- Commercial hook-and-line harvest of king mackerel in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico Southern Zone (depicted in map below) will reopen for five days in April 2021. Commercial harvest will reopen at 12:01 a.m., local time, on April 4, 2021, and close at 12:01 a.m., local time, on April 9, 2021.
- Commercial hook-and-line harvest will reopen at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 1, 2021.
WHY THIS REOPENING IS HAPPENING:
- The 2020/2021 commercial hook-and-line quota for the Gulf of Mexico Southern Zone is 575,400 pounds.
- Updated landings data indicate approximately 50,562 pounds of the quota remain.
- Landings projections indicate that the remaining quota will be caught within five days of reopening the fishery.
DURING THE CLOSURE:
- After 12:01 a.m., local time, on April 9, 2021, no commercial hook-and-line fisherman may keep for sale king mackerel in or from the closed Southern Zone.
- The Southern Zone gillnet component closed on January 28, 2021.
- Therefore, no king mackerel caught in this zone may be purchased, bartered, traded, or sold after 12:01 a.m., local time, on April 9, 2021.
- The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to trade in hook-and-line king mackerel that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold between 12:01 a.m., local time, April 4, 2021 and 12:01 a.m., local time, April 9, 2021, 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.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why was the fishery closed on February 22, 2021?
- Original projections indicated that commercial harvest of king mackerel for the hook-and-line component in the Southern Zone would reach their quota by February 22, 2021.
- In accordance with regulations, NOAA Fisheries closed the fishery when the quota was projected to be met, in order to prevent overfishing. Overfishing is when the annual catch rate is too high.
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Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707
Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750