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Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
News Release
Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Final Rule Modifies the Number of Unrigged Hooks Carried On Board 
Bottom Longline Vessels in the Gulf of Mexico 


NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule modifying commercial bottom longline regulations in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf).


  • Regulations will be effective February 6, 2018.


  • The 1,000 hooks per vessel limit onboard commercial reef fish vessels with a bottom longline endorsement in the Gulf when fishing for reef fish east of 85°30' west longitude (Cape San Blas, Florida) has been removed.
  • The limit of 750 hooks that could be rigged for fishing on commercial reef fish vessels with a bottom longline endorsement in the Gulf remains unchanged.
  • Bottom longline endorsement holders in the Gulf can now carry an unlimited amount of additional hooks onboard their vessel.

FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER:  83 FR 5210 published February 6, 2018.


Why are these changes needed?

  • Implemented in 2010, Amendment 31 placed a restriction on the number of hooks bottom longline fishermen with an endorsement could carry on board their vessel to help protect sea turtles; 1,000 total hooks of which no more than 750 could be rigged for fishing.
  • Currently, reef fish bottom longline fishermen can only carry 250 extra unrigged hooks onboard their vessels.
  • Industry representatives indicated this was not enough hooks for longer trips due to hook loss, and NOAA Fisheries observer data supported this.
  • After the 250 extra hooks are used, the vessel must return to port, reduce the number of hooks fished, or be resupplied by another vessel.
  • Allowing additional unrigged hooks on board should make multi-day trips more economical while still maintaining the observed reduction in sea turtle interactions since the implementation of Amendment 31.
  • Area rule affects (see map below).


Where can I find more information on this rule?

Number of Unrigged Hooks Carried On Board Bottom Longline Vessels Abbreviated Framework may be 

Additional information on bottom longline rulemakings in the Gulf of Mexico may be found at:  

Contact NOAA FIsheries, Southeast Regional Office
By Mail: Kelli O'Donnell 
NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

Sustainable Fisheries Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505
By FAX: (727) 824-5308
By Phone: (727) 824-5305


About Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Council prepares fishery management plans, which are designed to manage fishery resources within the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.

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