NOAA Fisheries is implementing an in-season adjustment to the red grouper recreational fishing season. The red grouper recreational daily bag limit in federal waters will be reduced from four fish to three fish (within the current four-fish grouper aggregate bag limit) beginning on May 5, 2014, and the recreational harvest of red grouper in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico will close at 12:01 a.m., local time, September 16, 2014, until January 1, 2015, unless changed in subsequent rulemaking.
Landings data for 2013 indicate that the red grouper recreational annual catch limit of 1,900,000 pounds was exceeded by 492,113 pounds. Accountability measures established in the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico require NOAA Fisheries to reduce the bag limit and announce a fishing season closure in federal waters for red grouper the year following a recreational annual catch limit overage. The season closure date may change, after additional landings data become available.