Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Limits placed on gag grouper catch

KEY WEST — After nearly two years of debate, federal regulators voted Thursday to reduce gag grouper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, beginning Jan. 1

Under the new rules approved by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, recreational anglers could keep two gag a day, down from the current bag limit of five.

Recreational gag fishing would be closed during February and March, which doubles the current one-month, spawning season closure.

Commercial fishermen would face a gag grouper quota for the first time, totalling 1.32-million pounds in 2009. That's less than half of the poundage of past years' catches, but more than the fleet caught in 2006 and 2007.

The fleet already has a quota on red grouper of 5.31-million pounds. That will rise to 5.75-million for 2009.

If the fleet exceeds either its red or gag quota, all commercial grouper fishing would have to halt for the rest of the calendar year. That's because grouper swim together and you can't catch one species without killing others.

Fresh local grouper sandwiches could disappear from restaurants for months.

Another rule change drops the current Feb. 15 to March 15 commercial grouper closure, which should cheer up restaurants that love to peddle grouper to tourists. In past years, fresh local grouper was unavailable during that one-month closure.

But there's a tradeoff: Regulators voted to create a four-month closed season for a long, thin area called "the Edges.'' The fertile fishing grounds, which flank water that is 240 feet deep, would be closed from January through April for both commercial and recreational anglers, though recreational anglers rarely venture out to water that deep. Gag often collect in that depth to spawn during the first third of the year, which makes them easy targets.

Because of nuances in rulemaking authority, additional changes will take place sometime in the spring or early summer, after a public comment period passes.

At that point, the recreational bag limit will change to four grouper total, including no more than two gag and two red.

The closed recreational season for 2010 will then run from Feb. 1 through March 31 for red and true black grouper, as well as for gag.

Limits placed on gag grouper catch 08/14/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 17, 2008 9:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees

    Politics

    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.