4 Florida counties open April 1 to gag grouper recreational harvest

March 30, 2016

miguel-Parga
*(Maps: To see maps of these areas, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing and select “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Grouper”.)

4 Florida counties open April 1 to gag grouper recreational harvest

State waters off the coast of Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties will open to recreational harvest of gag grouper starting April 1.

This regional season will remain open through June 30, with the first day of the closure being July 1. The season also includes all waters of Apalachicola Bay and Indian Pass, including those in Gulf County, and all waters of the Steinhatchee River, including those in Dixie County.

As a reminder, the minimum size limit for gag and black grouper caught in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters is expected to change from 22 inches to 24 inches total length later this spring.

In addition, the gag grouper season in the remainder of Gulf of Mexico state waters also is expected to change from July 1 through Dec. 3, to June 1 through Dec. 31. A news release will be issued when the size limit and season change. These changes will be posted online and can be found at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater” and “Recreational Regulations.” State waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties will not be open for gag fishing July through December. Monroe County state waters follow Atlantic grouper rules.

The season in all federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico is also expected to change later this spring from July 1 through Dec. 2, to June 1 through Dec. 31.

Gag grouper caught in state Gulf waters (from shore to 9 nautical miles out) April 1 to May 31 off the four-county open region can be landed on the Gulf County side of Indian Pass and the Dixie County side of the Steinhatchee River, but may not be taken ashore in other areas if those areas are closed to harvest. For example, a gag grouper caught April 1 in state waters off Jefferson County cannot be taken ashore in Levy County or parts of Dixie County outside of the Steinhatchee River. To see maps of these areas, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing and select “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Grouper.”

The bag limit is two gag grouper per person. Recreational anglers targeting groupers in the Gulf may harvest no more than four grouper per person per day (within this four-fish limit, anglers may keep only two gag grouper).

If you plan to fish for gag grouper in Gulf state or federal waters from a private recreational vessel, please make sure you are currently signed up as a Gulf Reef Fish Angler (annual renewal is required).  To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Reef Fish Survey.” Sign up today at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.

To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Grouper.”

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