Florida Keys

Grouper season is here. But about that snook ...

Captain Mark Schmidt holding a red grouper caught west of Key West. Harvesting a grouper from Florida Keys waters becomes legal Monday but taking a snook becomes a violation.
Captain Mark Schmidt holding a red grouper caught west of Key West. Harvesting a grouper from Florida Keys waters becomes legal Monday but taking a snook becomes a violation. Miami Herald File

Harvesting a grouper from Florida Keys waters becomes legal Monday but taking a snook becomes a violation.

Beginning May 1, anglers and fishers can keep a legal-size grouper within daily bag limits. Grouper species open to harvest are gag, black, red, yellowmouth and yellowfin, along with related species scamp, red hind, rock hind, coney and graysby. The season was closed since Jan. 1.

Goliath grouper remain off-limits.

Recreational anglers are limited to three groupers per person per day. Within this three-fish limit, anglers may possess only one gag or black grouper, but not one of each. Dehooking tools must be aboard commercial and recreational vessels.

“Grouper are closed annually from Jan. 1 through April 30 each year as a measure to ensure the long-term sustainability of Atlantic grouper species,” says the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Rules apply to state and federal waters.

Snook harvests in the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys end May 1. Beginning at the Miami-Dade County line with Monroe, the Atlantic snook season is open until June 1.

“Seasonal harvest closures conserve Florida’s valuable snook populations and help sustain and improve the fishery for the future,” says the FWC. Snook caught on a line must be released.

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