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FWC changes gag, red grouper management in Gulf

For immediate release: November 16, 2011
Contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943

FWC changes gag, red grouper management in Gulf, soon achieving consistency with federal protections


The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted Nov. 16 to change how gag and red grouper are managed in Gulf of Mexico state waters.

The decision came during day one of the two-day November Commission meeting in Key Largo.

The changes, which include additional protections for gag grouper while increasing the bag limit for red grouper, will make state protections consistent with gag and red grouper federal rules in the Gulf of Mexico.

“We are listening and are very concerned about the economy, jobs and managing resources for longevity as well,” Commissioner Ron Bergeron said following stakeholder conversation

Changes for red grouper will take effect Dec. 23 in Gulf of Mexico state waters (excluding Monroe County) and will include increasing the recreational bag limit from two to four fish.

Commissioners also voted to continue the current gag grouper closure in Gulf of Mexico state waters (excluding Monroe County) into 2012. The closure was set to expire at the end of 2011.

This measure will help the state achieve consistency with gag grouper management efforts affecting federal Gulf waters.

The FWC believes applying the same recreational open and closed harvest seasons for gag grouper in Gulf state waters as in federal offshore waters would maximize fishing opportunities for anglers and charter boat operators along Florida’s Gulf coast.

Federal managers are currently working on a plan to further protect gag grouper, which is overfished and undergoing overfishing in the Gulf. The FWC will revisit state gag grouper management efforts in February 2012, once federal rules are solidified.

To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and click on “Commission Meetings” and “Agenda.”