US - NOAA Fisheries will close the southern subzone of the Gulf of Mexico to commercial fishing for king mackerel effective 12:01 a.m. (local time), 21 February, 2014. The commercial quota of 551,448 pounds for this zone is projected to be reached by this date.
From November 1 through March 31, the southern subzone is that part of the Florida west coast off Collier and Monroe Counties. Beginning April 1, the southern subzone is reduced to the area off Collier County, Florida, and Monroe County is considered part of the Atlantic group.
During the closure, no commercial fisherman may fish for or keep king mackerel in or from the closed zone. There is an exception for people aboard a vessel that has a charter/headboat permit for coastal migratory pelagic fish and a commercial king mackerel permit. Those people may keep the two fish per person daily king mackerel bag limit from the closed zone, if the vessel is operating as a charter vessel or headboat. Vessels are considered to be operating as a charter vessel or headboat when they carry a passenger who pays a fee or when more than three people are aboard, including operator and crew.
During the closure, no king mackerel caught in the closed zone may be bought, sold, or traded. This includes recreational and tournament-caught fish. King mackerel that were traded or sold before the closure and held in cold storage by a dealer or processor may still be sold.
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