The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Thursday approved an October 1 through 21 supplemental recreational red snapper season in Gulf state waters for 2013 and eliminated a February 1 to March 31 closure affecting several species of grouper in Gulf of Mexico state waters.
The elimination changes go into effect before the scheduled closures would have occurred. The season eliminations will also make state regulations consistent with federal regulations.
State waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf and from shore to 3 nautical miles in the Atlantic. Federal waters extend out from where state waters end to about 200 nautical miles.
The October 1 to 21 supplemental recreational red snapper season in Gulf state waters is for 2013 only.
An October supplemental season has also been proposed for Gulf federal waters. Federal fishery managers are still analyzing recreational harvest estimates for the 2013 regular season to determine whether or not to open the recreational red snapper season in Gulf federal waters.
NOAA Fisheries Service is expected to make an announcement regarding the potential federal season sometime in the next few weeks.
Grouper species affected by elimination of the February 1 to March 31 Gulf closure include black, red, red hind, rock hind, scamp, yellowfin and yellowmouth. Grouper species in state waters off Monroe County are managed by Atlantic state regulations and, therefore, are not affected by this change.