Gulf grouper season didn’t close last week



This is a reminder that the Feb. 1 through March 31 closure that would have affected several species of grouper in Gulf state waters has been removed and will not occur as it has in previous years.



This closure was removed at the September 2013 meeting of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).



A similar closure was also removed in federal waters shoreward of the 20 fathom line, or about 120 feet (excluding waters off Monroe County). To learn more about the federal closure, visit the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office at Sero.NMFS.NOAA.gov and click on “Fisheries,” “Gulf Fisheries,” “Reef Fish” and “Gag and Shallow-water Grouper Framework – Recreational Season.”



The closure would have applied to the following species: black, red, yellowfin, scamp, yellowmouth, rock hind and red hind.



The closure did not apply to gag grouper, which has its own season and opens April 1 through June 30 in state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Taylor and Jefferson counties; and from July 1 through Dec. 3 in all other state waters of the Gulf (excluding Monroe County, which is managed under the Atlantic season).



More information regarding Gulf grouper fishing regulations is available online at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Grouper.”



 



Coastal Cleanup Saturday on St. George Island



The University of Florida, in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), seeks volunteers to participate in coastal cleanup events on St. George Island on this Saturday, Feb. 8, and on St. Joseph Peninsula this Sunday, Feb. 9.  These beaches provide important resources for nesting shorebirds and sea turtles as well as our local economy, and by volunteering for these cleanup efforts to remove unsightly and harmful trash and debris, you can help improve our valuable coastal habitats. 



Volunteers will also document the amount and types of items they pick up on the beach to determine sources of coastal debris to help reduce and prevent its adverse impacts on our beaches.  If you are interested in volunteering for these cleanup events or have any questions, please e-mail Jessica McKenzie at sjpturtlepatrol@gmail.com.



The St. George Island Coastal Cleanup is Saturday, Feb. 8 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., or until all sections of beach have been covered. Meet at the St. George Lighthouse parking lot, located at 2 East Gulf Beach Drive. Dress appropriately for weather and walking (trash bags, gloves, and water will be provided)



The St. Joseph Peninsula Coastal Cleanup is Sunday, Feb. 9 from 9 a.m. to noon, or until all sections of beach have been covered. Meet at Cape Palms Park, located just south of Rish Park. Dress appropriately for weather and walking (trash bags, gloves, and water will be provided.