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Black Grouper Regulations

author
Brent Mccoy
• Friday, 30 October, 2020
• 7 min read

Brownish gray in color with dark worm-like markings on sides; strong serrated spur at bottom margin of properly, less noticeable in large specimens; fins dark, with anal and caudal having white margin; often confused with gag grouper ; most noticeable differences are brassy spots on black grouper ; tail of gag is slightly concave, blackgrouper's tail is square; gag has white margin on anal and caudal fins, black does not; under 10 pounds, gag's spur on properly is distinctive, where black is gently rounded. Open Season: May 1 – December 31 Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the recreational Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met.

(Source: lusamerica.com)

Contents

Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species. At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage.

Definition of a Descending Device: an instrument to which is attached a minimum of a 16 ounce weight and a length of line that will release the fish at the depth from which the fish was caught or a minimum of 60 feet. Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing.

All species must be landed with head and fins intact Recreational Bag Limit sales are prohibited Open Season: May 1 – December 31 Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the commercial Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met.

Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species. At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage.

Definition of a Descending Device: an instrument to which is attached a minimum of a 16 ounce weight and a length of line that will release the fish at the depth from which the fish was caught or a minimum of 60 feet. Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing.

grouper gag offshore ars florida
(Source: forums.floridasportsman.com)

Adults are associated with rocky bottoms, reef, and drop off walls in water over 60 feet deep. They are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that young predominantly female who transform into males as they grow larger.

Larger individuals of this species are generally found in greater depths, and they feed on fish and squid. U.S. wild-caught black grouper is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations.

Fishing gears used to harvest black grouper have minimal impacts on habitat. The groupers complex is not subject to overfishing based on 2019 catch data.

Black grouper take advantage of other species’ reproductive aggregations for feeding. Black grouper are found in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Brazil.

They are particularly associated with the southern Gulf of Mexico, Florida Keys, Cuba, the Bahamas, and throughout the Caribbean. Annual catch limits are used for black grouper in the commercial and recreational fisheries.

grouper fish florida freshwater species catch key west there fishing spanish sea floridasportsman
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

These fisheries are closed when their annual catch limit is projected to be met. Both the commercial and recreational fisheries have size limits to reduce harvest of immature black grouper.

The commercial and recreational fishing seasons are closed from January through April to protect black grouper during their peak spawning period. Minimum size limits protect immature black grouper.

Year-round and/or seasonal area closures for commercial and recreational sectors to protect spawning groupers. Groupers are managed separately by commercial and recreational sector in Puerto Rico.

Seasonal closure for black, red, tiger, yellow fin, and yellow edge groupers from February 1 through April 30. Season Black grouper is managed under an individual fishing quota (If) program.

Anyone commercially fishes for black grouper must possess allocation and follow established protocols. Additionally, an eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement required to use bottom longline for Gulf reef fish in the federal waters east of 85°30 longitude.

grouper fish reef bahamas nassau melinda
(Source: rollingharbour.com)

Gear Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits. Gear Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits.

During the closure, the bag and possession limit for SG in or from the Gulf EEA seaward of the following thumb lines is zero. Black grouper is found in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts south to southern Brazil, including Bermuda, the Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas and Caribbean Sea.

It has a protruding lower jaw and unlike gag, the bottom of the black grouper ’s cheek (properly) is gently rounded with no notch. Black grouper lives offshore and prefers rocky bottoms and coral reefs.

Juveniles inhabit inshore areas in seagrass beds and mangroves. Spawning occurs during winter months from November to May but varies by region.

As protogynous hermaphrodites, black grouper start as female and most transition to male around 15.5 years. Obama, S., B. Eris man, W. Haman, C. Biggs, N. Farmer, S. Lowerre-Barbieri, M. Karnataka, and J. Brenner.

grouper limit
(Source: www.pnj.com)

Cooperative monitoring program for spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico: data portal. Sedan 48 Southeastern U.S. Black Grouper : Data Workshop Report, 2017 Farmer, N.A., Malinowski, R.P., McGovern, M.F.

Constant relative age and size at sex change for sequentially hermaphroditic fish. 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. 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.

grouper seasons coastalanglermag
(Source: coastalanglermag.com)

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. Keep in mind, the FCC considers the Everglades and Florida Keys as part of the Atlantic Ocean waters, and all fishing done in these areas must stay within Atlantic-specific regulations.

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.

East Coast anglers should mark your calendars for May 1, this is when Gag Grouper and Backgrounder season opens from the Keys to Duval County (Jacksonville area). Honestly, that’s why there are regulations in place, so that this incredible species is not overfished and the population stays healthy.

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Sources
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2 www.kwseafood.com - https://www.kwseafood.com/seafood/fish/grouper-fillets/black-grouper
3 www.keywestseafooddepot.com - https://www.keywestseafooddepot.com/Red-Grouper-Fillet_p_18.html
4 www.joepattis.com - http://www.joepattis.com/shop/select-type.cfm
5 katiesseafood.com - https://katiesseafood.com/products/grouper-fillet
6 www.louisianaseafoodco.com - https://www.louisianaseafoodco.com/product/fresh-red-fish/
7 smithco-oil.com - https://smithco-oil.com/4edruqs/page.php
8 ww4.publix.com - https://ww4.publix.com/products-services/seafood/fresh-seafood