NOAA Closes Recreational Fishery for Black Sea Bass
The Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife received notice today, Sept. 30, that effective Monday, Oct. 5, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued an emergency closure of recreational fishing for black sea bass in all federal waters north of Cape Hatteras, N.C., for 180 days.
The emergency closure came in response to recent landings data and scientific analyses that show recreational fishermen have already reached their annual quota. If the fishery is not closed, estimates indicate catches could total more than double that quota by the end of the year, exceeding the 1.14 million pound harvest limit by as much as 84 to 225 percent.
Federal waters include all coastal waters outside the state’s 3-mile jurisdiction, where the vast majority of Delaware’s recreational sea bass landings occur. All recreational fishermen fishing in federal waters outside of Delaware’s jurisdiction are subject to these rules and regulations.
“This will have some impact on Delaware anglers but most of the black sea bass harvest is typically already landed by the end of September,” said Acting Fisheries Administrator Craig Shirey.
Normally Delaware anglers would have landed about 85 percent of the total sea bass harvest for the year by this time, but anglers should be aware of the closure and should not target or keep black sea bass for at least the next six months. The emergency closure does not affect the commercial fishery as those fishermen are under a strict quota with mandatory federal reporting requirements.
For more information, contact NOAA by calling Mike Ruccio at 978-281-9104 or George Darcy at 978-281-9331.