Gag grouper will close to recreational harvest in Gulf state and federal waters Jan. 1, 2018. The same day, several species of grouper will also close to recreational and commercial harvest in Florida state waters of the Atlantic and all state waters off Monroe County. This seasonal closure includes gag, black, red, yellowmouth, and yellowfin grouper; scamp; red hind; rock hind; coney; and graysby.
State waters in the Atlantic are from shore out to 3 nautical miles. State waters off Monroe County extend to 3 nautical miles in the Atlantic and out to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf. Federal waters begin where state waters end and extend to 200 nautical miles.
For gag grouper, state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Taylor and Jefferson counties will reopen to harvest April 1 through June 30 and Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. All other Gulf state waters (except waters off Monroe County, which follows the Atlantic state season) and all Gulf federal waters will reopen June 1 through Dec. 31.
Several species of grouper, including gag, will remain closed in Atlantic state waters and off Monroe County through April 30, reopening May 1. The harvest closure was established to ensure the long-term sustainability of Atlantic grouper species by protecting them during their spawning season. A similar closure will also occur in federal waters of the Atlantic.
Grouper information, including Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico grouper regulations, is available online. Go to MyFWC.com/Fishing and select “Saltwater Fishing” then “Recreational Regulations” and “Groupers.”