King mackerel fishing closed in northern Florida west coast subzone

11 Apr 2011

Harvest of king mackerel is now prohibited for commercial vessels fishing in the northern Florida west coast subzone.

NOAA Fisheries Service has determined the 2010/2011 commercial quota of 168,750 pounds of king mackerel from this subzone has been reached. The closure will remain in effect through to the end of the fishing year - 30 June 2011.

The northern Florida west coast subzone is located in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico north of 26°19.8' N lat. (a line directly west from the Lee/Collier County, Florida boundary) and east of 87°31.1' W long. (a line directly south from the Alabama/Florida boundary).

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 Gulf group king mackerel in federal waters of the closed subzone. There is one exception, however, for a person aboard a charter vessel or headboat. A person aboard a vessel that has a valid charter/headboat permit and also has a commercial king mackerel permit for coastal migratory pelagic fish may continue to retain king mackerel in or from the closed subzone under the two-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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