NOAA Fisheries has announced changes in regulations for blueline tilefish, black sea bass and yellowtail snapper in federal waters of the South Atlantic Region that may increase anglers’ take.
The final rule for Regulatory Amendment 25 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region was published on July 13.
The changes include:
Regulations for blueline tilefish were effective last week.
• Increase the annual catch limits for blueline tilefish from 26,766 to 87,521 pounds whole weight (commercial sector) and 26,691 to 87,277 pounds whole weight (recreational).
• Reopen commercial harvest for blueline tilefish on July 13. Commercial harvest will close in 2016 if the commercial annual catch limit is met.
• Increase the commercial trip limit from 100 to 300 pounds gutted weight.
• Increase the recreational bag limit from one fish per vessel to three fish per person per day for May through August within the aggregate bag limit. There will continue to be no recreational retention of blueline tilefish during January through April and September through December.
• The increases in the commercial trip limit and the recreational bag limit are in response to the increase in the annual catch limit.
Black sea bass
Regulations for black sea bass will be effective on Aug. 12.
• Increase the recreational bag limit for black sea bass from five to seven fish per person per day.
Regulations for yellowtail snapper will be effective on Aug. 12.
• Change the yellowtail snapper fishing year start date for both the commercial and recreational sectors from Jan. 1 to Aug. 1 each year. Changing the start of the fishing year to Aug. 1 will benefit both sectors because it will ensure harvest is open during the winter months, when yellowtail snapper obtains a higher price per pound commercially, and during peak tourist season in south Florida, where the majority of yellowtail snapper harvest takes place.
For more information, go to the NOAA Fisheries website, sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries.