Image credit: NOAA - Contact
Habitat and Distribution
This species is on sand and mud bottoms from Nova Scotia to Surinam, including the Gulf of Mexico.
Spawning season in the Gulf of Mexico
The spawning season for this species in the GOM is from January to June with a peak in April.
Tilefish form and live in burrows on soft-bottom slope habitat, clay outcroppings along the walls of submarine canyons, and under rocks and large boulders from 80 to 300 meters or deeper off the continental shelf edge and slope. No information is available on their spawning behavior or spawning patterns. However, fish are commonly observed in pairs within burrows, which would indicate a paired social and mating system. Also, males reach larger sizes and develop a conspicuously enlarged predorsal adipose flap as a putative indicator of breeding status. There is evidence of protogynous hermaphroditism and gonochorism, but their sexual pattern has not been confirmed. Based on available information, there is no evidence to support the formation of spawning aggregations.
Fishing Patterns in Relation to Spawning
Commercial landings are consistent throughout the year and average monthly landings are greater during non-spawning months than spawning months. Recreational landings are highest in January and February, which is the beginning of the spawning season. They decrease for the reamainder of the spawning season.
Management of Spawning Aggregations
The commercial fishery is managed under the IFQ program and there are no seasonal closures for either the commercial or recreational fishery. There is no recreational catch limit in federal waters. The recreational fishery is subject to a daily catch limt in state waters, except for Texas and Alabama which do not set a limit. Madison Swanson, Steamboat Lumps and the Edges are closed year round.