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Somewhere on this board, I recently saw a question about whether it was legit for a Gulf head boat to cut up fish caught on the trip to cook/serve during the trip. Sorry, I don't remember who asked and couldn't find the message again.

The answer is, "MAYBE."

The general rule at 50 CFR Sec. 622.38 says that--with some exceptions--the operator is responsible to see that fish taken in the EEZ (federal waters) are "maintained intact" through the time they are offloaded ashore. However, the fish may be "eviscerated, gilled, and scaled, but must otherwise be maintained in a whole condition." 50 CFR Sec. 622.38(a). Shark, swordfish and tuna species are exempt from the 622.38(a) requirement, 50 CFR Sec. 622.38(c)."Bait" may be exempt, 50 CFR Sec. 622.38(d)(1); and TA DA <drumroll> HERE'S THE BIGGIE: 50 CFR Sec. 622.38(d)(2) says:

***Quoting the rule********
Legal-sized finfish possessed for consumption at sea on the harvesting vessel are exempt from the requirement to have head and fins intact, provided-
(i) Such finfish do not exceed any applicable bag limit;
(ii) Such finfish do not exceed 1.5 lb (680 g) of finfish parts per person aboard; and
(iii) The vessel is equipped to cook such finfish on board.
********end of quote********

Notice that if the fish is of a species subject to a bag limit (AJ, snapper), it cannot have been caught by a crewmember because crewmember's bag limits are zero.
 
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