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    68B-12.001         King Mackerel Gulf-Atlantic Fishery; Resource Renewal Policy; Designation as Restricted
    Species
    68B-12.002         Definitions
    68B-12.0035         Size Limit
    68B-12.004         Bag Limits
    68B-12.0045         Recreational Season; Season Closure
    68B-12.0046         Commercial Fishing Season for King Mackerel in the Gulf-Atlantic Fishery; Commercial
    Season Segments, Vessel and Landing Limits
    68B-12.006         Other Prohibitions
    68B-12.001 King Mackerel Gulf-Atlantic Fishery; Resource Renewal Policy; Designation as Restricted
    Species.
    (1) The purpose of this chapter is to renew and assure the continuing health and abundance of the king
    mackerel fishery in Florida waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean herein designated as the Florida
    Gulf-Atlantic Fishery. This measure is founded upon evidence publicly received and reviewed at length by the
    Commission, deemed to be the best available information, that the king mackerel Gulf-Atlantic Fishery is
    dangerously depleted through excessive harvesting by commercial and recreational harvesters alike, and is
    at risk of further depletion, to the detriment of commercial and recreational harvesters as well as to the
    resource.
    (2) This chapter is intended to complement the provisions of Rule Chapter 68B-30, F.A.C., which regulate the
    Atlantic king mackerel fishery.
    (3) Measures to reduce fishing pressure on the Gulf-Atlantic group of king mackerel include recreational bag
    and possession limits, regional season harvest limits and daily vessel harvest and landing limits for
    commercial harvesters, and season closure for commercial harvesters to coincide with commercial harvest
    closure in adjacent federal (EEZ) waters.
    (4) King mackerel is hereby designated a restricted species pursuant to Section 379.101(32), Florida Statutes
    .
    Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const. History–New 12-
    20-84, Formerly 46-12.01, Amended 11-13-86, 11-1-88, 10-1-90, Formerly 46-12.001.

    68B-12.002 Definitions.
    For the purpose of this chapter, except where the context clearly requires otherwise:
    (1) “Commission” means the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
    (2) “Eastern Region” means all state waters of the Atlantic Ocean north of a line extended due east from the
    coastal boundary between Dade and Monroe counties and south of a line extended due east from the coastal
    boundary between Volusia and Flagler counties, between November 1 of each year and March 31 of the
    following year.
    (3) “Gulf-Atlantic Fishery” means all Florida waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean designated as
    follows, and all king mackerel in those waters: Between November 1 and March 31 the Florida Gulf-Atlantic
    Fishery consists of all Florida waters in the Gulf of Mexico and all Florida waters in the Atlantic Ocean south of
    a line extended due east from the coastal boundary between Volusia and Flagler counties (29 deg. 25 min. N.
    latitude). Between April 1 and October 31 of each year, the Gulf-Atlantic Fishery consists of all Florida waters
    in the Gulf of Mexico north of a line extended due west from the coastal boundary between Monroe and Collier
    counties (25 deg. 48 min. N. latitude).
    (4) “Harvest,” used in reference to activities of a person or a boat, means catching a king mackerel in or from
    the water by any means, then reducing the fish to possession. A king mackerel that is caught but immediately
    returned to the water free, alive and unharmed is not harvested.
    (5) “Harvest for commercial purposes” means the taking or harvesting of any king mackerel for purposes of
    sale or with intent to sell. King mackerel harvest in excess of the bag limit shall constitute harvest for
    commercial purposes.
    (6) “King mackerel,” also commonly referred to as “kingfish,” means any fish of the species Scomberomorus
    cavalla.
    (7) “Land,” when used in connection with the harvest of a fish, means the physical act of bringing the
    harvested fish ashore.
    (8) “Western Region” means all state waters of the Atlantic Ocean south and west of a line due east from the
    coastal boundary between Dade and Monroe counties and all state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, between
    November 1 of each year and March 31 of the following year, and all state waters of the Gulf of Mexico north of
    a line extended due west from the coastal boundary between Monroe and Collier counties, between April 1
    and October 31 of each year.

    Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const. History–New 12-
    20-84, Formerly 46-12.02, Amended 11-13-86, 11-1-88, 10-1-90, 7-15-96, Formerly 46-12.002.

