Recreational gag grouper state, federal fishing season to remain closed until Sept. 1

The federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued an emergency season modification for the recreational gag grouper fishery, which closes the fishery through August 31, 2023, and runs the season from September 1, 2023, through November 9, 2023. The gag grouper recreational season was originally scheduled to open from June 1 through December 31. The fishery will now open at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, September 1, 2023, and close at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, November 9, 2023.

During the closure, recreational harvest or possession of gag grouper is prohibited in state and federal waters. According to NOAA, the closure is necessary to prevent overfishing of the gag grouper resource. The gag grouper population is considered overfished (the population is too low) and limiting harvest is necessary for the population to recover while the stock rebuilds.