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Commercial Golden Tilefish Longline closes March 25

NOAA Fishery Bulletin FB18-018 announces the commercial longline component for golden tilefish in federal waters of the South Atlantic closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, March 25, 2018. The closure applies to longline endorsement holders for golden tilefish.

On January 2, 2018, a final temporary rule implemented interim measures to temporarily reduce the total catch limit for golden tilefish from 558,036 to 323,000 pounds gutted weight. The total catch limit applies to hook-and-line and longline components for the commercial sector as well as the recreational sector.

The interim measures are effective through July 1, 2018, and NOAA Fisheries is evaluating extending the interim measures for up to an additional 186 days.

The 2018 commercial catch limit for the golden tilefish longline component is now 234,982 pounds gutted weight. Commercial landings information indicates that the commercial catch limit for the longline component will be met by at 12:01 a.m., local time, on March 25, 2018, and harvest therefore should be closed.

During and after the closure:

–The commercial longline component closure applies in both state and federal waters for vessels that have longline endorsement for golden tilefish.

–During the closure, vessels with a golden tilefish longline endorsement are not eligible to commercially harvest golden tilefish using hook-and line gear and are limited to the recreational bag and possession limits when the recreational sector is open.

–Vessels that do not have longline endorsements, but have South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited permits, may harvest golden tilefish commercially until the hook-and-line quota is reached.

–The prohibition on sale or purchase during the closure does not apply to fish that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, on March 25, 2018, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.

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