The western Gulf of Mexico zone is closed to commercial king mackerel fishing, effective 12:00 noon (local time) February 11, 2011, through June 30, 2011. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service has determined the 2010/2011 western zone commercial quota of 1.01 million pounds of king mackerel has been reached. With this action, commercial king mackerel fishing is prohibited in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico from the U.S./Mexico border to the Alabama/Florida boundary.
Closure of the western Gulf of Mexico zone to commercial king mackerel fishing complies with regulations implemented under the Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic and is necessary to protect the Gulf group king mackerel resource. In cooperative actions, Gulf states (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama) are expected to close commercial harvest of king mackerel concurrently in adjoining state waters.
During the closure period, no person aboard a vessel for which a
commercial permit for king mackerel has been issued may fish for or
retain king mackerel in or from federal waters of the closed zone. There
is one exception, however, for a person aboard a charter vessel or
headboat. A person aboard a vessel that has a valid charter/headboat
permit for coastal migratory pelagic fish and a commercial king mackerel
permit may continue to retain king mackerel in or from the closed
subzone under the two-fish daily bag limit, provided the vessel is
operating as a charter vessel or headboat. Charter vessels or headboats
that hold a commercial king mackerel permit are considered to be
operating as a charter vessel or headboat when they carry a passenger
who pays a fee or when more than three persons are aboard, including
operator and crew.
During the closure, no king mackerel caught in the closed zone may be purchased, bartered, traded, or sold. This includes recreational and tournament-caught fish. The prohibition of sale, however, does not apply to trade in king mackerel that were harvested, landed ashore and bartered, traded, or sold before the closure and held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.