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Extension of an Interim Rule to Reduce Golden Tilefish Catch Limits in Federal Waters of the South Atlantic Region

June 18, 2018

FB18-042 South Atlantic Fishery Bulletin; For More Information, Contact: Mary Vara, (727) 824-5305, mary.vara@noaa.gov


  • In response to a request from the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, NOAA Fisheries published a final interim rule on January 2, 2018, which temporarily reduces golden tilefish catch limits through July 1, 2018. The purpose of the action is to reduce overfishing (rate of removal is too high) of golden tilefish, based on the most recent population assessment, while management measures are being developed to end overfishing.  NOAA Fisheries is extending the interim measures for an additional 186 days beginning July 2, 2018.  The interim measures will remain in effect through January 3, 2019.
  • The commercial longline component for golden tilefish in federal waters of the South Atlantic closed on March 25, 2018, as landings reached the temporary 2018 commercial catch limit for the longline component. As a reminder, the commercial longline component will open on January 1, 2019. 



  • The final interim rule temporarily reduced the total catch limit for golden tilefish from 558,036 to 323,000 pounds gutted weight. Using the existing allocations, the temporary catch limits are 313,310 pounds gutted weight for the commercial sector and 2,187 fish for the recreational sector.  For commercial fishermen, the hook-and-line catch limit is 78,328 pounds gutted weight and the longline catch limit is 234,982 pounds gutted weight.
  • The interim measures are being extended for an additional 186 days while the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council develops Regulatory Amendment 28 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery in the South Atlantic Region (Regulatory Amendment 28).

This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.  



Why is the temporary reduction in the catch limit needed? 

  • In April 2016, a population assessment update for golden tilefish was completed using data through 2014 (SEDAR 25 Update 2016). The updated assessment indicated that the golden tilefish population is undergoing overfishing but is not overfished (population abundance is too low). 
  • As mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries must end overfishing of golden tilefish.
  • These temporary regulations reduce overfishing of golden tilefish while long-term management measures are developed in Regulatory Amendment 28 to end overfishing.


What are the actions in the interim rule extension? 

  • To continue a temporary revision to the commercial and recreational catch limits for golden tilefish (See Table 1 below). 


Table 1. Commercial and recreational catch limits for golden tilefish.

Total catch limit

Commercial catch limit

Commercial Hook-and-Line catch limit

Commercial Longline catch limit

Recreational catch limit

(pounds gutted weight)

(pounds gutted weight)

(pounds gutted weight)

(pounds gutted weight)

(numbers of fish)**






**An average weight conversion factor of 4.43 pounds gutted weight was used for converting the recreational catch limit into numbers of fish. 


Where can I find more information on the environmental assessment and the interim rule extension?

  • Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

By Mail: Mary Vara

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


NOAA's Text Message Alert Program allows you to receive important fishery related alerts via text message (SMS).  Standard message & data rates may apply. You may opt-out at any time.

Text alerts you may receive include:

  • Immediate fishery openings and closures
  • Any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly

Sign up for one or more of the following groups:

  • Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFRECFISH to 888777
  • Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFCOMMFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLRECFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLCOMMFISH to 888777
  • Caribbean Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text CARIBFISH to 888777


Other contacts:
Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707
           Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750 


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Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on May 10, 2021