach the ACT the season will be closed for the remainder of the fishing year.
  • Minimum Size Limit: 36 inches fork length
  • Trip Limit: 1,500 pounds gutted weight or 1,560 pounds whole weight
  • Permit:  Commercial vessel permit for reef fish is required. Additionally, an eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement required to use bottom longline for Gulf reef fish in the federal waters east of 85°30′ longitude.
  • Gear: Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits. At least one dehooking device is required and must be used to remove hooks.

Description:

Greater amberjack are a member of the jack family (Carangidae).  They are typically a silvery-blue, with yellow shading along the lateral line, and a dark brown diagonal band through the eye.  Their tail is deeply forked.  The Gulf of Mexico stock is thought to be distinct from the Atlantic.  Greater amberjack are a reef-associated species typically caught between depths of 59 to 236 ft (18 and 72 m).  Greater amberjack in the Gulf are presently considered overfished and experiencing overfishing (SEDAR 33 2014)

Life History and Distribution:

Greater amberjack are found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea in temperate to tropical waters.  Females grow to larger maximum sizes than males.  Peak spawning occurs in March and April in the Gulf.  After a brief pelagic stage, newly hatched larva and small juveniles often associate with floating Sargassum.  Larger juveniles shift to demersal habitats, where they congregate around reefs, rocky outcrops, and wrecks.  Adult greater amberjack are found on both artificial and natural reefs (SEDAR 33, 2014).

Landings Summary