Blueline Tilefish (Amendment 6 to the Tilefish FMP)

Photo Credit: Duane Raver, Jr.

Photo Credit: Duane Raver, Jr.

The Council began development of the Blueline Tilefish Amendment (Amendment 6) to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan in April 2015. This action was initiated because there was no permanent federal management of blueline tilefish north of North Carolina* and no state management north of Maryland.

Amendment 6 would establish management measures for the blueline tilefish fishery north of the Virginia/North Carolina border, including: Permitting, record keeping, and reporting requirements; trip limits for both the commercial and recreational sectors of the fishery; and the process for setting specifications and annual catch limits. In addition, this action would set 2017 harvest limits.

* For management south of Virginia see the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's website.

Contact

Jason Didden, Fishery Plan Coordinator - jdidden@mafmc.org; (302) 526-5254

Amendment Status

Recent updates are listed in reverse chronological order.

June 28, 2017: NOAA Fisheries published a proposed rule for Amendment 6 to the Tilefish FMP. The comment period for the proposed rule closes on July 28, 2017.

June 14, 2017: NOAA Fisheries published a notice of availability for Amendment 6 to the Tilefish FMP. Comments will be accepted until August 14, 2017. Click here to read Amendment 6 (includes draft EA/RIR).

June 14, 2016 - NOAA Fisheries announces interim management measures for the blueline tilefish fishery in the Greater Atlantic Region. 

April 2016 - The Council approved federal management measures for blueline tilefish and approved the Blueline Tilefish Amendment for submission to the Secretary of Commerce. 

March 2016 - The Council will hold four public hearings will be held between March 21 and March 29, 2016 and accept written public comments until Wednesday, March 30, 2016. Click here for dates, locations, and details. Click here for the Public Hearing Document.  The SSC is also meeting March 29 to finalize its blueline tilefish ABC recommendations.  See http://www.mafmc.org/council-events/2016/march-29-ssc-webinar for details.  Update: the SSC set the ABC at approx. 87,000 pounds.

October 2015 Council Meeting: The Council reviewed a preliminary set of alternatives for blueline tilefish management and endorsed development of a range of alternatives in a full Environmental Assessment to be reviewed at a future Council meeting. The Council also voted to request that NMFS publish a control date notice for all sectors (commercial and recreational) of the blueline tilefish fishery. 

August 2015 Council Meeting: The Council reviewed scoping comments and voted to proceed with an Amendment to the Golden Tilefish Fishery Management Plan to address blueline tilefish management issues. 

June 1-18, 2015: Scoping hearings were held throughout the Mid-Atlantic region to gather public input on blueline tilefish management in the Mid-Atlantic.

June 4, 2015: NMFS implemented emergency measures, as requested by the Council, establishing a commercial possession limit of 300 pound (whole weight) per trip, a recreational limit of 7 fish per person per trip, and a requirement that commercial and charter/party vessels must hold a valid open access golden tilefish permits to land blueline tilefish. (*See note at bottom of page regarding additional state regulations.)

April 2015 Council Meeting: The Council voted to initiate scoping for the management of Blueline Tilefish and/or a deepwater complex in the Mid-Atlantic. 

Documents

* Note: Mid-Atlantic states may have their own regulations that additionally limit what offshore anglers can bring back into state waters, so anglers should check with any state whose state waters they may enter.  For example, Virgina has a combined tilefish limit as well as a mandatory free recreational blueline tilefish permit and mandatory recreational reporting.