50 CFR § 622.34 - Seasonal and area closures designed to protect Gulf reef fish.

§ 622.34 Seasonal and area closures designed to protect Gulf reef fish.

(a) Closure provisions applicable to the Madison and Swanson sites and Steamboat Lumps, and the Edges -

(1) Descriptions of Areas.

(i) The Madison and Swanson sites are bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 29°17′ 85°50′
B 29°17′ 85°38′
C 29°06′ 85°38′
D 29°06′ 85°50′
A 29°17′ 85°50′

(ii) Steamboat Lumps is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
B 28°14′ 84°37′
C 28°03′ 84°37′
D 28°03′ 84°48′
A 28°14′ 84°48′

(iii) The Edges is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 28°51′ 85°16′
B 28°51′ 85°04′
C 28°14′ 84°42′
D 28°14′ 84°54′
A 28°51′ 85°16′

(2) Within the Madison and Swanson sites and Steamboat Lumps, possession of Gulf reef fish is prohibited, except for such possession aboard a vessel in transit with fishing gear stowed as specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

(3) Within the Madison and Swanson sites and Steamboat Lumps during November through April, and within the Edges during January through April, all fishing is prohibited, and possession of any fish species is prohibited, except for such possession aboard a vessel in transit with fishing gear stowed as specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this section. The provisions of this paragraph, (a)(3), do not apply to highly migratory species.

(4) For the purpose of paragraph (a) of this section, transit means non-stop progression through the area; fishing gear appropriately stowed means -

(i) A longline may be left on the drum if all gangions and hooks are disconnected and stowed below deck. Hooks cannot be baited. All buoys must be disconnected from the gear; however, buoys may remain on deck.

(ii) A trawl net may remain on deck, but trawl doors must be disconnected from the trawl gear and must be secured.

(iii) A gillnet must be left on the drum. Any additional gillnets not attached to the drum must be stowed below deck.

(iv) A rod and reel must be removed from the rod holder and stowed securely on or below deck. Terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) must be disconnected and stowed separately from the rod and reel. Sinkers must be disconnected from the down rigger and stowed separately.

(5) Within the Madison and Swanson sites and Steamboat Lumps, during May through October, surface trolling is the only allowable fishing activity. For the purpose of this paragraph (a)(5), surface trolling is defined as fishing with lines trailing behind a vessel which is in constant motion at speeds in excess of four knots with a visible wake. Such trolling may not involve the use of down riggers, wire lines, planers, or similar devices.

(6) For the purpose of this paragraph (a), fish means finfish, mollusks, crustaceans, and all other forms of marine animal and plant life other than marine mammals and birds. Highly migratory species means tuna species, marlin (Tetrapturus spp. and Makaira spp.), oceanic sharks, sailfishes (Istiophorus spp.), and swordfish (Xiphias gladius).

(b) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for red snapper. The recreational sector for red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ is closed from January 1 through May 31, each year. During the closure, the bag and possession limit for red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero. See § 622.23(a)(1) regarding the fishing season for states with an active delegation of state management of the red snapper private angling component. A person subject to the private angling component bag limit under an active delegation of state management must be in compliance with the fishing license (permit) requirements of the state in which they intend to land the fish and may not possess red snapper in the Gulf EEZ when that state season is closed.

(c) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for greater amberjack. The recreational sector for greater amberjack in or from the Gulf EEZ is closed from January 1 through April 30, June 1 through July 31, and November 1 through December 31, each year. During the closure, the bag and possession limit for greater amberjack in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero.

(d) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for shallow-water grouper (SWG). The recreational sector for SWG in or from the Gulf EEZ is closed each year from February 1 through March 31 in the portion of the Gulf EEZ seaward of rhumb lines connecting the following points in order. During the closure, the bag and possession limits for SWG in or from the Gulf EEZ seaward of the following rhumb lines are zero.

Table 4 to Paragraph (d)

Point North lat. West long.
1 24°48.0′ 82°48.0′
2 25°07.5′ 82°34.0′
3 26°26.0′ 82°59.0′
4 27°30.0′ 83°21.5′
5 28°10.0′ 83°45.0′
6 28°11.0′ 84°00.0′
7 28°11.0′ 84°07.0′
8 28°26.6′ 84°24.8′
9 28°42.5′ 84°24.8′
10 29°05.0′ 84°47.0′
11 29°02.5′ 85°09.0′
12 29°21.0′ 85°30.0′
13 29°27.9′ 85°51.7′
14 29°45.8′ 85°51.0′
15 30°05.6′ 86°18.5′
16 30°07.5′ 86°56.5′
17 29°43.9′ 87°33.8′
18 29°43.0′ 88°18.5′
19 29°18.9′ 88°50.7′ at State and Federal Reef Fish Management Boundary, follow Reef Fish Management Boundary to point 20
20 28°58.98′ 89°35.1′ at State and Federal Reef Fish Management Boundary
21 29°02.0′ 89°45.5′
22 28°32.7′ 90°21.5′
23 28°24.8′ 90°52.7′
24 28°42.3′ 92°14.4′
25 28°34.2′ 92°30.4′
26 28°27.6′ 95°00.0′
27 28°20.0′ 95°06.9′
28 28°02.2′ 96°11.1′
29 27°46.5′ 96°38.1′
30 27°15.0′ 97°00.0′
31 26°45.5′ 97°01.4′
32 At EEZ boundary 96°51.0′

(e) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for gag. The recreational sector for gag, in or from the Gulf EEZ, is closed from January 1 through May 31. During the closure, the bag and possession limits for gag in or from the Gulf EEZ are zero.

(f) Seasonal closures for gray triggerfish. The recreational sector for gray triggerfish in or from the Gulf EEZ is closed from January 1 through the end of February, and from June 1 through July 31, each year. During a recreational closure, the bag and possession limits for gray triggerfish in or from the Gulf EEZ are zero. The commercial sector for gray triggerfish in or from the Gulf EEZ is closed from June 1 through July 31, each year. During the period of both the commercial and recreational closure, all harvest or possession in or from the Gulf EEZ of gray triggerfish is prohibited and the sale and purchase of gray triggerfish taken from the Gulf EEZ is prohibited.

(g) Recreational sector for hogfish in the Gulf EEZ south of 25°09′ N. lat. off the west coast of Florida. See § 622.183(b)(4) for the applicable seasonal closures.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 27087, May 9, 2013; 78 FR 33261, June 4, 2013; 81 FR 24039, Apr. 25, 2016; 82 FR 34580, July 25, 2017; 82 FR 59525, Dec. 15, 2017; 82 FR 61487, Dec. 28, 2017; 83 FR 13428, Mar. 29, 2018; 85 FR 6823, Feb. 6, 2020; 85 FR 20613, Apr. 14, 2020]