Minimum Size for Gulf Cobia to Increase

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Managers Increase Cobia Size Limits to Address Concerns of Anglers

The new, greater minimum size requirement will mean more Gulf cobia being released starting in 2019.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Many anglers who fish the northern Gulf of Mexico have expressed concern over a perceived decline in the Gulf cobia population. As a result of that, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has announced plans to modify the commercial and recreational minimum size limit for Gulf cobia in federal waters to a 36-inch fork length.

The announcement came October 25, after the council heard public comment at its October meeting in Mobile, Alabama.

According to the council, the most recent Gulf cobia stock assessment was completed in 2013, and the next assessment is scheduled to begin in 2019. Increasing the Gulf cobia minimum size limit to 36 inches fork length is expected to reduce landings by 10.3 percent for the commercial sector and 26.1 percent for the recreational sector.

The suggested Gulf cobia management changes will now be transmitted to the Secretary of Commerce for approval and implementation.