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How Many Grouper Are You Allowed To Keep

author
Maria Garcia
• Monday, 16 November, 2020
• 11 min read

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.

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Contents

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.

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.

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

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. It’s open season in both state and federal waters for Rock Hind, Coney, Yellow edge and Snowy Groupers.

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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. The season runs until December 31, and each angler can collect one or the other each trip within the 3 grouper aggregate.

Smaller fish are dark brown overall, punctuated with coin-size pearly white spots on the sides. A distinctive black, saddle-shaped blotch occurs on the caudal peduncle and extends down below the lateral line.

Larger snowy groupers usually lose the white spots and caudal saddle and become dark brown with a slight coppery tint. Snowy groupers can be found in the outer continental shelf of the South Atlantic Bight, which is characterized by ridges, terraces and precipitous cliffs.

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The species is distributed in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Lesser Antilles and the northern coast of Cuba. Snowy grouper are protogynous hermaphrodites, spawning from May to June and releasing more than 2 million eggs.

CLOSED Open Season: May 1 – August 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. If an in-season closure were to be announced by NOAA Fisheries, all relevant information will be included here.

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.

If an in-season closure were to be announced by NOAA Fisheries, all relevant information will be included here Bottom longline is allowed only in depths 50 fathoms or more and only north of St. Lucie Inlet, Florida.

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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.

This project was funded in part by a grant awarded from Mote Marine Laboratory's Protect Our Reefs Grants Program, which is funded by proceeds from the sale of the Protect Our Reefs specialty license plate. Visit Saltwater Fish Measurement Guidelines, developed by FCC Division of Marine Fisheries.

Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). To sell or exceed the daily bag limit, follow commercial regulations.

31 Daily recreation bag limits: Atlantic/Monroe County: 1 per harvester per day. Included with 3 per harvester per day grouper aggregate bag limit.

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Included with 4 per harvester per day grouper aggregate bag limit. Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact).

Zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels. Daily recreation bag limit: Atlantic/Monroe County: 1 per harvester per day.

Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels.

Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels.

HOGFISHMinimum size limit (fork length) : 12" Closed season: None Daily recreation bag limit: 5 per harvester per day Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). MACKEREL, CERORemarks: This species is not regulated in Florida state waters.

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MACKEREL, KING (King fish)Minimum size limit (fork length) : 24" Closed season: None Daily recreation bag limit: 2 per harvester per day Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Bag limit in Gulf-Atlantic fishery reduced to 1 when federal waters are closed to all harvest.

MACKEREL, SPANISHMinimum size limit (fork length) : 12" Closed season: None Daily recreation bag limit: 15 per harvester per day Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact).

Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait. Outside Spy: May possess 1 over 22” fork length included in the per-person bag limit.

Vessel restriction of no more that 2 over 22" fork length POMPANO, AFRICANMinimum size limit (fork length) : 24" fork Closed season: None Daily recreation bag limit: 2 per harvester per day Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait.

Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Hook and line, cast net, and beach or haul seine.

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Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait. Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact).

Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait. Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact).

Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Included within 10 per harvester per day snapper aggregate bag limit in all Atlantic waters.

Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact).

Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait. SPINY LOBSTERMinimum size limit: 3" carapace (measured in the water.

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Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait. STONE CRABMinimum size limit: 2 3/4” claw Closed season: May 16 to Oct. 14 Daily recreation bag limit: 1 gallon claws per harvester or 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less.

Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait.

TUNA, LITTLE TUNNYRemarks: This species is not regulated in Florida state waters. To sell or exceed the daily bag limit, follow commercial regulationsBack to Top If you are out snorkeling, diving, fishing, paddling, or boating and see anything that may be unusual or out of the ordinary (including lionfish) in the waters around the Keys, please record the location, date, and time, and contact the Marine Ecosystem Event Response and Assessment (ME ERA) project.

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Sources
1 www.tripsavvy.com - https://www.tripsavvy.com/best-fishing-gloves-4588492
2 waterprooflab.com - https://waterprooflab.com/best-waterproof-fishing-gloves/