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How Many Grouper Can You Keep

author
Brent Mccoy
• Monday, 21 December, 2020
• 7 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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(Source: www.saltstrong.com)

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.

Cooked grouper will usually stay good for 3 to 4 days in the fridge and 4 months in the freezer. 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. 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.

goliath groupers
(Source: www.wideopenspaces.com)

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. The use of non-stainless steel hooks when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits south of 28º north latitude.

Bottom longline is allowed only in depths 50 fathoms or more and only north of St. Lucie Inlet, Florida. 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.

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(Source: pcbeachfishingcharters.com)

Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing. The use of non-stainless steel hooks when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits south of 28º north latitude.

Best fishing practices tips information on hook types how-to videos This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed, and sold prior to the annual catch limit being reached and held in cold storage by a dealer.

Click the image for a summary of regulations for some snapper grouper species 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 toucan 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 toucan 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.

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(Source: www.reefnews.com)

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. Toucan 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. 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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(Source: www.fishingorangebeach.com)

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Sources
1 theintrepidangler.com - http://theintrepidangler.com/100-miles-out-offshore-grouper-snapper-fishing-southwest-florida/
2 www.theguardian.com - https://www.theguardian.com/sport/video/2014/aug/21/huge-fish-eats-shark-off-florida-coast-video
3 igfa.org - https://igfa.org/2020/06/16/descending-devices-required-in-south-atlantic-to-help-snapper-grouper/
4 floridasportfishing.com - https://floridasportfishing.com/beer-battered-mystic-grouper/
5 fishingstatus.com - http://fishingstatus.com/fishing/species/fish/indexid/858408
6 anglr.com - https://anglr.com/fishing-blog/tag/grouper/
7 floridasfinestfishing.com - https://floridasfinestfishing.com/tag/grouper/
8 landsendmarina.com - https://landsendmarina.com/blog/2013/08/26/catch-gag-grouper-around-tampa-bay/