Commercial golden tilefish longline component to close

Published 1:38 pm Monday, February 17, 2020

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NOAA Fisheries announced in FB20-008 that the commercial longline component for golden tilefish in federal waters of the South Atlantic will close at 12:01 a.m. local time, Feb. 18, 2020. The closure applies to all harvest or possession of golden tilefish with longline fishing gear.

The 2020 commercial catch limit for the golden tilefish longline component is 248,805 pounds gutted weight. NOAA Fisheries predicts this catch limit will be reached by Feb. 18 and according to the accountability measure, harvest must close to prevent the catch limit from being exceeded.

Golden tilefish harvested with longline fishing gear may not be sold or purchased after the closure. 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 Feb. 18 and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.

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During the longline closure, a vessel with a golden tilefish longline endorsement may not commercially harvest golden tilefish using hook-and-line fishing gear and is limited to the golden tilefish recreational bag and possession limits when the recreational sector is open, without regard to where the golden tilefish was harvested (i.e. in state or federal waters).

A vessel that does not have a longline endorsement, but has a commercial South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited permit, may commercially harvest golden tilefish with hook-and-line fishing gear until the hook-and-line catch limit is reached.

The commercial longline component for golden tilefish in federal waters of the South Atlantic will open at 12:01 a.m. local time on Jan. 1, 2021.

This bulletin provides only a summary of the existing regulations.