Changes to commercial, recreational fishing seasons for gag noted

Published 1:57 pm Thursday, June 13, 2024

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NOAA Fisheries notice FB 24-037 concerns fishing seasons for gag in the South Atlantic Region.

The 2024 commercial and recreational fishing seasons for gag in federal waters of the South Atlantic both started at 12:01 a.m. on May 1, 2024.

NOAA Fisheries will announce the closure of the commercial fishing season for gag if the commercial annual catch limit of 62,922 pounds gutted weight is met or is projected to be met before December 31, 2024. As of May 31, the estimated commercial landings for gag is 33,107 gutted weight, which is 52.6% of the commercial annual catch limit.

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The recreational fishing season for gag will end at 12:01 a.m. on June 15, 2024. June 15, 2024, is when NOAA Fisheries estimates recreational landings will reach the 2024 recreational annual catch limit of 133,075 pounds gutted weight.

Effective October 23, 2023, the final rule for Amendment 53 to the fishery management plan for the snapper-grouper fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Amendment 53) specified the 2024 commercial and recreational annual catch limits for gag.

Federal regulations required NOAA Fisheries to reduce the 2024 commercial annual catch limit because commercial landings in 2023 exceeded the commercial annual catch limit, the combined commercial and recreational catch limit was exceeded in 2023, and gag are overfished.

NOAA Fisheries was also required to reduce the length of the 2024 recreational season because the annual catch limit was exceeded for the recreational sector in 2023.

To end overfishing and rebuild the gag stock, the final rule for Amendment 53 also reduced the commercial trip limit for gag and established a recreational vessel limit for gag and black grouper, stated the notice.

Those with questions should contact South Atlantic Branch at