Cobia Regulations

Cobia

Cobia

Rachycentron canadum

AKA:

Sergeant fish, Crabeater, Lemonfish

Managed by:

SAFMC, GMFMC


Physical description:

Often mistaken for a shark or shark sucker, the cobia species is dark brown with a single dorsal fin and occasionally found tagging along with sharks, rays, and turtles. Long, slim fish with broad depressed head; lower jaw projects past upper jaw; dark lateral stripe extends through eye to tail; first dorsal fin comprised of 7 to 9 free spines; Young cobia are more active than adults and are colored conspicuously with alternating black and white horizontal stripes with splotches of bronze, orange and green.


Biological description:

Cobia have a circumtropical distribution, and in the United States are found from Virginia to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Both INSHORE and NEARSHORE inhabitating inlets, bays, and among mangroves; frequently seen around buoys, pilings, and wrecks.They may be seen migrating in the late spring through coastal waters and bays. Cobia are known to live up to 10 years and reach a length of 6 feet and a weight exceeding 100 pounds. Females are usually larger than males, and reach sexual maturity when they are 36 inches long. A male will reach sexual maturity at 24 inches. The spawning season extends from late June to mid-August along the southeastern United States and from late summer to early fall in the Gulf of Mexico. Cobia eat some fishes, although the bulk of the diet is crustaceans (thus the common name "Crab Eater").


South Atlantic Federal Regulations -

Cobia Management Update: December 2018

Florida East Coast Cobia

 Commercial

OPEN

Size Limit: 33-inch fork length

Trip Limit: 2 per person per day

Regulatory Remarks:

  • Must be landed with heads and fins intact.
  • Authorized gear: all gear is authorized except for drift gillnets and long gillnets.
  • FWC Division of Law Enforcement uses the following guidelines for possession limits in FL state waters:
    • A person who is observed fishing in state waters is subject to state rules.
    • A person who claims to have fished in federal waters and returns to port without stopping in state waters (and thus is not observed fishing in state waters) is subject to federal regulations.
    • A person who claims to have fished in federal waters, but who is observed fishing in state waters, is presumed to have caught the fish in state waters and will be subject to state rules.
  • Annual Catch Limit (ACL) – This species is managed under an ACL. See current information on Commercial ACLs (quotas)from NOAA Fisheries.

Additional Information:

  • A Fishery Performance Report is available for this species - click here! 

Recreational

OPEN

Size Limit: 33-inch fork length

Bag Limit: 2 per person per day

Regulatory Remarks:

  • Must be landed with heads and fins intact.
  • Authorized gear: all gear is authorized except for drift gillnets and long gillnets.
  • FWC Division of Law Enforcement uses the following guidelines for possession limits in FL state waters:
    • A person who is observed fishing in state waters is subject to state rules.
    • A person who claims to have fished in federal waters and returns to port without stopping in state waters (and thus is not observed fishing in state waters) is subject to federal regulations.
    • A person who claims to have fished in federal waters, but who is observed fishing in state waters, is presumed to have caught the fish in state waters and will be subject to state rules.
  • Annual Catch Limit (ACL) - This species is managed under an ACL. See current information on Recreational ACLs from NOAA Fisheries.

Additional Information:

  • A Fishery Performance Report is available for this species - click here!