    68B-12.0035 Size Limit.
    (1) No person shall harvest from the waters of the Gulf-Atlantic Fishery or land any king mackerel with a fork
    length less than 24 inches, measured from the tip of the snout to the rear center edge of the tail.
    (2) All king mackerel shall be landed in a whole condition. The possession, while in or on state waters, on
    any public or private fishing pier, or on a bridge or catwalk attached to a bridge from which fishing is allowed,
    or on any jetty, of any such fish that has been deheaded, sliced, divided, filleted, ground, skinned, scaled or
    deboned is prohibited. Mere evisceration or "gutting" of such fish, or mere removal of gills before landing is
    not prohibited.
    (3) It is the intent of this rule and Rule 68B-30.0025, F.A.C. to expressly repeal and replace Section 370.11(2)
    (a)3., F.S. (1993), and the remainder of Section 370.11(2)(a), F.S. (1993), as these provisions pertain to king
    mackerel.

    Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const., Chapter 83-134, Laws of Fla., as amended by Chapter 84-
    121 and Chapter 85-163, Laws of Fla. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const., Chapter 83-134, Laws of
    Fla., as amended by Chapter 84-121 and Chapter 85-163, Laws of Fla. History–New 11-29-93, Amended 6-3-
    96, Formerly 46-12.0035, Amended 10-22-99.

    68B-12.004 Bag Limits.
    (1) Except as provided in Rule 68B-12.0046, F.A.C., each person harvesting king mackerel from the Gulf-
    Atlantic fishery shall be subject to a bag limit of two fish per person, per day, unless and until the bag limit is
    reduced to one fish per person, per day pursuant to Rule 68B-12.0045(2), F.A.C.
    (2) Except as provided in Rule 68B-12.0046, F.A.C., no person shall possess while in, on, or above the waters
    of the Gulf-Atlantic fishery or on any dock, pier, bridge, beach, or other fishing site adjacent to such waters,
    more than the applicable bag limit for king mackerel specified in subsection (1) of this rule.
    (3) Possession of king mackerel in excess of the bag limit specified in subsection (1) of this rule by any
    person aboard a vessel fishing in the Gulf-Atlantic fishery constitutes a violation of this rule.
    (4) Annual Season Harvest Limit Adjustment – The goal of the Commission is to rebuild the king mackerel
    spawning stock biomass in the Gulf-Atlantic fishery, consistent with federal management measures, if in the
    best interests of the fishery and residents of the state, so that the species is no longer considered overfished
    and maximum practicable sustainable stock abundance may be maintained. To achieve that goal the
    Commission will manage the recreational Gulf-Atlantic fishery by means of fishery-wide two-step bag and
    possession limits without season closures. It is the intention of the Commission to adjust no more frequently
    than on an annual basis the bag and possession limits specified in subsections (1) and (2) of this rule, if
    adjustment is necessary to attain progress toward the goal stated above. The following procedure shall be
    used by the Commission to annually adjust the recreational bag and possession limits, if necessary:
    (a) Any adjustment to the bag and possession limits shall be applicable beginning on July 1 and be in effect
    for at least one calendar year. Once adjusted, the bag and possession limits shall remain in place until
    adjusted again pursuant to this subsection.
    (b) By June 1 of each year in which adjustment of the recreational bag and possession limits is contemplated
    for the coming season, the Commission shall hold a public hearing to which all interested persons are
    invited. The meeting shall be noticed in accordance with Section 120.525, Florida Statutes.
    (c) The adjusted bag and possession limits shall be published by notice in the Florida Administrative Weekly
    and in at least three major newspapers in coastal regions of the state within the fishery. The notices shall be
    published by June 15.

    Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const. History–New 12-
    20-84, Formerly 46-12.04, Amended 11-13-86, 11-1-88, 10-1-90, 7-15-96, Formerly 46-12.004.

    68B-12.0045 Recreational Season; Season Closure.
    (1) The king mackerel fishing season for harvesters subject to the bag limit established in Rule 68B-12.004
    (1), F.A.C. in the Gulf-Atlantic fishery shall be July 1 of each year through June 30 of the following year.
    (2) If the harvest of king mackerel in federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters adjacent to the Gulf-
    Atlantic fishery is closed to all harvesters prior to the end of the season specified in subsection (1), the
    season for harvest of king mackerel under the bag limit established in Rule 68B-12.004(1), F.A.C. in the Gulf-
    Atlantic fishery shall continue until the following July 1 under a bag limit of one fish per person, per day, upon
    notice given by the Commission, in the manner provided in s. 120.81(5), Florida Statutes.

    Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const. History–New 11-
    13-86, Amended 11-1-88, 10-1-90, Formerly 46-12.0045.

