King Mackerel

Illustrations by Diane Rome Peebles

 

King mackerel are divided into two migratory groups: the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) and Atlantic groups. The groups are divided into zones and subzones, and each group, zone, and subzone may have a separate quota and trip limit. Currently, the boundary between the Gulf and Atlantic groups shifts north on November 1 and south on April 1 of each year. Please see maps and charts on page 2.

 

NOAA Fisheries is reviewing an amendment to the fishery management plan that would eliminate the boundary shift and set a permanent management boundary between the two migratory groups at the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line. If approved, this change should be implemented before the next boundary shift on April 1, 2017. The amendment would make other management changes for king mackerel, including changes to the trip limits on the Florida east coast. An additional Southeast Fishery Bulletin will be sent out if those changes are approved.

 

Gulf Group King Mackerel Zones and Subzones

 

Western Zone

The Western Zone includes waters off Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and has a trip limit of 3,000 pounds per day year-round. This zone closed October 14, 2016, and will reopen July 1, 2017. If a quota increase is approved, the zone may reopen in spring.

 

Florida West Coast

The west coast is divided into Northern and Southern Subzones.

 

The Northern Subzone extends east and south from the Florida/Alabama state line to the Lee/Collier County line. This subzone opened October 1 and remains open at this time.

 

From November through March, the Southern Subzone extends south and east from the Lee/Collier County line to the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line. With the April boundary shift between the Gulf and Atlantic groups to the Monroe/Collier County line, the Southern Subzone for the Gulf group is reduced to the area off Collier County, and Monroe County becomes part of the Atlantic group. The quota for the Southern Subzone is divided equally between the hook-and-line and gillnet components. The hook-and-line component opened July 1, 2016, and remains open at this time. The gillnet component is closed and will open January 17, 2017.

 

Both the Northern and Southern Subzones have a hook-and-line trip limit of 1,250 pounds per day. The gillnet component in the Southern Subzone has a trip limit of 45,000 pounds per day.

 

Florida East Coast (Mixing Zone)

From November through March, fish harvested south of the Flagler/Volusia County line to the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line are considered to be Gulf group king mackerel. The trip limit for this Florida East Coast Subzone during this time period is 50 fish per day, until March 1, when the trip limit increases to 75 fish per day, if 70 percent of the quota has not been reached.

 

Atlantic Group King Mackerel Zones

 

Northern Zone

The Northern Zone is from the North Carolina/South Carolina state line north to the intersection point of New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. This area has a 3,500-pound per day trip limit year-round.

 

Southern Zone

From November through March, the Southern Zone extends from the North Carolina/South Carolina state line south to the Flagler/Volusia County line. South of the Flagler/Volusia County line, fish are considered to be part of the Gulf group during this time (see above).

 

From April through October, the Southern Zone is from the North Carolina/South Carolina state line south to the Monroe/Collier County line on Florida’s west coast, which is the boundary between the Gulf and Atlantic groups during that period.

 

 

 

Boundaries Coordinates  
Intersection point of New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island 41o18’16.249″ N lat. / 71o54’28.477″ W long.  
North Carolina/South Carolina state line a line extending in a direction of 135°34’55” from true north beginning at 33°51’07.9″ N lat. and 78°32’32.6″ W long.  
Flagler/Volusia County line 29°25′ N lat. Winter Council boundary
Volusia/Brevard County line 28°47.8′ N lat.  
Miami-Dade/Monroe County line 25°20.4′ N lat.  
Monroe/Collier County line 25o48′ N lat. Summer Council boundary
Lee/Collier County line 26°19.8′ N lat.  
Florida/Alabama state line 87°31.1′ W long.  

 

2016/2017 Commercial Quotas for King Mackerel (pounds)
Gulf Group  
Western Zone 1,071,360
Eastern Zone  
   Florida West Coast Northern Subzone 178,848
   Florida West Coast Southern Subzone (hook-and-line) 551,448
   Florida West Coast Southern Subzone (gillnet) 551,448
   Florida East Coast Subzone 1,102,896
   
Atlantic Group  
Northern Zone (includes gillnets north of Cape Lookout, NC) 1,292,040
Southern Zone 2,587,960

 

*Quotas will change if Amendment 26 is approved.

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