Fisheries and Management

as of December 2017

The table below provides information on federal and state regulations in the Gulf of Mexico for each of 28 species of marine fishes of fishery or conservation importance in the region. For each species, scores of 1 to 4 are provided to represent the degree to which existing regulations provide protection for spawning adults. For each category, a score of 1 represents complete protection (e.g. fishery closure) and low vulnerability to fishing. Conversely, a score of 4 indicates that few or no management measures are in place to protect spawning, and vulnerability to fishing is high. There are four categories of management (catch and effort limits, gear measures, seasonal restrictions, and site closures) for each federal and state waters.

Details and references related to the categories and the scoring system are provided in the metadata table below and the excel spreadsheet on management parameters that is downloadable on this web page. Background information on extrinsic factors that influence the vulnerability of spawning aggregations to fishing (e.g. management regulations and fisher behavior) are available in the Methods section of this website.

(Click here to download the full dataset in Excel file with notes, metadata, and references included)

Citation for Data set (Excel file)
Biggs, C., B. Erisman, W. Heyman, S.Kobara, N. Farmer, S. Lowerre-Barbieri, M. Karnauskas, and J. Brenner. (2018). Cooperative monitoring program for spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico: Management Parameters. Version 2018.03. Available from GCOOS Web site:

Common Name FMP Category Scientific Name Federal Catch limits Federal Gear measures Federal Seasonal Restriction Federal Site closures State Catch limits State Gear measures State Seasonal Restriction State Site closures


Management Parameters

FMP Category Category as defined by the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
Common Name American Fisheries Society Common Name
Scientific Name Official scientific name based on most current taxonomic literature.
Federal Catch and Effort Limits (1-4) High level of catch limits (1) scaling to no catch limits (4). Total regulations are the sum of the average number of recreational and average number of commercial regulations per state, which include; minimum size, maximum size and daily/bag limit or quota. Scores for each species are as follows: 1 = 5 or more regulations or a complete fishery closure; 2 = 4 regulations; 3 = 2-3 regulations; 4 = 0-1 regulations.
Federal Gear Measures (1-4) High level of gear restrictions (1) scaling to no limits on gear use (4). Scores for each species as follows: 1 = 0 to 2 allowable gear types or a complete fishery closure; 2 = 3 to 5 allowable gear types; 3 = 6 to 8 allowable gear types; 4 = 9 or more allowable gear types.
Federal Seasonal Restrictions (1-4) High level of spawning season prohibition of take or trade (1) scaling to no restrictions (4). The value is the least restrictive score of recreational and commercial seasonal restrictions. Scores for each species, listed separately for commercial and recreational fisheries, as follows: 1 = closed during entire spawning season or complete fishery closure; 2 = seasonal closure during the peak spawning season; 3 = seasonal closure not during spawning; 4 = none.
Federal Site Closures (1-4) High compliance spatial closure of spawning site (1) scaling to no spatial closures (4). Scores for each species as follows: 1 = site closed all year or complete fishery closure; 2 = seasonal site closures; 3 = gear restrictions; 4 = no regulations. Site closures within state waters are rare and spatially minimal, so they've not been scored.
State Catch and Effort Limits (1-4) Same scoring system as federal but using the average number of regulations across the 5 Gulf states.
State Gear Measures (1-4) Same scoring system as federal but using the average number of allowable gears across the 5 Gulf states.
State Seasonal Restrictions (1-4) Same scoring system as federal except for criteria used for a score of 2; 2 = partial seasonal closure; only part of the spawning season is closed in some or all of the Gulf states.
State Site Closures (1-4) State site closures are few in number and spatially minimal. Therefore, all species received a score of 4 (no regulations).