The recreational harvest of gag grouper in Gulf of Mexico federal waters off Florida will be prohibited beginning Jan. 1. Federal fisheries managers recently announced a temporary rule that closes Gulf federal waters to recreational fishing for gag grouper for six months while they develop long-term measures to improve gag grouper populations. Gulf federal waters extend beyond nine nautical miles from Florida’s shoreline.
Gulf state waters (from shore out to nine nautical miles) will remain open for recreational gag grouper harvest until Feb. 1. However, people on federally permitted for-hire reef-fish vessels may not harvest or possess gag grouper in state waters during the temporary federal closure.