FISHERY BULLETIN ISSUE DATE: February 22, 2017
CONTACT: Kelli O'Donnell, 727-824-5305, Kelli.ODonnel@noaa.gov
Commercial Hook-and-Line Harvest of King Mackerel in Federal Waters of the Florida West Coast Southern Subzone Will Close on February 25, 2017
Commercial hook-and-line harvest of king mackerel in federal waters of the Florida West Coast Southern Subzone will close on February 25, 2017.
Commercial hook-and-line harvest will reopen at 6:00 a.m. (local time) on July 1, 2017.
From November 1 through March 31, the southern subzone is that part of federal waters off Collier and Monroe Counties, Florida. Beginning April 1, the southern subzone is reduced to the area off Collier County, Florida. See maps below.
WHY THIS CLOSURE IS HAPPENING:
The 2016/2017 commercial hook-and line quota is 551,448 pounds. Updated landings data indicate that commercial hook-and-line harvest of king mackerel will reach the quota by February 25, 2017.
As a result, commercial hook-and-line harvest will close in federal waters of the Southern Florida West Coast Subzone.
DURING THE CLOSURE:
No commercial hook-and-line fisherman may fish for or keep king mackerel in or from the closed zone after 12:01 p.m. on February 25, 2017.
There is an exception for people aboard a vessel that has a charter/headboat permit for coastal migratory pelagic fish and a commercial king mackerel permit. Those people may keep the 2-fish per person daily king mackerel bag limit from the closed zone if the vessel is operating as a charter vessel or headboat.
Vessels are considered to be operating as a charter vessel or headboat when they carry a passenger who pays a fee or when more than three people are aboard, including operator and crew.
The gillnet component of the fishery in this subzone closed on February 10, 2017; therefore, no king mackerel caught in this closed subzone may be purchased, bartered, traded, or sold.
Sale or purchase of any harvested king mackerel in or from federal waters in the Florida West Coast Southern Subzone is prohibited.
The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to trade in hook-and-line king mackerel that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold before 12:01 p.m., February 25, 2017, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.