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:


  • Fishing season: Closed from November 1 through April 30, and from June 1 through July 31. Open May and August 1 through October 31
  • Size Limit: Minimum size limit is 34 inches fork length
    • Size-limit fish weigh about 19 pounds (8.8 kg)
  • Bag Limit: 1 fish per person, within the 20 reef fish per person aggregate bag limit


  • Quota: 349,766 pounds whole weight
  • Season: Closed March 1 through May 31
  • Size Limit: Minimum size limit is 36 inches fork length
  • Trip Limit: 1,500 pounds gutted weight – 1,560 pounds whole weight


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