Fisheries announced this week that the recreational harvest of Atlantic
migratory group cobia will close at 12:01 a.m. on June 20, 2016.
Recreational harvest of cobia will reopen on January 1, 2017.
The Atlantic migratory group includes cobia from Georgia through New
York. Cobia off the east coast of Florida are part of the Gulf of
Mexico migratory group.
are separate annual catch limits for the recreational and commercial
sectors of Atlantic migratory group cobia. If the annual catch limits
are exceeded, accountability measures are in place to ensure
overfishing does not occur.
fishermen exceeded the annual catch limit of 630,000 pounds for cobia
in 2015. The preliminary estimate of harvest for 2015 is 1.54 million
pounds. Under the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's
accountability measures, when the annual catch limit is exceeded in one
year, the length of the following year’s season must be reduced to
ensure that the recreational harvest does not exceed that year’s annual
2015, both the recreational and the total annual catch limits of
Atlantic migratory group cobia were exceeded. Thus, the accountability
measure is triggered for 2016.
the commercial annual catch limit -- which is 60,000 pounds -- was not
exceeded, this closure is only for the recreational sector. During the
closure, recreational harvest or possession of cobia is prohibited.
This closure is required by regulations implemented under the Fishery
Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of
Mexico and Atlantic Region and is necessary to protect the cobia
NOAA proclamation applies only to federal waters. However,
Patricia Smith, public information officer for the N.C. Division of
Marine Fisheries, said that typically North Carolina implements the
same regulations in this fishery, so that would mean that the
recreational harvest of cobia in state waters would also close on June
Smith added that the Marine Fisheries Commission will be discussing cobia at its May meeting.
Full regulations can be found in the Federal Register.
Click here for frequently asked questions about the cobia closure.