NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule to change the following management measures for Atlantic Cobia (Georgia through New York):
increase the recreational minimum size limit
reduce the recreational bag limit
establish a recreational vessel limit
establish a commercial trip limit
modify the recreational accountability measure
WHEN RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:
The management measures will be effective September 5, 2017.
WHAT THIS MEANS:
For the Atlantic cobia recreational sector, the minimum size limit will increase from 33 inches fork length to 36 inches fork length.
The recreational bag limit will be modified to one fish per person per day, or six fish per vessel per day, whichever is more restrictive.
The rule will also modify the accountability measure for the recreational sector. If the recreational and total catch limits (commercial and recreational combined) are exceeded, NOAA Fisheries will reduce the vessel limit, and if necessary, shorten the following season.
For the Atlantic cobia commercial sector, the rule will implement a commercial trip limit of two fish per person per day, or six fish per vessel per day, whichever is more restrictive.
This final rule is the result of Framework Amendment 4 recommended to NOAA Fisheries by the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils.
These actions are expected to reduce the likelihood of exceeding the recreational and commercial Atlantic cobia catch limits in future years.