Florida closed to King Mackerel harvest

25 Feb 2011

The commercial sector harvesting Gulf group king mackerel in the Florida east coast subzone is closed, effective 12:01am (local time) 26 February 2011, until 31 March 2011.

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service has determined the 2010/2011 commercial quota of 1,040,625 pounds of king mackerel from this zone will be reached by this date. With this action, the Gulf group king mackerel commercial sector is closed in federal waters from the Flagler/Volusia County line to the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line in Florida until 1 April 2011.

Beginning 1 April, the boundary between Atlantic and Gulf groups of king mackerel shifts south and west to the Monroe/Collier County boundary on the Florida west coast. From 1 April-31 October, fish harvested along east coast of Florida, including all of Monroe County, are considered to be Atlantic group king mackerel.

During the closure period, no person aboard a vessel for which a commercial permit for king mackerel has been issued may fish for or retain king mackerel in or from federal waters of the closed subzone. There is one exception for a person aboard a charter vessel or headboat. A person aboard a vessel that has a valid charter/headboat permit for coastal migratory pelagic fish and a commercial king mackerel permit may continue to retain king mackerel in or from the closed subzone under the 2-fish daily bag limit, provided the vessel is operating as a charter vessel or headboat. Charter vessels or headboats that hold a commercial king mackerel permit 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 persons are aboard, including operator and crew.

During the closure, no king mackerel caught in the closed subzone may be purchased, bartered, traded, or sold. This includes recreational and tournament-caught fish. The prohibition of sale, however, does not apply to trade in king mackerel that were harvested, landed ashore and bartered, traded, or sold before the closure and held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.

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