Commercial harvest of Spanish mackerel will close at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, in state and federal waters. The fishery is closing because the regional commercial quota has been met.
The National Marine Fisheries Service projects that commercial landings have reached the 662,670-pound quota for the Atlantic Migratory Group Spanish Mackerel Northern Zone, which runs from North Carolina to New York. Federal accountability measures require harvest of Spanish mackerel to close to prevent exceeding the quota, and under the N.C. Interjurisdictional Fishery Management Plan, Spanish mackerel seasons in North Carolina waters complement those in federal waters.
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries requested, but was denied, a 100,000-pound quota transfer from the Southern Zone (South Carolina to Florida) to extend the Northern Zone fishery.
During the commercial closure, possession of Spanish mackerel is limited to the recreational bag limit of 15 fish per person per day so long as the recreational season remains open. Those fish may not be sold. This provision applies to charter/head boats and those holding a Fishing Tournament License to Sell Fish, as well as to those holding a Standard Commercial Fishing License or a Retired Standard Commercial Fishing License.
For more specific information about the North Carolina closure, see Proclamation FF-29-2019 on the Division of Marine Fisheries’ proclamations webpage.
See the NOAA Fisheries Bulletin for more information about the closure in federal waters.