After reviewing public hearing comments and the actions and alternatives contained in a regulatory amendment to address the 2013 gag season and bag limits, the Council chose to keep the July 1 gag season opening, but allow the season to remain open until the annual catch target has been met. The 2-fish bag limit also remains in effect, giving an estimated season of 133-155 days, compared to the 123 days in 2012.
The Council also decided to eliminate the current February 1 through March 31 shallow-water grouper closed season shoreward of the 20 fathom break. Recreational harvest of shallow-water grouper (red grouper, black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, and yellowmouth grouper) will be permitted all year unless you are fishing beyond 20 fathoms. Beyond 20 fathoms, the February 1 through March 31 recreational closed season remains in effect.
Before becoming law, the management changes must be approved and implemented by the Secretary of Commerce.