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Atlantic Grouper Season 2021

author
Earl Hamilton
• Sunday, 20 June, 2021
• 9 min read

The FCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) manages the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean differently, and it’s important to know what’s in season and what you can harvest from each shoreline. The Gulf of Mexico is a unique body of water that provides commercial and recreational anglers plenty of fishing opportunities.

grouper florida table waters gulf laws federal fishing above choose state right open
(Source: salty101.com)

Contents

The Gulf covers most of Florida’s west coast, from Pensacola in the Panhandle to the start of the Everglades at the tip of the peninsula. This is important to keep in mind as there are different regulations for what’s in season and what you can harvest depending on if you’re in state or federal waters.

For Gag Grouper fishing in the Gulf, it’s important to note what county you’re embarking from. For counties of Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson (in the Panhandle area from Apalachicola to Steinhatchee) there is open season in state waters from April 1 to June 30, and again from September 1 to December 31.

Black, Red, Scamp, Yellow fin and Yellow mouth Grouper all have similar regulations in the Gulf. It’s open season in both state and federal waters for Rock Hind, Coney, Yellow edge and Snowy Groupers.

You can ask your charter captain if the size you have is a keeper or not; or refer to the FCC regulations to make sure you’re staying compliant. Now moving east to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean where there are excellent opportunities for grouper fishing.

From the Florida Keys to Jacksonville, anglers have hundreds of cities to choose from to launch your grouper expedition. The real question is, what subspecies of grouper you’ll find at the end of your line.

tropical atlantic season virginia water radio two cyclone week grouper
(Source: vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com)

East Coast anglers should mark your calendars for May 1, this is when Gag Grouper and Black Grouper season opens from the Keys to Duval County (Jacksonville area). The season runs until December 31, and each angler can collect one or the other each trip within the 3 grouper aggregate.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council would like to gain a better understanding of what’s happening on the water. All anglers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish from a private vessel are required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation.

Those with a Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation will meet the statewide requirement until the Gulf designation expires, even if you are fishing on the Atlantic coast. Gulf state waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles.

Atlantic state waters are from shore to 3 nautical miles. Participation mandatory to fish for grouper in Florida waters.

Expand All | Collapse All 1 gag or black within the 3 grouper aggregate Note: In the Atlantic reef fish fishery, gear rules require hooking tools, and as of Jan. 1, 2021, non-stainless steel hooks in all state waters, and non-offset circle hooks N. of 28 ° N. latitude.

grouper florida season opens atlantic
(Source: www.releaseboatworks.com)

Several species of Gulf grouper (red, black, scamp, yellow fin and yellow mouth) are closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom break. Recreational anglers are encouraged to use electronic charting equipment to plot the 20-fathom break by entering the established coordinates listed on the map below into a route.

Monroe County: Several species of Atlantic grouper (red, black, yellow fin, yellow mouth, scamp, rock hind, red hind, Coney and grays by) are closed Jan. 1 – April 30 in all state and federal waters 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 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.

Western boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region. Eastern boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region.

In the Atlantic and state waters of Monroe County, the grouper closure ends April 30, and harvest will reopen May 1. Gag grouper will close to recreational harvest in Gulf state and federal waters Jan. 1, 2021.

For gag grouper, state waters off Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson counties will reopen to harvest April 1 through June 30 and Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. In the Atlantic and state waters of Monroe County, the grouper closure ends April 30, and harvest will reopen May 1.

grouper florida season fishing coast
(Source: www.fishanywhere.com)

Gag grouper will close to recreational harvest in Gulf state and federal waters Jan. 1, 2021. For gag grouper, state waters off Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson counties will reopen to harvest April 1 through June 30 and Sept. 1 through Dec. 31.

These changes are consistent with requirements in the Atlantic federal waters that recently took effect and, along with emphasizing best fishing practices through educational resources and strategic messaging, will help empower anglers to conserve fisheries for the future. Allowing the use of other types of non-stainless steel hooks south of 28 degrees north latitude accommodates for regionally important south Florida fisheries, such as yellowtail snapper, in which the use of J hooks allows for greater efficiency and reduces discard mortality.

Abbreviated Framework 2 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region proposes to adjust the annual catch limits for South Atlantic vermilion snapper and black sea bass in response to the results of the… Regulatory Amendment 28 ends overfishing of golden tile fish by reducing the total annual catch limit (ACL) to 342,000 lb.

Actions adjusted the annual catch limits (ACL) for South Atlantic red grouper in response to the results of the latest stock assessment. The proposed temporary measures reduced the golden tile fish annual catch limits (ACL) (total, commercial, and recreational) for 2018.

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4 www.usatoday.com - https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/20/fish-seafood-fraud-common-oceana-report/1927065/
5 www.thedailymeal.com - https://www.thedailymeal.com/what-is-chilean-sea-bass/5714
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8 www.webmd.com - https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-best-worst-fish