Sea Bass Closes in South Atlantic Waters

    The National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal governing body of fishery-related issues across the United States has closed all recreational harvest of black sea bass from federal waters of the South Atlantic region beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 12, 2011. Sea bass will be closed until June 1, 2011.             
    The South Atlantic region extends in the Atlantic Ocean from the North Carolina-Virginia border south to Key West. Federal waters extend from three miles offshore to 200 miles. The rule applies to anglers fishing from private boats, charter boats or head boats, also called party boats.             
    The NMFS considers black sea bass in these areas to be overfished. In Florida waters, recreational anglers are permitted to catch and keep 15 black sea bass per person, per day of a minimum length of 12 inches.             
    Along with the recent closure of black sea bass, the following fisheries are presently closed to harvest in South Atlantic waters: red snapper (indefinitely), vermilion snapper (Nov. 1 through March 31) and shallow water grouper ? gag, black, red and scamp among them (Jan. 1 through April 30).             
    The recent sea bass rule is outlined in Amendment 17B to the Snapper-Grouper Fishery Management Plan. To learn more, visit www.safmc.net.

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