Golden Tilefish

Golden Tilefish

Golden Tilefish

Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps

Managed by:

SAFMC


Physical description:

The golden tilefish is easily distinguishable from other members of the family Malacanthidae by the large adipose flap, or crest, on the head. The species is blue-green and iridescent on the back, with numerous spots of bright yellow and gold. The belly is white and the head is rosy, with blue under the eyes. The pectoral fins are sepia-colored, and the margin of the anal fin is purplish-blue.


Biological description:

Tilefish inhabit the outer continental shelf and upper continental slope along the entire east coast of the United States and the Gulf of Mexico south to Venezuela. They are found in waters from 250-1,500 feet deep, where bottom temperatures range from 49° to 58° F. Individuals live in cone-shaped burrows, and concentrate in small groups or pods. Females are smaller than males, although whether or not the species displays hermaphrodism is unknown. Sexual maturity is reached when fish are about 27 inches long and weigh about 9 pounds. Spawning occurs from March to September, and females lay from 2-8 million pelagic eggs. Tilefish feed during the day on the bottom on crustaceans, clams, snails, worms, anemones and sea cucumbers. They can reach lengths of 38 inches, although growth is slow.


South Atlantic Federal Regulations

Commercial:

  • Hook and line sector: OPEN effective January 1, 2017. 
  • Longline sector: CLOSED effective May 9, 2017 at 12:01 AM. 
  • Size Limit:
    • Hook-and-line component - No size limit;
    • Longline component -  No size limit)
  • Trip Limit:
    • Hook-and-line component - 500-pounds (gutted weight)
    • Longline component -  4,000 pounds (gutted weight).
  • Regulatory Remarks:
    • Effective May 23, 2013, golden tilefish longline endorsement program in place.
    • All species must be landed with head and fins intact.
    • Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use dehooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species.
    • The use of non-stainless steel circle hooks (offset or non-offset) is required for all species in the snapper grouper complex when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits in waters North of 28 degrees N. latitude.
    • After the commercial quota is met, all purchase and sale is prohibited and harvest and/or possession is limited to the recreational bag limit. This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed, and sold prior to the quota being reached and held in cold storage by a dealer. Quotas are given in gutted weights.
    • Commercial snapper grouper vessels must have onboard NMFS approved sea turtle release gear and follow smalltooth sawfish release protocol. See the Handling and Release Protocol from NOAA Fisheries or call 727-824-5312.
    • Annual Catch Limit (ACL) – This species is managed under an ACL. See current information on Commercial ACLs (quotas) from NOAA Fisheries.
  • Additional Updates:
    • NOTE: During the commercial longline closure:
      • Golden tilefish may still be harvested commercially using hook-and-line gear.
      • Vessels with a golden tilefish longline endorsement are not eligible to fish for or possess golden tilefish using hook-and-line gear.
      • The bag/possession limits and the sale/purchase provisions of the commercial closure apply to a person on board a vessel with a golden tilefish longline endorsement, regardless of whether the golden tilefish are harvested in state or Federal waters.
      • All harvest or possession of golden tilefish by a vessel with a golden tilefish longline endorsement, and the sale or purchase of longline-caught golden tilefish is prohibited.
    • Golden Tilefish Commercial Longline Endorsement Program is implemented effective May 23, 2013. See Fishery Bulletin for details.

Recreational:

  • OPEN, effective January 1, 2017
  • Size Limit:  None
  • Bag Limit: Included in Aggregate Grouper bag limit of 3 groupers per person/day. Golden Tilefish limited to 1 per person per day.
  • Regulatory Remarks:
    • Max of 1 golden tilefish per person/day.
    • Included in Aggregate Grouper bag limit of 3 groupers per person/day. Aggregate species include: gag, black, snowy, misty, red, scamp, yellowedge, yellowfin, yellowmouth grouper; blueline, sand, golden tilefish; coney, graysby, red hind and rock hind.
    • All species must be landed with head and fins intact.
    • Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use dehooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species.
    • The use of non-stainless steel circle hooks (offset or non-offset) is required for all species in the snapper grouper complex when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits in waters North of 28 degrees N. latitude.
    • The sale of bag-limit caught snapper grouper species is prohibited.
    • Annual Catch Limit (ACL) - This species is managed under an ACL. See current information on Recreational ACLs from NOAA Fisheries.
  • Additional Updates: