Grouper Fishing Season In The Gulf Of Mexico

Danielle Fletcher
• Monday, 07 December, 2020
• 12 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.

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(Source: www.chronicleonline.com)


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 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. 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.

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(Source: www.delphfishing.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.

A fishery may close when the quota or annual catch limit is projected to be reached, sign up for fishery bulletins and text messages. NOTE: Species not listed do not currently have federal seasonal closures or quotas but states may regulate vessels registered in that state and fishing in federal waters for species that do not have applicable federal regulations, or for which management has been delegated to the state.

(3) As of April 30, 2018, the recreational Greater Amber jack fishing year was modified to be August 1 through July 31 and the fixed closed season was modified to be November 1 through April 30 and June 1 through July 31. (4) This summary is intended to provide appropriate information to fishermen about fishing regulations in the Gulf of Mexico.

(5)This list will redirect to the Fish Rules app, web-based version. Scientific Livestock Status RecreationalCommercial Season Open June 1 – December 31.

If landings reach the recreational ACL, harvest will be prohibited for the remainder of the fishing year. Season Gag grouper is managed under an individual fishing quota (If) program.

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Anyone commercially fishes for gag 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.

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.

In general, gag is a gray to light brown with darker wavy markings that create a marbled look on the sides of the body. Adults prefer coastal water structures such as reefs and rocky bottoms at depths up to 500 feet (152 meters).

Gag form spawning aggregations offshore in winter and early spring. 4 Gags is a broadcast spawner with external fertilization, meaning males and females emit eggs and sperm into the water column during spawning.

Juveniles shelter in seagrasses, mangroves and oyster reefs before they become old enough to migrate offshore. Gag displays protogynous Hermaphroditus, meaning they begin life as females first then a portion of the population transitions to male.

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(Source: spanishsardine.com)

Cooperative monitoring program for spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico : data portal. Gag grouper will close to recreational harvest in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters Jan. 1, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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. 3, 2021. In the Atlantic and state waters of Monroe County, the grouper closure ends April 30 and will reopen May 1.

Gag grouper will close to recreational harvest in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters Jan. 1, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 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. 3, 2021.

Preliminary figures show that in the fishing season 2019 more than 7000 tons of grouper were captured in the states of Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo. From 00:00 on February 1 and until 24:00 on March 31, will be in force the temporary closure for the grouper fishery in the states of Campeche, Tabasco, Yucatán and Quintana Roo, and in the area covered between the limits of Veracruz and Tabasco, and from that point following an imaginary line heading north, drawn over 92° 28'16 west longitude, which extends to the limit of the Mexican Exclusive Economic Zone and continues until border with Belize.

At national level, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea contribute with the largest volume of grouper capture, and a small-scale or artisanal fleet and a medium-sized fleet participate in the fishery, both with different fishing power and physical characteristics, concentrating their activities in the areas where the components of the natural populations of this species are distributed. The General Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture Management of Coalesce reported that grouper species have abundance and biological characteristics that allow them a wide distribution along the coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, which is why it is necessary to establish management measures that consider the reproductive cycle and the availability of all species susceptible to capture, as well as the fishing effort of each participating federative entity, so that the integral and sustainable use of this fishing resource is induced.

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(Source: www.floridasportsman.com)

On December 14, 2016, the Agreement that modifies another similar was published in the DOF, by which a ban is established for the capture of all species of grouper in the waters of the federal jurisdiction of the Gulf of Mexico corresponding to the coastline of the states of Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo, which is a mandatory enforcement instrument for users of these federal entities. Green light for a new tuna fishing harbor in Chennai India As per the Detailed Project Report, the proposed harbor will have fish handling halls, auction hall, cold storage, ice factory, fuelling station, power backup centers and dormitory for workers.

CH... Pacific saucy August price is the highest ever Japan Last month's saucy trading price exceeded 1,300 yen per kilo due to record poor fishing, nearly doubling last year, a record high. From 7 to 13 September, the dynamics of prices for frozen fish in the wholesale segment of the domestic market, basically, showed a tendency towards stability.

