- 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 March 4, 2020.
- Commercial hook-and-line harvest will reopen at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 1, 2020.
WHY THIS CLOSURE IS HAPPENING:
- The 2019/2020 commercial hook-and-line quota for the Gulf Southern zone is 575,400 pounds.
- Updated landings data indicate that commercial hook-and-line harvest of king mackerel in this zone is approaching the quota.
- In accordance with the regulations NOAA Fisheries is required to close harvest for a species when the quota has been met or is projected to be met. This closure is needed to prevent overfishing (too many fish being harvested).
DURING THE CLOSURE:
- No commercial hook-and-line fisherman may keep for sale king mackerel in or from the closed zone after 12:01 a.m., local time, on March 4, 2020.
- The Southern Zone gillnet component closed on February 25, 2020.
- Therefore no king mackerel caught in this zone may be purchased, bartered, traded, or sold after 12:01 a.m., local time, on March 4, 2020.
- 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, March 4, 2020, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.
- Persons aboard commercial vessels with a federal king mackerel permit may fish for and retain the recreational bag and possession limit of king mackerel during the open recreational season, even if commercial fishing for this species is closed in this zone or others.
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Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707
Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750