FWC prepares for likely changes to recreational Gulf gag grouper seasons
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Media contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on
Wednesday approved a rule amendment regarding open and closed
recreational harvest seasons in 2011 for gag grouper in Gulf of
Mexico state waters that would be consistent with anticipated
interim rules in Gulf federal waters.
Gulf gag grouper are considered to be overfished and undergoing
overfishing, and federal fisheries managers are preparing a plan to
help rebuild populations of these fish in Gulf waters. In the
meantime, interim federal rules are in effect that prohibit the
recreational harvest of gag grouper in Gulf federal waters (beyond
nine nautical miles from shore). This federal prohibition is
expected to be in effect through the end of 2011, except for a
planned Sept. 16 through Nov. 15 open recreational harvest season
for gag grouper in the Gulf.
The FWC believes that applying the same recreational open and
closed harvest seasons for gag grouper in Gulf state waters (inside
nine nautical miles from shore) as in federal offshore waters would
maximize fishing opportunities for anglers and charter boat
operators along Florida's Gulf coast and provide economic benefits
to this region.
The FWC's rule for Gulf state waters, except Monroe County
waters, would establish a closed gag grouper recreational harvest
season of June 1 through the end of 2011, except for an open gag
grouper recreational harvest season of Sept. 16 through Nov. 15.
These seasons would apply this year only, and they are contingent
upon approval of the same gag grouper harvest seasons in Gulf
More information regarding the FWC's
Gulf gag grouper approved rule amendment is available online at
MyFWC.com/Commission, linked from the April 6-7 meeting agenda.
This rule takes effect on June 1, contingent upon approval of the
federal Gulf gag grouper recreational seasons.