King mackerel hook-and-line fishing prohibited in southern Florida

28 Mar 2011

Commercial fishing for Gulf group king mackerel in the southern Florida west coast subzone is closed from 23 March 2011, for commercial hook-and-line vessels.

NOAA Fisheries Service has determined the 2010/2011 commercial quota of 520,312 pounds of king mackerel from this subzone has been reached. The closure will remain in effect through the end of the fishing year, 30 June 2011.

From 1 November-31 March, the southern subzone is that part of the Florida west coast subzone off Collier and Monroe Counties, Florida. This is the area south and west from 25° 20.4' N. lat. (a line directly east from the Miami-Dade/Monroe County boundary on the east coast of Florida) to 26° 19.8' N. lat. (a line directly west from the Lee/ Collier County boundary on the west coast of Florida).

Beginning 1 April, the boundary between Atlantic and Gulf groups of king mackerel shifts south and west from the Flagler/Volusia County boundary on the Florida east coast to the Monroe/Collier County boundary on the Florida west coast. Therefore, beginning 1 April, the closed southern subzone is reduced to the area off Collier County, Florida, between 25° 48' N. lat. and 26° 19.8' N. lat., and Monroe County re-opens to commercial king mackerel fishing for Atlantic group king mackerel.

Closure of the commercial king mackerel sector in the Gulf of Mexico southern Florida west coast subzone complies with regulations implemented under the Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. The closure is necessary to protect the Gulf group king mackerel resource. In cooperative actions, the state of Florida will close commercial harvest of king mackerel concurrently in adjoining state waters.

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.

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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