The purpose of this proposed rule is to improve access to South Atlantic red snapper, particularly for the recreational sector. Mail: Submit written comments to Frank Relies, NFS Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

In 2013, the Council developed a process for allowing limited harvest of red snapper through Amendment 28 to the Snapper- Grouper FMP (78 FR 44461 ; July 24, 2013). In 2018, the Council revised the commercial and recreational annual catch limits (Acts) through Amendment 43 to the Snapper- Grouper FMP (83 FR 35428 ; July 26, 2018).

The length of the recreational red snapper season is projected based on catch rate estimates from previous years, and the length of the projected fishing season is announced each year in the Federal Register before the start of the season. For South Atlantic red snapper, NFS annually projects the number of days that it would take for the commercial and recreational sectors to reach their respective ACL.

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Under both current and proposed regulations, the red snapper commercial and recreational seasons are projected and managed independently of each other; that is, harvest for one sector can occur without the other. NFS notes that to date, there has not been a fishing year when one sector was allowed harvest of red snapper and the other was not.

Recreational fishermen have expressed concern to the Council and NFS that as the South Atlantic red snapper population recovers and catch rates improve, access to the red snapper resource could decline due to shortened fishing seasons. Specifically, as the red snapper population rebuilds, more fish are available for harvest and the South Atlantic red snapper recreational fishing season has generally experienced increased effort over the last 3 years, particularly off the east coast of Florida.

Since the recreational red snapper ACL has remained the same over recent years, fishing seasons in future years could get shorter despite the population rebuilding because the ACL would be met in less time due to the increased effort and increased availability of fish. In addition, because the commercial season for red snapper has remained open for several months each year in recent years when harvest of red snapper was allowed, NFS expects that the commercial season duration will not be impacted by this action.

This proposed rule would remove the requirement that if a red snapper season (commercial or recreational) is projected by NFS to be 3 days or less, the respective fishing season will not open for that fishing year. Regulatory Amendment 33 also contains an action to consider changing the start date of the commercial season.

The Council considered different commercial season start dates of May 1 and the second Monday of June in Regulatory Amendment 33. However, after receiving public input the Council decided not to modify the start date for the commercial red snapper season.

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(Source: www.trover.com)

The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. In addition, no new reporting, record keeping, or other compliance requirements are introduced by this proposed rule.

The proposed action would directly affect federally permitted commercial fishermen fishing for South Atlantic red snapper. In any given year, however, not all federally permitted commercial vessels harvest red snapper in the South Atlantic.

From 2014 through 2018, an average of 113 federally permitted commercial vessels took 749 trips and landed approximately 49,000 lb (22,226 kg), gutted weight, of red snapper and 306,000 lb (138,799 kg), gutted weight, of other species co-harvested with red snapper. These vessels also took an average of 3,128 trips that landed approximately 1.94 million lb (879,968 kg), gutted weight, of various species but without red snapper.

The average annual price per lb, gutted weight, of red snapper was $5.49 (2018 dollars) and ranged from $4.28 in 2015 to $5.57 in 2018. Based on the revenue information, all commercial vessels directly affected by the proposed action may be considered small entities.

If the projected red snapper season is determined to be more than 3 days, the economic effects of the proposed action would be the same as those of the status quo. In either scenario, the proposed action is expected to not reduce the revenues and profits of directly affected small entities.

mexico grouper gulf fishing
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The information provided above supports a determination that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Because this proposed rule, if implemented, is not expected to have a significant economic impact on any small entities, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared.

Start List of Subjects Fisheries Fishing Red snapper Seasons South Atlantic End List of SubjectsStart SignatureDeputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

End Signature the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is proposed to be amended as follows: The Gulf of Mexico is home to many commercially valuable fisheries' species, including stone crab, shrimp, snapper, and grouper.

Groupers are a type of fish called errands, and are members of the family Serranidae. They are telecasts, a group of fish identified by their stout bodies and large mouths.

