Changes to the King Mackerel Fishery in the GOM and Atlantic

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KEY MESSAGE:
NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule implementing Amendment 26 to the Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagics in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic regions (Amendment 26).  Amendment 26 contains actions related to king mackerel in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region following review of the most recent population assessment.

FB17-021
Fishery Bulletin Issue Date: April 11, 2017
Contact: Karla Gore, 727-824-5305, [email protected]

WHEN RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:
The rule will take effect on May 11, 2017.

WHAT THIS RULE DOES:

  • Modifies the management boundary for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic migratory groups of king mackerel to create a year-round boundary at the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will be responsible for management measures in the mixing zone, which includes federal waters off the Florida Keys.
  • Revises reference points, the acceptable biological catch, annual catch limits, commercial quotas, and recreational annual catch targets for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel.  These updated annual catch limits and quotas are included below in Table 1.1.
  • Creates a limited incidental catch allowance for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel caught as bycatch in the shark gillnet fishery.  This rule allows for the harvest and sale of three king mackerel per crew member per trip from the Northern Zone and two king mackerel per crew member per trip from the Southern Zone, caught incidentally on shark gillnet trips.
  • Establishes a commercial split season for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel in the Atlantic Southern Zone.  This split season allocates 60% of the quota to Season One (March 1 – September 30) and 40% to Season Two (October 1 – the end of February).
  • Establishes a commercial trip limit system for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel in the Atlantic Southern Zone.  The commercial trip limit of 3,500 pounds remains in the area north of the Flagler/Volusia county line and remains in effect year-round when the fishery is open.  South of the Flagler/Volusia county line, the trip limit is 50 fish from March 1 – March 31.  After March 31, the trip limit increases to 75 fish for the remainder of Season One.  For Season Two, the trip limit is 50 fish, except that beginning on February 1, if less than 70 % of the Season Two quota has been landed, the trip limit will be 75 fish.
  • Increases the recreational bag limit for Gulf of Mexico migratory group king mackerel from two to three fish per person per day.
  • Revises the annual catch limits and commercial zone quotas for Gulf of Mexico migratory group king mackerel. These updated annual catch limits and quotas are included below in Table 1.1.

 

Table 1.1. 2016/2017 Quotas for King Mackerel (pounds) in Amendment 26

Commercial 

pounds

Gulf of Mexico Migratory Group 
Western Zone 1,231,360
Northern Zone 554,112
Southern Zone (hook-and-line) 646,464
Southern Zone (gillnet) 646,464
Atlantic Migratory Group 
Northern Zone (includes gillnets north of Cape Lookout, NC) 1,497,600
Southern Zone (Total) 5,002,400
Southern Zone (Season One) 3,001,440
Southern Zone (Season Two) 2,000,960

Recreational

Gulf of Mexico Migratory Group 6,260,000
Atlantic Migratory Group 10,900,000

 

Note:  As of April 1, the Gulf of Mexico/South Atlantic boundary shifted to the Collier/Monroe County line, and Monroe County is currently part of the Atlantic Southern Zone.  When Amendment 26 becomes effective, Monroe County will become part of the Gulf of Mexico Southern Zone year-round.  The commercial zones in the Gulf of Mexico are currently closed for the 2016/2017 fishing season, but are expected to re-open when Amendment 26 becomes effective, with increased annual catch limits and commercial zone quotas.

FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: 82 FR 17387, published April 11, 2017
This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.

Where can I find more information on Amendment 26?
Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

By Mail: Karla Gore
NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

By FAX: (727) 824-5308
By Phone: (727) 824-5305

Amendment 26  may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Web site at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_sa/cmp/2016/am%2026/index.html

Additional information on management of king mackerel in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic may be found at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_sa/cmp/index.html.

About Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Council prepares fishery management plans, which are designed to manage fishery resources within the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.