NOAA Fisheries Announces the Opening of the Western, Northern, and Southern (Gillnet component) Zones to Commercial King Mackerel Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico on May 11, 2017

May 03, 2017

FB17-025 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin; For More Information, Contact: Kelli O'Donnell, 727-824-5305, Kelli.ODonnell@NOAA.gov

640x427-king-mackerel.png

Key Message:

NOAA Fisheries announces the re-opening of the western, northern, and southern (gillnet component only) Gulf of Mexico zones to commercial king mackerel fishing at 12:01 a.m. local time, May 11, 2017.  NOAA Fisheries will publish a closure notice for each zone when the respective quota is projected to be reached.

Why This Re-Opening is Happening:

  • A final rule effective on May 11, 2017, increases the quota for each zone in the Gulf of Mexico. 
  • The western, northern, and southern zones are currently closed because landings reached the old quotas.
  • The increase in the quotas allows additional harvest for the 2016/2017 fishing year, thus NOAA Fisheries is re-opening the zones in the Gulf of Mexico which have available remaining quota to commercial king mackerel fishing.
  • The landings for the southern zone hook-and-line component exceeded the original quota and are at 100 percent of the new quota; thus, only the western, northern, and southern (gillnet component only) zones will re-open.  
  • Beginning May 11, hook-and-line fishing will be prohibited in the Florida Keys, which will now be part of the southern zone in the Gulf year round, and thus is subject to the Gulf of Mexico southern zone hook-and-line component closure. 
  • Additional quota information for the 2016/2017 season is as follows:
 

Pounds landed

Old quota

Old quota %

New quota

New quota %

Pounds left

Western

1,114,278

1,071,360

104.00

1,180,000

94.43

65,722

Northern

289,641

178,848

161.95

531,000

54.55

241,359

Southern Hook and Line

619,544

551,448

112.35

619,500

100.01

0

Southern Gillnet

534,892

551,448

97.00

619,500

86.34

84,608


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

Where are the zones that will re-open?

  • Please see the map below.
map-Gulf-SCAVA-closure-1-SERO.jpg

 

Why aren’t all of the zones re-opening?

  • Zones are only re-opening if there is sufficient available quota to harvest
  • NOAA Fisheries determined that the southern zone hook-and-line component does not have sufficient quota available to allow for a re-opening and a timely closure to prevent exceeding their quota.
  • Therefore, the southern zone hook and line sector will not be re-opening for the 2016/2017 fishing year when the final rule becomes effective May 11.
  • Because the Florida Keys will now be part of the southern zone in the Gulf year-round, harvest of hook-and-line fishing there for king mackerel is prohibited when the southern zone is closed.

What will the quotas be in later fishing years?

  • Quota for years up to the 2019/2020 fishing years are listed below.

Year

Western

Northern

Southern Hook and Line

Southern Gillnet

2016/2017

1,180,000

531,000

619,500

619,500

2017/2018

1,136,000

511,200

596,400

596,400

2018/2019

1,116,000

502,200

585,900

585,900

2019/2020

1,096,000

493,200

575,400

575,400

What is the status of the king mackerel population in the Gulf of Mexico?

  • A 2014 assessment determined that the Gulf of Mexico king mackerel population is not undergoing overfishing (too many fish being harvested) nor is it considered to be overfished (too few fish).
  • The assessment indicates that catch levels for the population can be increased.

Related Links and Information can be found on the NOAA Fisheries Website.


SIGN UP FOR TEXT MESSAGE ALERTS - FIND OUT ABOUT IMMEDIATE OPENINGS AND CLOSURES

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