King mackerel is divided into two migratory groups: Gulf and Atlantic. The groups are divided into zones and subzones, and each group, zone, and subzone may have a separate quota and trip limit. The boundary between the Gulf and Atlantic groups shifts north on November 1 and south on April 1 of each year. In addition, new quotas are effective for the 2012/2013 fishing season. Please see maps and charts on page 2.
Gulf Group King Mackerel Zones and Subzones
The Western zone includes waters off Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and remains the same area year-round. This zone has a trip limit of 3,000 pounds per day. This zone closed August 22, 2012, and will reopen July 1, 2013.
Florida East Coast (Mixing Zone)
On the east coast of Florida, from November 1 through March 31, fish harvested south of the Flagler/Volusia County line to the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line are considered to be Gulf group king mackerel. The trip limit for this Florida East Coast subzone during this time period is 50 fish per day, until February 1, when the trip limit may increase to 75 fish per day, if 75 percent of the quota has not been reached.
Florida West Coast
The west coast is divided into Northern and Southern subzones.
The Northern subzone extends north and west from the Lee/Collier County line to the Florida/Alabama state line and remains the same area year-round. This subzone closed October 5, 2012, and will reopen July 1, 2013.
From November 1 to March 31, the Southern subzone extends south and east from the Lee/Collier County line to the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line. With the April boundary shift between the Gulf and Atlantic groups to the Monroe/Collier County line, the Southern subzone for the Gulf group king mackerel is reduced to the area off Collier County, and Monroe County becomes part of the Atlantic group. The quota for Gulf group king mackerel in the Southern subzone is divided equally between the hook-and-line and gillnets sectors. The hook-and-line sector remains open at this time. The gillnet sector will open January 22, 2013.
Both the Northern and Southern subzones have a hook-and-line trip limit of 1,250 pounds per day until 75 percent of the quota is reached. After that, the trip limit is 500 pounds per day until the end of the fishing season or the quota is met. The gillnet sector in the Southern subzone has at trip limit of 25,000 pounds per day.
Atlantic Group King Mackerel Zones
The Northern zone is the area from the Flagler/Volusia County line on Florida's east coast north to the intersection point of New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. This zone has the same area year-round and a 3,500-pound per day trip limit.
From November through March, the Atlantic group Southern zone does not exist because this area becomes part of the Gulf group when the boundary between Gulf and Atlantic groups shifts east and north to the Flagler/Volusia County line on November 1 (see above). The new fishing year for Atlantic group king mackerel begins March 1, but the east coast of Florida remains part of the Gulf group until April 1, when the boundary shifts back to the Monroe/Collier County line.
From April through October, the Southern zone for Atlantic group king mackerel is from the Flagler/Volusia County line on Florida's east coast to the Monroe/Collier County line on Florida's west coast, which is the boundary between the Gulf and Atlantic groups during that period.
During April through October, the trip limit for waters off Volusia County is 3,500 pounds per day - the same as the trip limit for the Northern zone. The trip limit for the area south of the Volusia/Brevard County line to the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line is 75 fish per day. The trip limit off Monroe County is 1,250 pounds per day.