Gag grouper will open for recreational harvest in most Gulf of Mexico state waters and all Gulf federal waters July 1. The same day, the season will close in state waters off the coast of Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties.
The gag grouper recreational harvest season in Gulf of Mexico state waters, not including Franklin, Jefferson, Wakulla and Taylor counties, will remain open through Dec. 3, closing Dec. 4.
State waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties were open from April 1 through June 30 and will not be open during the July 1-through-Dec. 3 season. The four-county region 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.
Regional seasons such as these provide additional fishing opportunities and access while continuing to rebuild the gag grouper population to sustainable levels. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manages marine fish from the shore to 9 nautical miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.
Monroe County is also excluded from this season because it follows the Atlantic season for gag grouper.
In state and federal Gulf waters, the gag grouper recreational harvest minimum size limit is 22 inches total length and the daily bag limit is two gag grouper per person within the four-fish grouper aggregate limit.
Gag grouper also opens in Gulf federal waters July 1 and will remain open through Dec. 2, closing on Dec. 3. Gag caught in federal waters during the federal season may be taken ashore in Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties, but boats with gag grouper aboard may not stop and must have gear stowed while traveling through state waters in that region.
Maps are available at http://www.myfwc.com/news/news-releases/2015/june/17/gag-season/