The recreational harvest of Atlantic migratory group cobia (from Georgia to New York) 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. There 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. If the Atlantic migratory group cobia recreational and total (recreational and commercial combined) annual catch limits are exceeded, NOAA Fisheries is required to reduce the length of the recreational fishing season in the following fishing year.
In 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. Because the commercial annual catch limit 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 resource.