At its April 20 meeting in Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved closing Gulf state waters to recreational harvest of greater amberjack for the remainder of 2017, starting April 22. This is consistent with the amberjack closure in Gulf federal waters that went into effect March 24, 2017. Both state and federal waters will reopen Jan. 1, 2018.
“While there are not a lot of amberjack caught in state waters, this is a chance to take a step back and see what is happening with the fishery and help ensure future fishing opportunities,” said Commissioner Chuck Roberts.
These closures were put into place because NOAA Fisheries estimates that the annual federal recreational quota was met. The quota is the amount of fish that can be caught each year while maintaining a sustainable fishery. Closing state waters for the rest of 2017 will help minimize chances of a quota overage. Federal rules require that any harvest in excess of the amberjack quota must be deducted from the next year’s quota, which can result in a shortened federal season.