The commercial longline component for golden tilefish in South Atlantic federal waters will reopen for 11 days beginning on March 20, 2021. Commercial harvest for the longline component will reopen at 12:01 a.m., local time, on March 20, 2021, and close at 12:01 a.m., local time, on March 31, 2021. During the 11-day reopening, the commercial trip limit for the commercial longline component for golden tilefish is 4,000 pounds gutted weight or 4,480 pounds whole weight.
WHY THIS REOPENING IS HAPPENING:
The 2021 golden tilefish commercial catch limit for the longline component is 248,805 pounds gutted weight. On February 10, 2021, the catch limit for the commercial longline component for the 2021 season was projected to be met, and NOAA Fisheries closed the season. However, a subsequent landings update indicates that the golden tilefish longline component catch limit has not been met, and reopening will allow the commercial longline component to reach its catch limit.
AFTER THE REOPENING AND SUBSEQUENT CLOSURE:
- Only golden tilefish longline endorsement holders are allowed to harvest golden tilefish with longline fishing gear.
- Golden tilefish harvested with longline fishing gear may not be sold or purchased after the closure. The prohibition on sale or purchase during the subsequent closure does not apply to fish that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, on March 31, 2021, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.
- During the longline closure, a vessel with a golden tilefish longline endorsement may not commercially harvest golden tilefish using hook-and-line fishing gear, and is limited to the golden tilefish recreational bag and possession limits when the recreational sector is open, without regard to where the golden tilefish was harvested (i.e. in state or federal waters).
- A vessel that does not have a longline endorsement, but has a commercial South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited permit, may commercially harvest golden tilefish with hook-and-line fishing gear until the hook-and-line catch limit is reached.
- The 2022 fishing season for the golden tilefish commercial longline sector opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on January 1, 2022.
This bulletin provides only a summary of the existing regulations. Full regulations can be found in the Federal Register or at https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=383bc195ccbeab4fd6bec1c24905df34&node=sp50.12.622.i&rgn=div6#_top.
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