The February 1 through March 31 shallow-water grouper closure is still in effect, explains NOAA Fisheries in a reminder to anglers.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) has recommended that the closure be modified so that it only applies to federal waters seaward of a boundary approximating the 20-fathom depth contour.
However, this rule is not yet in place, and will not be complete before the end of this year's closed season. Therefore, the shallow-water grouper closure will be in effect for all Gulf of Mexico federal waters in 2013.
For recreational fishermen, gag grouper are already closed. Gag fishing will open in Gulf of Mexico federal waters on July 1, 2013.
The rulemaking, if implemented, would also modify the 2013 recreational gag season by keeping the July 1 opening date, but revising the closure date from October 31 to a date when the annual catch target is projected to be caught.
Species in the Recreational Shallow-Water Grouper Complex include: