Commercial harvest of blueline tilefish in federal waters of the South Atlantic will close at 12:01 a.m. (local time) June 1, 2016. The 2016 commercial annual catch limit is 26,766 pounds whole weight. Updated landings data indicate that commercial harvest of blueline tilefish will likely reach the annual catch limit by that date. As a result, commercial harvest will be closed in federal waters of the South Atlantic.
The operator of a vessel that has been issued a valid federal commercial permit for snapper-grouper and having blueline tilefish on board must have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such blueline tilefish prior to 12:01 a.m., local time,
June 1, 2016. The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to sale or purchase of blueline tilefish that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m. (local time) June 1, 2016, and held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.
During the closure:
Sale or purchase of blueline tilefish in or from federal waters in the South Atlantic is prohibited.
Harvest or possession of blueline tilefish in or from federal waters in the South Atlantic is limited to the recreational bag and possession limits when the recreational sector is open.
These bag and possession limits apply in the South Atlantic on board a vessel for which a valid federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper grouper has been issued without regard to where such species were harvested, i.e., in state or federal waters.
Note: The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has approved an action in Regulatory Amendment 25 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Regulatory Amendment 25) to increase the 2016 commercial annual catch limit for blueline tilefish from 26,766 pounds whole weight to 87,521 pounds whole weight. The proposed rule is currently under review. If approved, regulations increasing the commercial annual catch limit for blueline tilefish could be implemented later this year, and the commercial fishery would reopen.
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