South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Porgy, Whitebone

Porgy, Whitebone

Calamus leucosteus, Chocolate Chip Porgy
Recreational
All areas are open for recreational fishing.
Commercial
All areas are open for commercial fishing.

The body of the whitebone porgy is silvery overall, with regular brown markings of varying intensity on the sides, more like splotches than spots. Brown markings also occur on the fins, and occasionally the sides bear brown crossbars. The species can be distinguished from two other frequently caught deepwater porgies, the red porgy, Pagrus pagrus, and knobbed porgy, Calamus nodosus. The former is predominantly pink; the latter has a very steep sloping forehead and cheeks that are speckled with bright blue and yellow. Although most members of the genus have 14 to 15 pectoral rays, the whitebone porgy has 16.

The whitebone porgy is found from Cape Hatteras to Cape Canaveral, in the Florida Keys (along with a multitude of other tropical porgies) and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. It prefers habitats of high-and low-profile reef-like bottom in water ranging from 100-240 feet in depth. Both sexes of the whitebone porgy mature within their first or second year, and spawning occurs from April to August. Whitebone porgies are protogynous hermaphrodites, known to live as long as 12 years, reaching a length of 18 inches and weight of 5 pounds. This species feeds on the bottom, picking up crabs, shrimp or snails that live along rocks, sponges or corals.

Regulations

NC, SC, GA, FL

  • Season is currently open.
  • 20 Aggregate Limit
  • 10 Bag Limit
  • Notes:

    A descending device is required on board all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper and grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic. The descending device must be readily available for use and attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line. Get more information at Best Fishing Practices Webpage No minimum size limit.

    Must be landed with head and fins intact.

    If you are bringing fish back to the U.S. from the Bahamas by water, please see Bringing fish back from the Bahamas.

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    Federally Permitted Charter/Headboats:

    • If a federally permitted vessel fishing in federal waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in federal waters, the vessel is not allowed to retain that fish.
    • If a federally permitted vessel fishing in state waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in federal waters but open in state waters, the vessel is not allowed to retain that species.
    • If a federally permitted vessel fishing in federal waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in state waters but open to harvest in federal waters, they may retain that fish if they do not stop to fish in state waters when returning to port. All gear must be stowed.

    Federally Permitted Charter/Headboats must have the following on board:

    • The 2019 version of the NMFS document titled “Careful Release Protocols for Sea Turtle Release with Minimal Injury” (document may be electronic).
    • NMFS sea turtle handling and release guidelines placard
    • Required release and handling gears

    See Snapper Grouper Sea Turtle and Smalltooth Sawfish Release Gear Requirements for more information.

    For more information on management of South Atlantic federal fisheries, please visit SAFMC or NOAA Fisheries.

    To see commercial regulations, download Fish Rules Commercial App for iOS devices or Android devices.

  • Gear Description: Allowable gear includes vertical hook-and-line, including hand line and bandit gear, and spearfishing gear without rebreathers. When fishing for or possessing snapper grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic, the following regulations apply: (1) Use of a dehooking tool is required. (2) The use of non-stainless steel hooks is required when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. In waters North of 28-degrees N. latitude, the use of non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks is required when fishing for snapper grouper species using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. (3) A descending device is required on board all vessels and must be readily available for use (attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line). See below for more details.

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