The commercial harvest of Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel northern zone in federal waters will close at 12:01 a.m., local time, on November 7, 2017. The northern zone for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel includes federal waters off New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. During the commercial closure, harvest or possession of Spanish mackerel in or from the northern zone federal waters is limited to the recreational bag and possession limits while the recreational sector is open.
Why This Closure is Happening:
- Originally, the 2017/2018 commercial quota for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel northern zone was 662,670 pounds. However, regulations allow for quota transfers between the northern and southern zones with the approval from the Regional Administrator of NOAA Fisheries to allow the commercial quota for both zones to be fully harvested. 100,000 pounds of Spanish mackerel were transferred from the southern zone quota to the northern zone quota. Therefore, the revised quotas are 2,567,330 pounds for the southern zone and 762,670 pounds for the northern zone.
- Commercial landings are projected to reach the revised commercial quota for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel northern zone. According to the accountability measure, harvest must close to prevent the quota from being exceeded.
During the Closure:
- The prohibition on sale or purchase during a closure for Spanish mackerel does not apply to fish that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, November 7, 2017, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.
- During the closure, a person on board a vessel that has been issued a valid Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for coastal migratory pelagic fish may continue to retain Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel in the northern zone under the recreational bag and possession limits, as long as the recreational sector for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel is open.
- Commercial harvest for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel northern zone will re-open on March 1, 2018.
This bulletin provides only a summary of the existing regulations. Full regulations can be found in the Federal Register.
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