    68B-12.0046 Commercial Fishing Season for King Mackerel in the Gulf-Atlantic Fishery; Commercial
    Season Segments, Vessel and Landing Limits.
    (1) Any person harvesting or possessing king mackerel in excess of the bag and possession limits specified
    in Rule 68B-12.004, F.A.C. in the Gulf-Atlantic fishery shall also possess a valid saltwater products license
    with a restricted species endorsement and a federal commercial permit to harvest king mackerel from the
    Gulf Migratory Group.
    (2) For purposes of regulating the commercial harvest of king mackerel in the Gulf-Atlantic fishery, the fishery
    is divided into two regions, the Eastern Region and the Western Region. Harvest in each region is governed
    by daily vessel and landing limits, as specified in subsections (3) and (4) of this rule.
    (3) Eastern Region – Persons harvesting king mackerel for commercial purposes from waters of the Eastern
    Region shall have a season that begins on November 1 of each year and continues through March 31 of the
    following year, unless closed sooner by operation of this subsection.
    (a) These persons shall be subject to a commercial vessel limit of 50 king mackerel per vessel per day
    unless adjacent federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters are closed to commercial harvest of king
    mackerel. During this time, no person shall possess while in or on the waters of the region or land from a
    single vessel in any one day within this region more than 50 king mackerel.
    (b) Should adjacent federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters be closed to commercial harvest,
    commercial harvest within this region shall be prohibited from the date the 50 king mackerel season ends
    pursuant to paragraph (a) until the next season begins on the following November 1. During this closed
    season, no person shall possess while in or on the waters of the region or land within the region any king
    mackerel harvested for commercial purposes.
    (4) Western Region – Persons harvesting king mackerel for commercial purposes from waters of the
    Western Region shall have a season that begins on July 1 of each year and continues through June 30 of the
    following year, unless closed sooner by operation of this subsection. These persons shall be subject to
    commercial vessel limits effective during segments of the season as follows:
    (a) Harvest of king mackerel shall be limited to 1250 pounds of fish per vessel per day from July 1 until the
    date the daily commercial vessel limit in adjacent federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters is reduced
    to 500 pounds of king mackerel.
    (b) A limit of 500 pounds of king mackerel per vessel per day shall apply from the date the 1250 pounds of
    fish per vessel per day season segment ends pursuant to paragraph (a) until the adjacent federal Exclusive
    Economic Zone (EEZ) waters are closed to commercial harvest of king mackerel. During this season
    segment, no person shall possess while in or on the waters of the region or land from a single vessel in any
    one day within this region more than 500 pounds of king mackerel.
    (c) Harvest of king mackerel for commercial purposes within this region shall be prohibited from the date the
    500 pound season segment ends pursuant to paragraph (b) until the next season begins on the following
    July 1. During this closed season, no person shall land within the region any king mackerel harvested for
    commercial purposes.
    (d) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b), if at any time during the season adjacent federal Exclusive
    Economic Zone (EEZ) waters are closed to commercial harvest of king mackerel, the season for the
    commercial harvest of king mackerel in the region shall close pursuant to paragraph (c).
    (e) King mackerel may be landed from April 1 through June 30 in Collier County when the Western Region of
    the Gulf-Atlantic Fishery has been closed, under the following conditions:
    1. The king mackerel have been legally harvested from adjacent state or federal waters off Monroe County
    pursuant to Chapter 68B-30, F.A.C., or pursuant to Part 622 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) for
    Atlantic migratory group king mackerel,
    2. The king mackerel have been harvested pursuant to a Florida saltwater products license and restricted
    species endorsement (Section 379.362, F.S.) and a federal king mackerel permit (Part 622 CFR),
    3. The transport of king mackerel through the closed state waters off Collier County is continuous and direct
    from the area open to harvest to the place of landing, and
    4. All fishing gear must be stowed during transit through the closed area.
    (5) Notice of the closure of each season segment described in subsections (3) and (4) of this rule shall be
    given by the Commission in the manner provided in s. 120.81(5), Florida Statutes.

    Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const. History–New 10-1-
    90, Amended 12-4-91, 11-29-93, 12-28-95, 1-1-97, 1-1-98, Formerly 46-12.0046, Amended 4-1-12.

    68B-12.006 Other Prohibitions.
    (1) No person shall possess, transport, buy, sell, exchange or offer to buy, sell or exchange any king mackerel
    harvested in violation of any provision or condition of this chapter.
    (2) The prohibitions of this chapter apply as well to any and all persons operating a vessel in the Gulf-Atlantic
    fishery, who shall be deemed to have violated any prohibition which has been violated by another person
    aboard such vessel.

    Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla Const. History–New 11-
    13-86, Formerly 46-12.006.
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CHAPTER 68B-12
KING MACKEREL RESOURCE RENEWAL
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