Gulf Council Considering Cobia Regulation Changes, Requesting Input from Fishermen

Release Date: 10/10/2018

Fishery managers and fishermen from some Gulf states have expressed concerns that the Gulf cobia population is decreasing. In response, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is considering ways to reduce harvests including increasing the minimum size limit, decreasing the possession limit, or imposing a vessel limit (or some combination of these measures). These changes would affect both the commercial and recreational fisheries.

The Gulf Council will be making a final decision on these proposed changes at their October 22-25, 2018 meeting in Mobile, Alabama . The Gulf Council currently prefers increasing the minimum size limit to 36 inches fork length (FL), decreasing the possession limit to one fish per person per day, and implementing a vessel limit of two fish per vessel per day. However, they are selecting from a number of alternatives and their preferences may change, especially in response to public comment. Please provide feedback on these proposed regulation changes.

You can submit comments directly to the Gulf Council online by close of business on October 16, 2018. After that, either submit comments online to LDWF’s Gulf Council representative or in person during the public comment period at the Gulf Council’s upcoming meeting (1:30 pm–4:30 pm on Wednesday, October 24, 2018). The Gulf Council will be voting on their final decision Thursday, October 25, 2018. More details on the proposed changes and their potential impacts are below.

 

The current minimum size limit for cobia is 33 inches FL. The Gulf Council has proposed increasing the minimum size limit to 36, 39, or 42 inches. These proposed increases would reduce harvests by:

Proposed Minimum Size Limit

Estimated Percent Reduction in Harvest

Commercial

Recreational

36 inches FL

10.3%

26.1%

39 inches FL

29%

47%

42 inches FL

55.9%

61.7%

 

The current possession limit is two fish per person per day. Lowering the possession limit to one cobia per person per day would reduce commercial harvest by 6% and recreational harvest by 4%.

There is no vessel limit at this time, but the Gulf Council has proposed a daily vessel limit of two, four, or six fish. These proposed changes would reduce harvests by:

Proposed Vessel Limit

Estimated Percent Reduction in Harvest

Commercial

Recreational

Two cobia per vessel

5%

9.1%

Four cobia per vessel

1.6%

3.7%

Six cobia per vessel

0.7%

1.5%

 

If these measures were combined, the estimated percent reduction in harvest would increase.

For more information, contact Chris Schieble at cschieble@wlf.la.gov or 504-284-2035.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.