This is a reminder to you of the seasonal closures for gag, red grouper, black grouper, and greater amberjack as well as changes to grouper regulations for federal waters. Fishermen should check with state agencies for regulations in state waters. The following regulations are in effect for federal waters.
The seasonal closures are:
· The recreational fishery for gag will be closed February 1 – March 31, 2009
· The recreational fishery for red grouper and black grouper will be closed February 15 – March 14, 2009
The daily bag limits are:
· Two fish per person for gag.
· One fish per person for red grouper.
· Five fish per person for all grouper in aggregate.
Effective January 1, 2009, a person aboard a federally permitted Gulf of Mexico commercial or for-hire reef fish vessel must comply with federal regulations for red snapper, greater amberjack, gray triggerfish, and gag regardless of where the fish are harvested (federal or state waters).
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendment 30B to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan for approval. This amendment proposes actions affecting gag and red grouper regulations. Amendment 30B has not yet been implemented, but an interim rule implemented the regulations pertaining to gag effective January 1, 2009 (see table below). Changes to the grouper fishery proposed in Amendment 30B are also listed in the table below. These changes are expected to occur during the 2009 fishing season.
*GW – gutted weight; mp – million pounds