Changes to Atlantic Cobia Management Approved
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved an amendment to remove Atlantic cobia from the current federal management plan and transfer management to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), an interstate body that manages shared migratory fisheries.
Designed to prevent inconsistent regulations in state and federal waters and improve flexibility in the management of Atlantic cobia from Georgia to New York, Amendment 31 to the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Fishery Management Plan now requires approval from the Secretary of Commerce for ASMFC to solely assume management responsibilities of said species north of the Florida state boundary.
The council approved the amendment after reviewing preliminary results from a recent Cobia Stock ID Workshop held in April and considered recommendations from its Mackerel Cobia Advisory Panel. Public comments on the amendment were also considered.
An interstate management plan for Atlantic cobia in state waters from Georgia to New York implemented by ASMFC in April 2018 aligns with current federal regulations for Atlantic cobia. Under the ASMFC Interstate Plan, state-specific allocations are established based on the current federal annual catch limit, with North Carolina and Virginia receiving the majority of the allocation based on previous landings.
Individual coastal states have submitted plans for Atlantic cobia (including regulations for a minimum size limit, vessel limit, and season) to the ASMFC, based on those allocations. The state regulations are intended to keep harvest levels below the allocated state-specific pounds of Atlantic cobia.