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Cobia fishery changes noted

In Fisheries Bulletin 19-008, NOAA Fisheries announced changes in the management of cobia in federal waters.

The final rule to implement Amendment 31 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal Migratory Pelagics of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region removes Atlantic cobia from the fishery management plan.

Atlantic cobia is now managed under the purview of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission because the majority of Atlantic cobia landings are in state waters.

The final rule will be effective on March 21, 2019.

Regulations in federal waters will be implemented through the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act.

Most existing management measures in federal waters for commercial and recreational harvest of Atlantic cobia from Georgia through New York do not change through this rule.

For the commercial sector, the minimum size limit is 33 inches fork length and the trip limit is two fish per person per day or six fish per vessel per day, whichever is more restrictive.

For the recreational sector, the minimum size limit is 36 inches fork length and the bag and vessel limits are one fish per person per day or six fish per vessel per day, whichever is more restrictive. For both sectors, persons harvesting Atlantic cobia must comply with more restrictive size limits, bag limits and possession limits in the states where the fish are landed.

North Carolina Marine Fisheries issued Proclamation FF 57-2018 regarding the commercial and recreational cobia fisheries on Dec. 20, 2018.

States the proclamation: “The intent of this proclamation is to manage the commercial and recreational fishery for cobia in Coastal Fishing Waters consistent with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Interstate Cobia Fishery Management Plan.”

Proclamation FF 57-2018 opened the commercial fishery on Jan. 1, 2019. The recreational fishery is closed until 12:01 a.m., May 1, 2019.

Size and catch limits for the commercial fishery are 33 inches fork length and two cobia per person per day or six per vessel per day, whichever is more restrictive.

READ MORE IN OUR ON THE WATER SECTION.

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