At this time of year, commercial fishermen are shifting their strategy to accommodate the fall fishing season.The American commercial fisheries industry is the most heavily regulated fishery in the world, so plans must consider a variety of factors, including federal regulations, state requirements, quotas and the possibility of a prematurely closed season.
Fishing in federal waters (3 to 9 miles offshore, to a distance of 200 miles) falls under the jurisdiction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The service has developed commercial fishing regulations for the nation's six sectors: Alaska, Northeast, Northwest, Pacific Islands, Southeast and Southwest.
In general, the Northeast looks forward to both sea and striped bass, tautaug (blackfish), tuna and swordfish. In the Southeast, grouper, red snapper and sea bass are in season. On the West Coast, fishing focuses on Chinook salmon and herring.
However, these generalities can be deceiving. Last year, commercial fishing of salmon was banned in California. This year, fishing was banned at different times in the Gulf Coast because of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Just because a fish is "in season" does not mean it is legal to catch.Each individual state has also developed commercial fishing regulations in its waters (from the coast to 3 - 9 miles offshore, depending on the state), which are more stringent than federal requirements. Some seasons are based on quotas and can therefore end early. In addition, some states ban the commercial possession of certain species. Such bans may be in effect for years while others can be put into effect immediately, under emergency situations. Regulations vary from state to state. For the latest information it is best to check for your state's division of fish and wildlife.