8/21/17 – NOAA Fisheries – FB17-046: Commercial and Recreational Closures for Hogfish in Federal Waters off the Florida Keys/East Florida Beginning August 24, 2017

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FB17-046.     PRINT
FISHERY BULLETIN ISSUE DATE: August 21, 2017

 

 

 

CONTACT:  Sustainable Fisheries, (727) 824-5305

Commercial and Recreational Closures for Hogfish

in Federal Waters off the Florida Keys/East Florida

Beginning August 24, 2017

WHAT/WHEN:
  • The commercial and recreational harvest for the Florida Keys/East Florida population of hogfish in federal waters of the South Atlantic and part of the Gulf of Mexico will close at12:01 a.m. on August 24, 2017. The boundaries of the Florida Keys/East Florida population are from the 25°09' N. latitude line off the west coast of Florida (near Cape Sable, Florida), east around South Florida, to the Florida/Georgia border. During these closures, all sale, purchase, and possession of hogfish is prohibited.

WHY THIS CLOSURE IS HAPPENING:
  • The final rule for Amendment 37 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 37) published on July 25, 2017 (see Fishery Bulletin FB17-041,http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishery_bulletins/2017/041/FB17-041index.html), and is effective on August 24, 2017 (82 FR 34584).
  • The 2017 commercial catch limit for the Florida Keys/East Florida population of hogfish will be 3,510 pounds whole weight. Commercial landings are projected to have reached the new commercial catch limit by May 11, 2017.
  • The 2017 recreational catch limit for the Florida Keys/East Florida population of hogfish will be 15,689 fish. Recreational landings are projected to have reached the new recreational catch limit by May 4, 2017.
  • According to the accountability measures, commercial and recreational harvest should close to prevent the catch limits from being exceeded. The closures did not occur before August 24, 2017, because the final rule was not yet effective.
  • The final rule for Amendment 37 also implemented a closed recreational fishing season for the Florida Keys/East Florida population of hogfish in federal waters from January through April, and November through December each year.
 
AFTER THE CLOSURE:
  • The commercial closure for the Florida Keys/East Florida population of hogfish applies in both state and federal waters for vessels that have a federal commercial permit for South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper and/or Gulf Reef Fish.
  • The 2018 commercial fishing season for the Florida Keys/East Florida population of hogfish will open on January 1, 2018, with a commercial catch limit of 4,524 pounds whole weight. This catch limit will increase annually through 2027.
  • The recreational closure for the Florida Keys/East Florida population of hogfish also applies in both state and federal waters because the state of Florida is implementing compatible regulations with the final rule for Amendment 37.
  • The 2018 recreational fishing season for the Florida Keys/East Florida population of hogfish will open on May 1, 2018, with a recreational catch limit of 18,617 fish. This catch limit will increase annually through 2027.
This bulletin provides only a summary of the existing regulations. Full regulations can be found in the Federal Register or at https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=383bc195ccbeab4fd6bec1c24905df34&node=sp50.12.622.i&rgn=div6#se50.12.622_1193.