Ocean barracuda, tigerfish
Managed by: SAFMC
The wahoo is a steel blue fish above and pale blue below. It has a series of 25 to 30 irregular blackish-blue verticle bars on the sides. A distinguishing characteristic is that protrusions on the gills (gill rakers) are absent.
Wahoo occur in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans including the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. They are short-lived fish and grow rapidly, reaching lengths of up tp 60.1 inches and weights of up to 45 pounds. Both sexes are capable of reproducing during the first year of life, with males maturing at 34 inches and females at 40 inches. Spawning in the United States takes place from June to August. Wahoo are voracious predators that feed primarily on fishes such as frigate mackerel, butterfish, porcupinefish, and round herring.
South Atlantic Federal Regulations
(For areas three-200 miles off the coasts of NC, SC, GA, and East Florida)
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, in cooperation with Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils, has developed a comprehensive fishery management plan for both dolphin and wahoo in the Atlantic. The Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plan was approved by the Secretary of Commerce in December 2003. The Final Rule implementing regulations for dolphin and wahoo in Federal waters was issued on May 27, 2004. Please Contact state agencies for information regarding regulatory restrictions for harvest in state waters.
Allowable gear to be used in the fishery will include: hook-and-line gear including manual, electric, and hydraulic rods and reels; bandit gear; handlines; longlines; and spearfishing (including powerheads) gear.
Longline fishing for dolphin and wahoo is prohibited in areas closed to the use of such gear for highly migratory pelagic species (HMS);
Owners of commercial vessels and/or charter vessels/headboats must have vessel permits and, if selected, submit reports;
Dealers must have permits and, if selected, submit reports;
Longline vessels must comply with sea turtle protection measures
There is a commercial trip limit of 500 pounds for wahoo.
For a commercially permitted vessel fishing north of 39 degrees N. latitude, that does not have a federal commercial vessel permit for dolphin or wahoo, there is a trip limit of 200 pounds of dolphin and wahoo, combined.
Operators of commercial vessels, charter vessels, and headboats that are required to have a federal vessel permit for dolphin and wahoo must have and display *operator permits.
To apply for a vessel, dealer or operator permit, interested parties should contact the Permits Office, NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, or by phone at 727/824-5326.
*Note: An operator permit card issued by NOAA Fisheries' Northeast Region is valid for the South Atlantic Dolphin/Wahoo fishery. Similarly, persons who already possess an operator permit card to participate in the South Atlantic rock shrimp fishery do not need to obtain a separate operator card. For additional information, see: NOAA Fisheries' Southeast Regional Office News Release 11/4/04 (PDF) or visit NOAA Fisheries' Southeast Regional Office.
For information on how to apply for an operator permit from NMFS Northeast Region, visit their web site at www.nero.noaa.gov/fso/permits/initialapp1.htm.
Bag limit of 2 wahoo per person/per day
Recreational sale of dolphin and wahoo caught under the bag limit is prohibited unless the seller holds the necessary commercial permits.