At its Sept. 8 meeting in St. Augustine, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved closing Gulf state waters to recreational harvest of greater amberjack for the remainder of 2016. This closure was put into place because NOAA Fisheries estimates that the annual federal recreational quota was exceeded. The quota is the poundage of fish that can be caught each year while maintaining a sustainable fishery. Federal rules require that any harvest in excess of the quota must be deducted from the next year’s quota and could result in a shortened federal season. Closing state waters for the rest of 2016 will help minimize negative impacts of a quota overage on Florida fishermen and the 2017 season.
Greater amberjack closed to harvest in Gulf state and federal waters June 1 through July 31 as part of a regular, two-month season closure. In late July, NOAA Fisheries announced that federal waters would remain closed to recreational harvest of greater amberjack through Dec. 31.
Greater amberjack will close to harvest in state waters on Sept. 10 and will remain closed through Dec. 31. Both state and federal waters will reopen Jan. 1, 2017.
To learn more about greater amberjack, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Amberjack.”