Have you signed up for the Gulf Reef Fish Survey yet? Learn more.  

NEW: The Gulf red grouper daily bag limit in state and federal waters will change from 4-fish to 2-fish within the 4-grouper aggregate bag limit May 7, 2015.

NOAA Fisheries Bulletin Adobe PDF


Saltwater Black Grouper by Kyle Miller
 Photo by Kyle Miller

Grouper are managed differently in the Gulf versus the Atlantic. Click on the links below for information about grouper regulations in Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico state waters.

 

New Federal Regulations (Gulf)

NEW: The red grouper bag limit will change from 4-fish to 2-fish per person effective May 7, 2015. Learn more Adobe PDF


New Federal Regulations (Atlantic)

None currently. 


Grouper-Federal Recreational Regulations Chart

Federal waters begin where state waters end and extend about 200 nautical miles from shore. State waters are from shore to 3 nautical miles in the Atlantic and from shore to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf.

For regulations in state waters:

Gulf

Atlantic

 

Groupers

Federal Waters

Gulf of Mexico

Federal Waters

Atlantic

Grouper Aggregate 4 per person (state waters included) 3 per person (state waters and Monroe County included)

Goliath/Nassau

  Harvest prohibited (state waters included)

Gag

22" TL

2 per person within 4 grouper aggregate

2014 season: Opens July 1-Dec. 2

24 " TL

1 gag or black grouper combined per person

Closed Jan-Apr

Black

22" TL

4 per person within 4 grouper aggregate

Closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of 20 fathoms

"The Edges" closed Jan. 1 - April 30

24" TL

1 gag or black grouper combined per person

Closed Jan-Apr

Red

4 per person; expected to change to 2 per person starting May 7.

20" TL                  

Annual closures: Closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of 20 fathoms

"The Edges" closed Jan 1 - Apr 30

20" TL

within 3 grouper aggregate

Closed Jan.- April                     

   

Scamp

16" TL

within 4 grouper aggregate

Closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of 20 fathoms

"The Edges" closed Jan 1 - Apr 30

Yellowfin

20" TL

within 4 grouper aggregate

Closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of 20 fathoms

"The Edges" closed Jan 1 - Apr 30

Yellowmouth

within 4 grouper aggregate

Closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of 20 fathoms

Rock Hind/Red Hind

  

within 3 grouper aggregate

Closed Jan-Apr

Coney/Graysby/Tiger

within 3 grouper aggregate

Closed Jan-Apr

Tiger not federally managed

Yellowedge/Misty

within 4 grouper aggregate (Misty not in aggregate) within 3 grouper aggregate

Warsaw/Speckled Hind

1 of each per vessel within 4 grouper aggregate

Harvest Prohibited 

Snowy

within 4 grouper aggregate

Within the 3 grouper aggregate; 1 per vessel per day

Reef fish as bait

 Use prohibited

must have heads and fins intact through landing

 

20-Fathom Map

NOAA Fisheries has established a boundary line commonly referred to as the “20 fathom break” that approximately details the actual 20 Fathom (120 foot) depth curve. The 20 fathom depth curve is depicted on NOAA – OCS Chart #11006 

Several species of Gulf grouper (red, black, yellowfin, yellowmouth and scamp) are closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom break. Gag grouper has its own season and is also closed during this time.

To comply with the Gulf  grouper regulations, recreational anglers are encouraged to use electronic charting equipment to plot the 20-fathom break by entering the established coordinates into a route. Establishing the route will allow the captain to determine the vessels position relative to the boundary line. Simply using a depth recorder to estimate your position relative to the closed area may not be sufficient, as it is possible to find areas that are deeper than 120 feet shoreward of the boundary line as well as areas shallower than 120 feet seaward of the boundary line. In other words, the established boundary line is to be used in determining the closed area rather than water depth.    

Monroe County: Several species of Atlantic grouper (red, black, yellowfin, yellowmouth, scamp, rock hind, red hind, coney, graysby and tiger) are closed Jan. 1 - April 30 in all state and federal waters (tiger are not included in the federal closure) of the Atlantic including all state waters off Monroe County (Atlantic and Gulf sides). During this closure, anglers can harvest grouper in open federal waters of the Gulf (see mapAdobe PDF) and return to port in Monroe County by traveling through closed state waters of the Atlantic as long as the vessel proceeds directly to port without stopping to fish.

 shallow-water-grouper-map.jpg

 20-Fathom MapAdobe PDF

Gag Grouper Management Zones Adobe PDF

Click map or link above for a larger PDF.

Gag-grouper-Regulations-Map.jpg

 

Additional Grouper Resources

Learn more about grouper biology by clicking on the individual species pages below.

Links for More Information



FWC Facts:
Some snook can change sex from male to female. As a result, larger and older specimens are more likely to be female.

Learn More at AskFWC