State waters off the coast of Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties opened Tuesday to recreational harvest of gag grouper.
This regional season will remain open through June 30, with the first day of the closure being July 1. The season also includes all waters of Apalachicola Bay and Indian Pass, including those in Gulf County, and all waters of the Steinhatchee River, including those in Dixie County. Gag grouper caught in state Gulf waters (from shore to 9 nautical miles out) off the four counties can be landed on the Gulf County side of Indian Pass and the Dixie County side of the Steinhatchee River, but may not be taken ashore in other areas that are closed to harvest. For example, a gag grouper caught April 1 in state waters off Jefferson County cannot be taken ashore in Levy County or parts of Dixie County outside of the Steinhatchee River.
In the remainder of Gulf of Mexico state waters, fishermen will be able to keep gag grouper from July 1 through Dec. 3. State waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties will not be open during the July-through-December season. Monroe County state waters follow Atlantic grouper rules.
The season in all federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico also opens July 1 and the closure will be announced by federal fishery managers at a later date.
The FWC is working with Florida’s anglers to rebuild gag grouper populations in the Gulf of Mexico so they reach strong, sustainable levels.
In the Gulf, the gag grouper recreational harvest minimum size limit is 22 inches total length and the bag limit is two gag grouper per person. Recreational anglers targeting groupers in the Gulf may harvest no more than four grouper per day (within this four-fish limit, anglers may keep only two gag grouper).
To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Grouper.”