Dehooker Device Regs

Tom HiltonTom Hilton Posts: 1,581 Captain
edited April 2018 in Conservation Front #1
I was approached by a local well-respected charter captain who asked me to reach out to the recreational fishermen to inform them that there will be a concerted push to enforce the dehooking device requirement this fishing season.  Apparently these rules have been in effect for almost 5 years now but they WILL be enforcing them with hefty fines this year.   This applies to private recs - I think most people are aware of the non-stainless circle hook rule but apparently not many people are aware of the dehooking device requirement.

§ 622.30
Required fishing gear.
For a person on board a vessel to fish for Gulf reef fish in the Gulf EEZ, the vessel must possess on board and such person must use the gear as specified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section.
(a) Non-stainless steel circle hooks. Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits.
(b) Dehooking device. At least one dehooking device is required and must be used to remove hooks embedded in Gulf reef fish with minimum damage. The hook removal device must be constructed to allow the hook to be secured and the barb shielded without re-engaging during the removal process. The dehooking end must be blunt, and all edges rounded. The device must be of a size appropriate to secure the range of hook sizes and styles used in the Gulf reef fish fishery.
[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 46822, Aug. 2, 2013]

I don’t think it has to be a specific dehooker, such as a pvc turtle dehooker - just have a dehooking device onboard (or preferably 2 in case one gets lost overboard while dehooking a fish), use it as required, and you’ll be fine.

The fines are $250 for FIRST OFFENSE, and $500 for 2nd and 3rd offense.

$250 for the FIRST offense is a bit excessive so beat them at their own game and have 1 (or 2) onboard.

Thanks to the charter captain and a federal LEO for their efforts to save us all from needless grief and monies lost due to this little-known rule.

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