Key Messages:

NOAA Fisheries announces the implementation of the final rule for Framework Amendment 12 under the Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region.  This rule modifies the Gulf of Mexico migratory group king mackerel gillnet component fishing season.

When Will the Rule Take Effect:

Regulations become effective October 10, 2023.

What This Means:

  • Framework Amendment 12 and the rule:
    • Removes the weekend and holiday closure for the gillnet component for the Gulf of Mexico migratory group king mackerel, and
    • Retains the fishing season start date the Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

 Formal Federal Register Name/Number:  88 FR 61475, published September 7, 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of modifying the gillnet component fishing season?

  • While most fleets would want to extend their fishing season, the objective of the gillnet component is to complete its fishing season as quickly and efficiently as possible, so that those vessels may then resume fishing for stone crab and spiny lobster.
  • The current seasonal closure limits the time available to fish due to how the gillnet component is prosecuted and lengthy offload times.
  • Due to the current and demonstrably effective working relationship between NOAA Fisheries and the gillnet component participants, and the post-season accountability measure, these fishermen have requested the removal of the subsequent weekend and observed federal holiday closures after the fishing season opens on the Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in January.
  • The post-season accountability measure deducts any overage of the gillnet quota from the following year’s quota and provides an incentive for gillnet component participants to not exceed the quota.

Why is the gillnet component fishing season being modified?

  • The removal of the weekend and holiday closures would allow the gillnet component to be more efficient by allowing participants to harvest the gillnet quota as quickly as possible and return to harvesting other species.
  • The fishing season weekend closures were intended to prevent large gillnet quota overages. However, for the last ten years, the gillnet fleet has cooperated with NOAA Fisheries and voluntarily stopped fishing when they are close to landing the quota.  They then wait for NOAA Fisheries to inform them if they can continue fishing or if the fishing season will be closing.
  • Due to the low number of participants in the gillnet component, their practice has been successful and it is expected to continue.

Where can I find more information on Framework Amendment 12?

  • Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office.

By Mail: Kelli O’Donnell

NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

Sustainable Fisheries Division

263 13th Avenue South

St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

By FAX: (727) 824-5308

By Phone: (727) 824-5305