Gray Triggerfish Regulations

Grey Triggerfish

Gray Triggerfish

Balistes capriscus

AKA

taly, leatherjacket, leatherneck

Managed by:

SAFMC

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Physical description:

The Gray Triggerfish has large incisor teeth and a deep laterally compressed body covered with tough, sandpaper-like skin. Unlike their cousin, the filefish, triggerfish have more than one dorsal spine. The action of this spine gives the triggerfish its (common) name. The first spine is large, and when erect it remains so until the smaller second spine is deflexed, triggering the first. The gray triggerfish is easily distinguished by its drab color from the queen triggerfish, which is vividly colored.


Biological description:

The gray triggerfish is found on both sides of the tropical and temperate Atlantic from Massachusetts to Brazil, and from England southward along the coast of Africa. Along the southwestern United States, it typically inhabits hard bottom areas such as wrecks, rock outcroppings and coral reefs in waters 80-300 feet in depth. Spawning occurs off shore during the spring and summer, when fish are 3 years old or about 12 inches long. Unlike most reef fish, triggerfish have demersal eggs that are deposited in guarded nests. Age and growth studies suggest that females of the species grow larger and live longer than males, reaching lengths of more than 22 inches. Triggerfish use undulating motions of their dorsal and anal fins to ascend and descend vertically and to hover over the bottom searching for food. The species uses its powerful teeth to dislodge and crush small mussels, sea urchins and barnacles. It may also feed on plankton.


Recreational Regulations

Recreational Season:

The following regulations apply to Gray Triggerfish in federal waters (3-200 nautical miles) off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida.

  • Open Season: January 1 - December 31
    • Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the recreational Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met. If an in-season closure were to be announced by NOAA Fisheries, all relevant information will be included here.

 

 

Recreational Bag and Size Limits

  • Bag Limit: 10 fish per person per day

 

 

  • Minimum Size Limit: 12-inch fork length
  •  

Allowable gear includes vertical hook-and-line, including hand line and bandit gear, and spearfishing gear without rebreathers.

 

Dehooking Tool Requirement:

  • Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use dehooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species.
    • At least one dehooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper-grouper with minimum damage.
    • The hook removal device must be constructed to allow the hook to be secured and the barb shielded without re-engaging during the removal process.
    • The dehooking end must be blunt, and all edges rounded. The device must be of a size appropriate to secure the range of hook sizes and styles used in the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery.

 

Descending Device Requirement:

  • Requirement: A descending device is required to be on board and readily available for use on all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper-grouper species;

 

  • Definition of a Descending Device: an instrument to which is attached a minimum of a 16 ounce weight and a length of line that will release the fish at the depth from which the fish was caught or a minimum of 60 feet.
    • The descending device attaches to the fish’s mouth or is a container that will hold the fish.  The device MUST be capable of releasing the fish automatically, by the actions of the operator of the device, or by allowing the fish to escape on its own.
    • Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing.

 

Hook Requirements:

All hooks, regardless of type, must be constructed of non-stainless steel. 

North of 28º North Latitude:

  • The use of Non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks is required when
    fishing for snapper-grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits north of 28º north latitude.  
  • A circle hook is defined as a fishing hook designed and manufactured so that the point is turned perpendicularly back to the shank to form a generally circular, or oval, shape.

 

South of 28º North Latitude:

  • The use of non-stainless steel hooks when fishing for snapper-grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits south of 28º north latitude.  

 

Click here for helpful resources, including:

  • best fishing practices tips
  • information on hook types
  • how-to videos

NOTE: All other recreational gear requirements apply (see other tabs for details).

 

Permit Requirements

A Federal For-Hire Permit is Required

  • Click Here to Learn More
  • When harvest of this species closes in federal waters, vessels with a federal charter/for-hire permit cannot retain this species in state or federal waters.
  • Beginning January 4, 2021, all vessels with a federal charter/headboat permit for Atlantic coastal migratory pelagics, Atlantic dolphin and wahoo, or South Atlantic snapper-grouper will be required to electronically report their catch. Learn more.

 

Sea Turtle Release Gear Requirements

  • All species must be landed with head and fins intact
  • Recreational Bag Limit sales are prohibited 

 

Fish Rules Mobile App

Mobile App - Fish Rules

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to see some "Frequently Asked Questions."

DOWNLOAD for Android
DOWNLOAD for Apple 

 

Recreational Regulations Summary

Click the image for a summary of regulations for some snapper grouper species

 

Current Fishery Closures

Click the image for a summary of current fishery closures

Commercial Regulations

Commercial Permit:

Commercial Season:

The following regulations apply to Gray Triggerfish in federal waters (3-200 nautical miles) off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida.

  • Open Season: January 1 - December 31
    • Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the commercial Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met. If an in-season closure were to be announced by NOAA Fisheries, all relevant information will be included here.

Commercial Trip and Size Limits

Commercial harvest of this species is managed under a split season - the Annual Catch Limit is divided with half available January 1 through June 30 and half available July 1 through December 31 annually. Each season remains open until the seasonal quota has been met or is projected to be met.  Any remaining quota from the first season rolls over to the second season.

  • Trip Limit: 1,000 lb whole weight

 

  • Minimum Size Limit: 12-inch fork length

 

Allowable gear includes vertical hook-and-line, including hand line and bandit gear, and spearfishing gear without rebreathers. 

 

Dehooking Tool Requirement:

  • Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use dehooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species.
    • At least one dehooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper-grouper with minimum damage.
    • The hook removal device must be constructed to allow the hook to be secured and the barb shielded without re-engaging during the removal process.
    • The dehooking end must be blunt, and all edges rounded. The device must be of a size appropriate to secure the range of hook sizes and styles used in the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery.

 

Descending Device Requirement:

  • Requirement: A descending device is required to be on board and readily available for use on all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper-grouper species;

 

  • Definition of a Descending Device: an instrument to which is attached a minimum of a 16 ounce weight and a length of line that will release the fish at the depth from which the fish was caught or a minimum of 60 feet.
    • The descending device attaches to the fish’s mouth or is a container that will hold the fish.  The device MUST be capable of releasing the fish automatically, by the actions of the operator of the device, or by allowing the fish to escape on its own.
    • Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing.

 

Hook Requirements:

All hooks, regardless of type, must be constructed of non-stainless steel. 

North of 28º North Latitude: 

  • The use of Non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks is required when fishing for snapper-grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits north of 28º north latitude.
  • A circle hook is defined as a fishing hook designed and manufactured so that the point is turned perpendicularly back to the shank to form a generally circular, or oval, shape.  

 

South of 28º North Latitude:

  • The use of non-stainless steel hooks when fishing for snapper-grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits south of 28º north latitude.  

 

Click here for helpful resources, including:

  • best fishing practices tips
  • information on hook types
  • how-to videos

 

Sea Turtle Release Gear Requirements

Annual Catch Limit

This species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit (ACL).

Commercial harvest of this species is managed under a split season - the Annual Catch Limit is divided with half available January 1 through June 30 and half available July 1 through December 31 annually. Each season remains open until the seasonal quota has been met or is projected to be met.  Any remaining quota from the first season rolls over to the second season.

Click here for details 

  • All species must be landed with head and fins intact

Fish Rules Mobile App

Mobile App - Fish Rules

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to see some "Frequently Asked Questions."

DOWNLOAD for Android
DOWNLOAD for Apple 

 

Commercial Regulations Summary

Click the image for a summary of regulations for some snapper grouper species

 

Current Fishery Closures

Click the image for a summary of current fishery closures