Triggerfish and amberjack back on the catch list

Special to The Log

The recreational harvest of greater amberjack and gray triggerfish reopened Jan. 1 in Gulf state and federal waters and as of Monday, the greater amberjack size limit changed from 30 inches to 34 inches fork length in Gulf state and federal waters.

Recent stock assessments have indicated that greater amberjack and gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico are overfished, which means there are not enough fish for these populations to remain sustainable.

Greater amberjack are also undergoing overfishing, which means more fish are being removed from the population than is sustainable. Greater amberjack closed early on Sept. 28 in Gulf federal waters and Nov. 21 in Gulf state waters. These closures were intended to help prevent exceeding the annual federal recreational quota. A quota is the poundage of fish that can be caught each year while maintaining a sustainable fishery.

Changing the greater amberjack minimum size limit will help ensure more female greater amberjack are left in the water and have a chance to reproduce before being harvested. Fork length is measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the center of the fork in the tail.

Gray triggerfish closed early on Feb. 7 in Gulf state and federal waters after NOAA Fisheries determined that the recreational quota was exceeded in both 2013 and 2014, and the 2015 recreational quota was projected to be met. The 2015 early state waters closure was intended to help limit future early season closures and rebuild the stock.

To learn more about greater amberjack regulations and gray triggerfish, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Amberjack” and “Triggerfish.”