Grouper change Talks A part of FWC meeting
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will meet Feb. 13-14 in Orlando to discuss several fisheries issues that will affect anglers in the coming year.
The big news involves grouper proposals. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council recently voted to eliminate the current Feb. 1 through March 31 shallow-water grouper closed season shoreward of the 20-fathom break. The recreational harvest of red, black, scamp, yellowfin and yellowmouth grouper would be permitted all year unless anglers are fishing in water deeper than 20 fathoms. Beyond 20 fathoms, the Feb. 1-March 31 recreational closed season would remain in effect. But before this becomes law, the Secretary of Commerce must approve the changes.
In regard to gag grouper, the Gulf Council chose to open the season July 1 in federal waters, which begin 9 miles offshore in the gulf, and keep it open until the annual catch target has been met, which by best estimates, will take 133 to 155 days. The season will probably close sometime in November. This rule must also be approved by the Secretary of Commerce. The state will follow the federal rules in most of its waters, except for the state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties, which, according to the proposal, would open April 1.
While state and federal officials work out future regulations, anglers should take note that the season for several species of grouper closes today in state and federal waters of the gulf. They include: black, red, yellowmouth, yellowfin grouper, scamp, red hind and rock hind. The season will reopen April 1. Gag grouper has a separate season and is now closed to harvest.
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2/1 9:25 3:15 9:55 3:40
2/2 10:20 4:10 10:50 4:35
2/3 11:15 5:05 11:45 5:30
2/4 0 5:55 12:05 6:25
2/5 12:40 6:50 1:00 7:20
2/6 1:35 7:45 1:55 8:15
2/7 2:30 8:40 2:50 9:10