Information on king, Spanish mackerel harvested in tournaments

Published 4:49 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2023

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NOAA Fisheries recently received questions about king and Spanish mackerel harvested in a state-permitted tournament.

Federal regulations require that king and Spanish mackerel harvested in a state-permitted tournament in the south Atlantic, mid-Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico may not be sold for profit but may be donated to a state dealer or federal dealer (50 C.F.R. § 622.386(e)).

A dealer who accepts these tournament-caught king or Spanish mackerel must be permitted and must comply with all transfer and reporting requirements. A federally permitted dealer who accepts donated king or Spanish mackerel from a state-permitted tournament can first receive these fish from a non-federally permitted vessel.

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Dealers must donate the monetary value (sale price or cash equivalent of value received for the landings) from the sale of tournament-caught fish to a charitable organization, as determined by the state. The monetary value received from the sale of tournament-caught fish may not be used to pay for tournament expenses.

In addition, the fish must be handled and iced according to the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point standards, and dealers must report tournament-caught king and Spanish mackerel as “tournament catch” and comply with all federal and state reporting requirements.

Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office at 727-824-5305 with any questions.