FISHERY BULLETIN ISSUE DATE: February 16, 2018
CONTACT: Kelli O’Donnell, 727-824-5305, [email protected]
Commercial Hook-and-Line Harvest of King Mackerel in Federal Waters of the Gulf of Mexico Southern Zone Will Close on February 20, 2018
Commercial hook-and-line harvest of king mackerel in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Southern Zone (depicted in map below) will close at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on February 20, 2018. Commercial hook-and-line harvest will reopen at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on July 1, 2018.
WHY THIS CLOSURE IS HAPPENING:
- The 2017/2018 commercial hook-and-line quota for the Gulf Southern zone is 596,400 pounds. Updated landings data indicate that commercial hook-and-line harvest of king mackerel will reach the quota by February 20, 2018.
- As a result, commercial hook-and-line harvest will close in federal waters of the Gulf Southern Zone.
- In accordance with the regulations NOAA Fisheries is required to close a fishery when the quota has been met. This closure is needed to prevent overfishing.
DURING THE CLOSURE:
- No commercial hook-and-line fisherman may fish for or keep king mackerel in or from the closed zoneafter 12:01 a.m. on February 20, 2018.
- There is an exception for people aboard a vessel that has a charter/headboat permit for coastal migratory pelagic fish and a commercial king mackerel permit. Those people may keep, but not sell, the 3-fish per person daily king mackerel bag limit from the closed zone if the vessel is operating as a charter vessel or headboat.
- Vessels are considered to be operating as a charter vessel or headboat when they carry a passenger who pays a fee or when more than three people are aboard, including operator and crew.
- The gillnet component of the fishery remains open in this zone at this time. Therefore only king mackerel caught by gillnet in this zone may be purchased, bartered, traded, or sold after 12:01 a.m (local time) on February 20,2018.
- The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to trade in hook-and-line king mackerel that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold before 12:01 a.m. (local time), February 20, 2018, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.