Plans to reopen the greater amberjack recreational fishery in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico this month are off the table due to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projecting the allowable harvest has been exceeded.
The fishery was scheduled to be open until the end of the year. A similar fate for the season was met last year when the doors to the season were closed Sept. 28.
However, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will keep recreational fishing of greater amberjack open in state waters, which stretches nine nautical miles out. The daily bag limit is one per person and the minimum size is 34 inches fork length.
During the closure, recreational harvest or possession of greater amberjack is prohibited in federal waters. Also, the closure applies in both state and federal waters for vessels that have a valid Gulf of Mexico reel fish charter/headboat permit.
“We have an annual catch limit in place and regulations require that when that catch limit is reached or projected to be reached, we have to close the fishery down,” said Roy Crabtree, the Southeast Regional Administrator for NOAA. “It’s disappointing. We wish it had gone on longer.”
The current recreational catch limit in the Gulf is 1,197,670 million pounds. Efforts were made to keep the fishery open longer but they didn’t have the impact Crabtree hoped they would.
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