Often mistaken for sharks or remoras, cobia are often found near structure, such as buoys, debris, and artificial reefs, and are rarely seen in large groups. Cobia are a popular sport fish—they put up a good fight and taste great, too. Limited amounts of cobia are also caught commercially in the Gulf—while commercial fishermen do not specifically target cobia, they harvest them incidentally while fishing for other species. Most of the cobia you’ll find in the market comes from aquaculture operations.
Federal authorities including NOAA Fisheries and the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils are responsible for monitoring and managing fisheries for cobia. Any applicable state management measures are fairly consistent with federal measures—some states automatically adopt federal regulations; others have separate regulations. For example, cobia is officially designated a saltwater game fish in Mississippi—this status prohibits the sale of cobia caught in Mississippi territorial waters or landed in Mississippi.
Gulf state and federal enforcement agents partner to enforce fisheries laws and regulations. The Gulf states also help collect data on commercial and recreational fisheries for cobia, providing important information to support management of this valuable resource.
For more information about cobia, including its status, biological information, and a description of the fishery and how it's managed, see NOAA’s FishWatch.gov.