Gulf Amberjack Final Rule Announced for Federal Waters

NOAA modifies recreational closure — season to open again May 1.

Amberjack Rules Head Shot
NOAA has announced new recreational amberjack seasons in Gulf of Mexico federal waters.Chris Woodward / Sport Fishing

KEY MESSAGE:

NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule modifying the greater amberjack recreational fishing year and fixed closed season in the Gulf of Mexico. Recreational fishing for greater amberjack will be open May 1-31, 2018.

WHEN THIS RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:

• Regulations will be effective April 30, 2018.

WHAT THIS MEANS:

• The greater amberjack recreational fishing year will be August 1 through July 31 (see table below).
• The greater amberjack recreational fixed closed season will be November 1 through April 30 and June 1 through July 31.
• Recreational fishing will be open August through October and in May.
• Therefore, the greater amberjack recreational sector will open on May 1, 2018.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Why is the recreational fishing year changing? • The change in fishing year is expected to improve recreational fishermen's access to greater amberjack.
• It is expected to provide an opportunity to harvest this species when other targeted reef fish species are prohibited from harvest (i.e. fall opening). Why is the recreational fixed closed season changing?
• The recreational fixed closed season was January 1 through June 30. The intent of this closure for 2018 was to provide the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council more time to consider the most appropriate recreational closed season.
• The new fixed closed season of November 1 through April 30 and June 1 through July 31 is expected to protect the greater amberjack population during peak spawning and still allow for spring (May) and fall (August through October) recreational harvest.

Where can I find more information on this rule? • Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
By Mail: Kelli O'Donnell
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

• The Greater Amberjack Fishing Year and Recreational Fixed Closed Season Framework may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Web site at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/reef_fish/2017/GAJ_Fishing Year/index.html.
• Additional information on management of greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico may be found at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/policy_branch/rules/gulf/reef_fish/index.html.