Managed by: SAFMC
The golden tilefish is easily distguishable fom other members of the family Malacanthidae by the large adipose flap, or crest, on the head. The species is blue-green and iridescent on the back, with numerous spots of bright yellow and gold. The belly is white and the head is rosy, with blue under the eyes. The pectoral fins are sepia-colored, and the margin of the anal fin is purplish-blue.
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. Sexual maturity is reached when fish are about 27 inches long and weigh about 9 pounds. Spawning occurs from March to September, and females lay from 2-8 million pelagic eggs. Tilefish feed during the day on the bottom on crustaceans, clams, snails, worms, anemones and sea cucumbers. They can reach lengths of 38 inches, although growth is slow.
South Atlantic Federal Regulations
(For areas three-200 miles off the coasts of NC, SC, GA, and East Florida)
New: Golden Tilefish Commercial Fishery CLOSED effective May 5, 2013. See Fishery Bulletin for details.
New: Golden Tilefish Commercial Longline Endorsement Program is implemented effective May 23, 2013. See Fishery Bulletin for details.
On March 22, 2013, the 300 pound trip limit will took effect and will be in place until the quota is reached and golden tilefish closes or until the end of the current fishing year (December 31, 2013), whichever occurs first.
Commercial harvest increased to 4,000 pound trip limit, effective 12:01 a.m. March 13 through 12:01 am March 22, 2013. See Fishery Bulletin for details.
- Gear restrictions apply.
- Annual commercial quota:
- Effective October 9, 2012, the commercial Annual Catch Limit (quota) for golden tilefish increases from 282,819 pounds (gw) to 541,295 pounds (gw). See Fishery Bulletin for details.
- Commercial trip limit - 4,000 pounds (gw). The trip limit will decrease to 300 lbs. gw if 75% of the quota is taken on or before September 1.
- Included in the 3-grouper per person bag limit. A limit of one per person within the 3-grouper per person aggregate bag limit.
- Effective October 9, 2012, the recreational Annual Catch Limit (quota) for golden tilefish increases to 3,019 fish based on a sector allocation of 97% commercial and 3% recreational, and new Accountability Measures are implemented. See Fishery Bulletin for details.
- Gear restrictions apply.
- Captain and crew of for-hire and charter vessels have a bag limit of zero (0).