Golden Tilefish Regulations

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

There is a Fishery Performance Report available for this species - Click Here

Commercial:

  • Hook-and-line component: OPEN
  • Longline component: CLOSED effective March 23, 2020. See Fishery Bulletin. Season reopens January 1, 2021.
  • Limited access permit required. Endorsement required to harvest golden tilefish with longline gear.
  • Minimum Size Limit:
    • Hook-and-line component - None
    • Longline component -  None
  • Trip Limit:
    • Hook-and-line component - 500-pounds (gutted weight)
    • Longline component -  4,000 pounds (gutted weight).
  • Regulatory Remarks:
    • 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 annual catch limit (for each respective component) is met, all purchase and sale is prohibited and harvest and/or possession is limited to the recreational bag limit (while recreational harvest is open). This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed, and sold prior to the annual catch limit being reached and held in cold storage by a dealer.
    • Charter/Headboat and Commercial snapper grouper vessels must have onboard NMFS approved sea turtle release gear and follow smalltooth sawfish release protocol. Click here to learn more or call 727-824-5312.
    • Annual Catch Limit (ACL) – This species is managed under an ACL. Commercial annual catch limit divided between longline (75%) and hook-and-line (25%) components.
    • See current information on Commercial ACLs (quotas) from NOAA Fisheries.
  • Additional Updates:
    • NOTE: When the Longline component closes before the Hook-and-line component.  Golden tilefish may be harvested commercially using hook-and-line gear until the hook-and-line annual catch limit is met or is projected to be met.  Vessels with a golden tilefish longline endorsement are not eligible to fish for or possess golden tilefish using hook-and-line gear.
  • Allowable Gear:
    • Vertical hook-and-line including hand-held hook-and-line and bandit gear. Spearfishing gear without rebreathers.
    • Powerheads, except where expressly prohibited in Special Management Zones (SMZs) and in the EEZ off South Carolina.
    • Bottom longline, only in depths 50 fathoms or more and only north of St. Lucie Inlet, Florida, and only by vessels with a golden tilefish longline gear endorsement. Additionally, vessels with longline gear onboard may only possess snowy grouper, yellowedge grouper, misty grouper, golden tilefish, blueline tilefish and sand tilefish.

Recreational:

  • OPEN
  • ​Minimum 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.
    • Charter/Headboat and Commercial snapper grouper vessels must have onboard NMFS approved sea turtle release gear and follow smalltooth sawfish release protocol. Click here to learn more or call 727-824-5312.
    • Annual Catch Limit (ACL) - This species is managed under an ACL. See current information on Recreational ACLs from NOAA Fisheries.