NOAA Sustainable Fisheries Division Gulf of Mexico Branch, together with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, manages fisheries in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Federal waters begin where state waters end and extend 200 miles into the Gulf of Mexico.
A state may regulate vessels that are registered in that state and fishing in federal waters for species that do not have a federal fishery management plan or applicable federal regulations, or for which the appropriate fishery management plan has delegated management to the state and the state rules are consistent with federal regulations. Federally permitted for-hire reef fish vessels must comply with the more restrictive of federal or state reef fish regulations when fishing for reef fish in state waters.
- Code of Federal Regulations 50 CFR 622
- Recreational and Commercial Fishing Regulations
- Current Fishing Seasons and Closures
- Allowable Gear
- No permit or license is required for recreational fishing in federal waters. Anglers are responsible for abiding by all federal and state fishing regulations and obtaining any state license required.
- A fishery may close when the quota or annual catch limit is projected to be reached.
Stay up to date on fishery announcements and closures:
- Sign up for e-mail bulletins at http://bit.ly/HQDUEU.
- To receive important fishery related alerts via text message, including immediate fishery openings and closures, and significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly, opt-in for one or more of the following groups. Standard message & data rates may apply. You may opt-out at any time.
- Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries: Text GULFRECFISH to 888777
- Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries: Text GULFCOMMFISH to 888777