Groupers are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they are born female but transform into males when they reach a certain size. They reproduce by spawning (releasing large quantities of eggs and sperm into the open water) during the summer months.

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(Source: content.govdelivery.com)

Grouper is a popular item on seafood menus and attracts many tourists to Florida communities and restaurants, therefore boosting local economies. Groupers’ commercial and recreational value makes them one of the most overfished species in the Gulf of Mexico.

Recall that groupers morph (change) from female to male when they reach a large size. Fishermen typically harvest large male groupers because they are more valuable than smaller females.

This behavior disproportionately removes more males than females from the ecosystem, making it difficult for groupers to reproduce successfully. As a result, grouper do not easily recover from population declines, even when fishing is heavily regulated.

The damage sustained by overfishing makes it necessary to carefully manage the Gulf ’s 15 grouper species. The 15 grouper species regulated in the Gulf of Mexico are monitored for population size and reproductive potential (the ability to reproduce and create more fish).

Enforcement challenges threaten the success of grouper fishing regulations and marine protected areas. In order to help grouper populations recover successfully, it is necessary for the state of Florida to supervise and enforce the rules that have been established.

grouper fishing gulf mexico
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Spawning: The release of many eggs and sperm into open water for the purpose of fertilization and reproduction. Sustainable: In a manner that will not have long term negative impacts on the environment or population of organisms.

Even the small ones, at 20-30 pounds can put up a physically draining fight, being known for their short, high torque runs. That’s quite substantial, considering they’re some of the hardest fighting bottom fish in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

These guys tend to hang out around offshore wrecks, ledges, reefs, and other structure. If you’re looking for larger ones, you’ll want to head for areas not frequented by other anglers, leaving the fish pressured with a chance to grow.

They’re found on the bottom, but they don’t tend to be very finicky as to what depth to call home. They tend to prefer the deeper waters during the warmer summer months, but they can be found pretty shallow in the winter and spring.

They spawn in March and April over a reef bottom between 30-120 feet of water. Blue runners, cigar minnows, or any small grunts make good live bait choices.

grouper gulf mexico caught brien coastalanglermag
(Source: coastalanglermag.com)

These guys really pack a lot of punch, so anglers left unprepared will find themselves short a leader… or four. You’ll want to grab a shorter heavy action, stout rod rated for 50 to 80-pound test.

Larger circle hooks work well for these guys since they’re less likely to snag bottom. Dead bait fishing gets a little trickier, employing the use of a hi-lo dropper rig with a 230-pound barrel swivel and a four-foot section of 100-pound fluorocarbon leader, with three dropper loops tied at 16-inch intervals and a 16 to 32-ounce bank sinker looped on at the end by an overhand knot.

Your heavier line, coupled with tight drag are instrumental in making sure you can muscle these fighters away from the structure. Once they strike, they make a fast, mad dash back to the nearest hole, often before you even get a chance to react.

Suspend the bait about a leader length off the bottom with your rod in a holder. Give a couple of quick cranks to turn his head up and prevent him from dogging back down into the structure.

The drift of the boat adds to the power of your tackle and may give you just enough momentum to help drag the fish far enough from his hole that he can’t get back. You’ll either sense that he’s left his hole, forgetting about you, or you can try to gently reel him in.

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With so many types of grouper out there, homing in on a certain species can be tough, so when you’re bottom fishing for these beasts, be prepared for other reef dwellers to pull back as well! In the past I’ve had sponsorships from Died, Bull buster, Eagle Claw, and I’m currently helping promote Mons ta fishing apparel.

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1 www.msn.com - https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/florida-today-fishing-report-dec-17-2020-cool-down-will-heat-up-fishing/ar-BB1c1dAs
2 www.gameandfishmag.com - https://www.gameandfishmag.com/editorial/fishing_bass-fishing_ar_0607_02/245486
3 www.bassmaster.com - https://www.bassmaster.com/news/arkansas-top-25-fishing-destinations
4 www.takemefishing.org - https://www.takemefishing.org/arkansas/fishing/