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Regulation update

Starting Jan. 1, 2021, several new regulation changes go into effect for blueline tilefish in Atlantic state waters. Changes include: Establishing a three blueline tilefish recreational bag limit within the three-fish aggregate bag limit for grouper and tilefish in Atlantic state waters. Setting the Atlantic state waters recreational season for harvest to be May 1 through Aug. 31.

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Gulf State

Minimum Size Limit: None

Daily Bag Limit: 100 pounds or 2 per person, whichever is greater

Atlantic State

Minimum Size Limit: None

Daily Bag Limit: 1 per person within the 3 grouper aggregate

Federal - Gulf and Atlantic

Minimum Size Limit: None

Daily Bag Limit:

  • Gulf: Included in the 20 reef fish aggregate
  • Atlantic: 1 per person, within 3 grouper/tilefish aggregate

Gulf State

Minimum Size Limit: None

Daily Bag Limit: 100 pounds or 2 per person, whichever is greater

Atlantic State

Minimum Size Limit: None 

Daily Bag Limit: 100 pounds or 2 per person, whichever is greater (starting Jan. 1, 2021, limit will be 3 blueline tilefish within the three-fish aggregate bag limit for grouper and tilefish in Atlantic state waters).

Season: Open year-round. (Starting Jan. 1, 2021, the season will be open only from May 1 through Aug. 31.)

Federal - Gulf and Atlantic

Minimum Size Limit: None

Daily Bag Limit: 

  • Gulf: Included in 20 reef fish aggregate
  • Atlantic: 3 per person. Open May 1 through Aug. 31.
Golden tilefish

Gear Requirements

  • Reef fish gear requirements apply
  • In the Atlantic reef fish fishery, gear rules require dehooking tools, and as of Jan. 1, 2021, non-stainless steel hooks in all state waters, and non-offset circle hooks N. of 28 ° N. latitude.

Description

Tilefish inhabit the outer continental shelf and upper continental slope along the entire east coast of the United States and the Gulf of Mexico south to Venezuela. They are found in waters from 250-1,500 feet deep, where bottom temperatures range from 49° to 58° F. Individuals live in cone-shaped burrows, and concentrate in small groups or pods. Females are smaller than males, although whether or not the species displays hermaphrodism is unknown. Tilefish feed during the day on the bottom on crustaceans, clams, snails, worms, anemones and sea cucumbers.

Image courtesy of Duane Raver