Commercial Harvest of Greater Amberjack in Federal Waters of the Gulf of Mexico Will Not Reopen on

June 1, 2018



CONTACT: Kelli O’Donnell, (727) 824-5305,




Commercial harvest of greater amberjack in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) will not reopen June 1, 2018.  Commercial harvest will reopen at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on January 1, 2019.



The latest report for greater amberjack landings through March 15, 2018, indicates 106.4% of the 277,651 lb quota was harvested.


As a result, commercial harvest will not reopen in federal waters of the Gulf on June 1, 2018.

This closure is necessary to protect the greater amberjack population.  This population is currently considered overfished (the population size is too low) and undergoing overfishing (too many fish being harvested).




Any person aboard a vessel for which a federal commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued must comply with the closure regardless of where the fish are harvested.

No greater amberjack caught in Gulf federal waters after the seasonal closure start of March 1, 2018, may be purchased, bartered, traded, or sold.


The prohibition of sale does not apply to trade in greater amberjack that were harvested, landed ashore and bartered, traded, or sold before the seasonal closure start of March 1, 2018, and held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.

Final Rule Modifies the Recreational Greater Amberjack Fishing Year and Fixed Closed Season



CONTACT:Kelli O’Donnell, 727-824-5305,



NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule modifying the greater amberjack recreational fishing year and fixed closed season in the Gulf of Mexico. Recreational fishing for greater amberjack will be open May 1-31, 2018.



Regulations will be effective April 30, 2018.



The greater amberjack recreational fishing year will be August 1 through July 31 (see table below).

The greater amberjack recreational fixed closed season will be November 1 through April 30 and June 1 through July 31.

Recreational fishing will be open August through October and in May.

Therefore, the greater amberjack recreational sector will open on May 1, 2018.

Fishing Year and Fixed Closed Seasons




Why is the recreational fishing year changing?

The change in fishing year is expected to improve recreational fishermen’s access to greater amberjack.

It is expected to provide an opportunity to harvest this species when other targeted reef fish species are prohibited from harvest (i.e. fall opening).


Why is the recreational fixed closed season changing?

The recreational fixed closed season was January 1 through June 30. The intent of this closure for 2018 was to provide the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council more time to consider the most appropriate recreational closed season.

The new fixed closed season of November 1 through April 30 and June 1 through July 31 is expected to protect the greater amberjack population during peak spawning and still allow for spring (May) and fall (August through October) recreational harvest.


Where can I find more information on this rule?

Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

By Mail: Kelli O’Donnell

NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

Sustainable Fisheries Division

263 13th Avenue South

St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

By FAX: (727) 824-5308

By Phone: (727) 824-5305


The Greater Amberjack Fishing Year and Recreational Fixed Closed Season Framework may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Web site at: Year/index.html.


Additional information on management of greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico may be found at:

Florida Gulf Gray Triggerfish opens March 1 with new bag and size limits

The recreational gray triggerfish season will reopen to harvest in Gulf state and federal waters March 1. When the season reopens, the daily bag limit will be one fish per person (previously two fish per person) and the minimum size limit will be 15 inches fork length (previously 14 inches fork length). These changes were made at the July 2017 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) meeting and are consistent with changes made in federal waters. The changes also include an annual January through February recreational closure in Gulf state waters in addition to the annual June and July spawning closure.


These federal consistency measures should help maintain fishing opportunities for gray triggerfish in state and federal waters for 2018 and the future.


If you plan to fish for gray triggerfish in Gulf state or federal waters from a private recreational vessel, you must sign up as a Gulf Reef Fish Angler(annual renewal is required). To learn more, visit and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Reef Fish Survey” under “Reef Fish.” Sign up today External Website at


Learn more about gray Triggerfish at by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Triggerfish.”