Florida's spiny lobster, grouper, vermilion snapper recreational openings, closures start April 1
Atlantic vermilion snapper and several species of Gulf of Mexico grouper will be back on the list of fish recreational anglers in state waters can take home for dinner starting April 1. The first day of the spiny lobster closed season is also April 1.
Vermilion snapper larger than 12 inches will be open to recreational harvest in state waters of the Atlantic through Oct. 31. State waters in the Atlantic are from shore to three miles out. Anglers may take up to five fish per day in Atlantic waters; however, the captain and crew of for-hire vessels may not keep the daily limit.
Gulf of Mexico grouper species that will open to harvest in state waters include red, black, yellowfin, yellowmouth, rock hind, red hind and scamp. This harvest season will remain open through Jan. 31. State waters in the Gulf are from shore to nine miles out.
Gulf of Mexico gag grouper will also open to harvest April 1 in state waters in the following counties only: Taylor, Jefferson, Wakulla and Franklin, including all waters of the Steinhatchee River, Apalachicola Bay and Indian Pass. This season is for 2012 only and will remain open through June 30. Gag grouper will be open to recreational harvest in Gulf of Mexico federal waters and the rest of state waters (not including Taylor, Jefferson, Wakulla and Franklin) from July 1 through Oct. 31. To learn more about the gag grouper season in the Gulf of Mexico, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater” and “Latest News-Hot Topics.”
Anglers targeting Gulf grouper must use circle hooks and have dehooking devices and venting tools aboard their boats. Anglers targeting vermilion snapper in Atlantic state waters must also have dehooking devices aboard their vessel. Use of these devices helps increase the chance of survival for a fish that is caught and released. To learn more about how to use these tools, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater” and “Regulations.”
The spiny lobster recreational and commercial season closes to harvest in state waters starting April 1 and will reopen Aug. 6. A two-day sport season is July 25 and 26.