Tallahassee, Florida -- March 25, 2011 --
The recreational harvest of shallow-water groupers in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters off Florida, except in all waters of Monroe County, reopens on April 1. However, the recreational harvest of gag grouper is still prohibited in Gulf federal waters off Florida (beyond nine nautical miles from shore). Also, persons on federally permitted for-hire reef fish vessels may not harvest or possess gag grouper in both federal and state Gulf waters (within nine nautical miles from shore).
The Gulf recreational shallow-water grouper fishery (gag, black, red, yellowfin, scamp, yellowmouth, rock hind and red hind) has been closed since Feb. 1 to protect gag grouper, which are often found and caught with the other grouper species. This two-month closure during Gulf grouper spawning season helps to reduce overfishing of gag grouper and rebuild its populations so that larger annual harvests may be possible in the future.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also reminds fishermen that the recreational and commercial harvest of shallow-water groupers (including gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, coney, graysby, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth grouper, and tiger grouper) remains closed until May 1 in all Atlantic Ocean and Monroe County waters.
More information regarding grouper fishing regulations (including size limits, bag limits and fishing seasons) and proposed changes to Gulf gag grouper fishing seasons is available online at MyFWC.com/Fishing.